Everyone in B.C. will have an opportunity to get the vaccine if they choose, but the first priority group to receive the vaccine include those individuals who may be most vulnerable to serious illness and the individuals who care for them. Once the first priority group is vaccinated, public health will then vaccinate individuals in the second priority group.
Here are the populations included in the first and second priority groups and the approximate timelines:
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
Once these priority groups have been immunized, vaccination will begin in the wider population. B.C. hopes to have vaccine available for all those who choose to be vaccinated by the end of 2021.
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.
Interior Health is not booking COVID-19 immunization appointments for the general public at this time.
Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders and guidelines remain in place for everyone, including people who have already received the vaccine.
Picture and story lines supplied by Interior Health