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COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines

We are working with the Province and our partners to plan the COVID-19 immunization program for our region.

Please be aware the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders and guidelines remain in place for everyone, including people who have received the vaccine.

The BCCDC has all the information you need on the COVID-19 vaccines.

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccines help protect you from viruses that cause illnesses like COVID-19 by stimulating your body’s own immune response.

Canada has agreements with seven pharmaceutical companies to secure sufficient doses to immunize all Canadians. The first vaccines to be approved for use in Canada are the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 9, 2020 and Moderna vaccine on Dec. 23,2020. Health Canada is the best source of information on vaccine development and safety.

When will the vaccine be available?

Following all priority groups, all others in B.C. can get the vaccine as it becomes available. A registration and record system is in development, including a process to register for vaccine access and to receive a formal record of immunization.

There is no need to contact Interior Health to sign up for the vaccine.

Everyone the vaccine is recommended for in B.C. will have the opportunity to get the vaccine by the end of 2021.

How can I get vaccinated?

The Immunize B.C. Operations Centre will ensure the vaccine is available to everyone in B.C. recommended to get it. The BCCDC is working closely with provincial partners, including the Provincial Health Services Authority, First Nations Health Authority, Canadian Red Cross and Canadian Armed Forces. This will make sure our system is ready to receive, handle, store and distribute all vaccine types as they become available. 

Who will get the vaccine first?

Vaccines are arriving each week in B.C. in increasing quantities, with targeted deployment for people in priority groups.
Public health will arrange for the following priority groups to get the vaccine. No action is required on your part.

First priority groups (Dec. 2020 – Feb. 2021):

• Residents, staff and essential visitors to long-term care and assisted living residences
• Individuals in hospital or community awaiting a long term care placement
• Health care workers providing care for COVID-19 patients in settings like intensive care units, emergency departments, medical/surgical units and paramedics
• Remote and isolated First Nations communities

Second priority groups (Feb. to March 2021):

• Community-based seniors, age 80 and above; Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) seniors, age 65 and above, and Aboriginal elders.
• People experiencing homelessness and/or using shelters
• Provincial correctional facilities
• Adults in group homes or mental health residential care
• Long term home support recipients and staff
• Hospital staff, community physicians and medical specialists
• Aboriginal communities not vaccinated in first priority group

Scheduling of priority groups for vaccination may be modified as disease transmission is monitored.

What about children, pregnant people, and immuno-compromised people?

COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been tested in people under 16 years old, pregnant or breastfeeding people or those with immunocompromising/autoimmune conditions. People under 16 years old are not recommended to get the vaccine at this time. Pregnant people, those breastfeeding and immuno-compromised/autoimmune people are recommended to have a risk assessment with their health care provider to decide if the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the possible risks.