Residents of the Interior Health (IH) region have started receiving notifications telling them it’s time to book their second COVID-19 vaccination.
The news follows an announcement last week by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that she has set an end-of-summer target for everyone in the province to receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. She also announced a decrease in the time between the first and second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, cutting the interval to eight weeks from 16 weeks.
Interior Health will have community clinics in rural and remote towns — including Clinton and Ashcroft — for the second vaccinations, similar to the ones that were held for the first doses. They are also adding new hours and options at larger urban clinics, to make it as easy as possible for people to get their first and second vaccinations.
In Clinton, the second community clinic is scheduled to take place between June 9 and 11 at the Clinton Health Centre. In Ashcroft, the clinic will take place on June 24 and 25 at the HUB. Both clinics are for any residents of the area aged 12 and older who have already received their first COVID-19 vaccine. Residents who have not yet received their first vaccine can also register for these clinics.
Effective May 27, IH residents who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be notified to book their second dose eight weeks after their initial immunization. The interval for people who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as a first dose and are waiting for their second AstraZeneca shot may take longer. Henry said the province is waiting for results from international data on AstraZeneca, including the effectiveness of mixing vaccine shots and ongoing concerns about rare blood clots.
Approximately 518,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in the region, and Henry said that the province has a large enough supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to cut the wait time between the first and second shots. The province will try to ensure that everyone gets the same vaccine they were first administered, but a shortage of the Moderna vaccine may mean that people will have to receive a Pfizer shot instead.
“Registering for your vaccine notifications is an important step to ensuring the highest protection from COVID-19,” says IH president and CEO Susan Brown. “Everyone should register and schedule their vaccination as soon as possible.”
To date, immunizers across the IH region have delivered 485,143 first doses and 32,885 second doses for a total of 518,028 doses. Province-wide, B.C. has now provided first doses of vaccines to more than three million of the 4.3 million people eligible to be immunized in the province. That number amounts to 65.8 per cent of people aged 18 years or older who are eligible for a vaccine.
There are three ways to register for COVID-19 vaccine notifications: online at https://gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated; by phone at 1-833-838-2323; or in person at a Service BC office.
For a list of all Interior Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics and other resources, visit https://bit.ly/3bp2nIu.