BC to widen booster-shot eligibility – BC News

More booster-shot eligibility

Glen Korstrom/Glacier Media – | Story: 374860

BC plans to widen eligibility for second booster shots this fall, although specific details on exactly when different age groups will be eligible was not revealed at a July 8 press conference.

BC lags the rest of Canada in terms of its percentage of the population that has had two booster doses.

Recent Health Canada data show that only 5.2 per cent of British Columbians have had two booster doses, or four vaccine doses in total. That is last among the eight provinces that report such data. In Quebec, for example, 13.2 per cent of the population has had two booster doses, according to Health Canada.

The reason BC lags the other provinces is because its eligibility requirements are more strict. Earlier this year, in order to get second booster shots, BC residents had to be 70 years of age or older, an Indigenous person aged 55 years or older, or in a residential care home.

Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading the province’s rollout of vaccines, said that one tweak to the province’s regulations is that those who believe they are vulnerable can contact the government.

“If you really feel that you’ve got special circumstances, you can give the call center a call and we’ll arrange for you to have a booster,” she said.

The news follows Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on June 30 urging provinces and territories to provide second booster shots against COVID-19 by this fall.

NACI said it “strongly” recommended providing the second booster shots to Canadians older than 65, residents of long-term care, those older than 12 with medical conditions that put them at “high risk of severe” COVID-19 as well as people from Indigenous communities and racialized communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said that the province is following NACI’s recommendations even though the province still only provides second booster shots to those in the general population who are 70 years and older.

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