With COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations on the rise as the fall respiratory season starts anew, the B.C. government is getting ready to roll out its fall immunization campaign starting October.
Here’s what you need to know to get the jab.
What’s vaccines are available?
B.C. will be using two newly-approved formulations of the Moderna Spikevax vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine. Both are mRNA vaccines and are designed to target the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant.
Studies have shown the updated vaccines will also be effective against other Omicron subvariants circulating in the community, including EG.5, XBB.1.16, and BA.2.86.
Health Canada is currently reviewing an application for an updated non-mRNA vaccine by Novovax.
When can I get my COVID-19 shot?
The fall vaccine campaign starts Oct. 10.
Health care workers and workers at long-term care facilities will start getting their shots as soon as the vaccines arrive in B.C.
Starting early October, invitations will start going out by priority groups. First in line are seniors age 65 and over, Indigenous people, pregnant people, and people with chronic health conditions.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said getting your shot in October would be optimal in protecting you against illness this winter.
“What we’re learning is that after each dose, that maximum protection against infection can last for two to three months,” Henry said. “So, we want you to get the vaccine, and that’s the timing.
“We want you to have that best protection during the period of time when the risk is greatest.”
Who is eligble?
British Columbians age six months and older. Infants and children will be given a lower dose.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends a dose of the updated vaccine if it has been at least six months since their previous COVID-19 vaccine shot or known COVID-19 infection, which ever is later.
How do I get an appointment?
If this is your first COVID-19 shot, registered at the province’s Get Vaccinated system, the online system through which invitations are sent and appointments can be booked.
If you have received a previous COVID-19 shot, there is no need to re-register. Invitations to book a vaccine shot will be sent to you via email or text message. Those invites will begin going out in early October, said health officials.
Appointments can also be booked over the phone at 1-833-838-2323.
Where do I go to get my shot?
You can choose your location when you make your vaccination appointment.
More than 1,200 pharmacies across B.C. will be offering COVID-19 shots, as well as health authority community clinics and primary care clinics.
Can I get the influenza vaccine at the same time?
Yes. Health officials are encouraging people to also book their flu shots at the same time as their COVID vaccine shots. More than 1,350 pharmacies are set up to offer influenza vaccination appointments.
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