After increasing the duration between the first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses, to widen the coverage, B.C. health officials have now reduced that timeframe from 16 to 8 weeks.
The process of booking a slot for the second-dose vaccination is already underway. Those eligible are individuals who are medically very susceptible as well as those who received the first dose of the vaccination at the very beginning of the rollout.
With the shorter gap, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said they’re hopeful that they’ll get every individual vaccinated by the time summer ends.
So far, about three million vaccination doses have been administered. Of this figure, 66% of British Columbians vaccinated are those aged 18 years and older. 62% of citizens aged 12 and older have already received their first dose.
The majority of the three million doses that have been administered are first doses. Only 156,730 of these are second doses.
The difference between these two doses mainly lies in their design. Henry stated that their goal has been to ensure that every individual receives the first dose.
However, they’ve also been doing their best to distribute the second doses, especially to long-term care facilities. Currently, they’re hatching a plan that will see remote and indigenous communities prioritized for the second doses as well.
Important to note is that there’s a likelihood that some individuals will receive different types of vaccines for the first and second dose.
Based on intensive research carried out by Canada’s National Advisory Committee, the messenger RNA vaccines in Moderna and Pfizer can be used interchangeably without causing side effects.
However, the committee also stated that whenever possible, the same type of vaccine should be given for the first and second doses.
As for the lot of individuals who received AstraZeneca, Henry has recommended that they wait a little longer for a conclusive decision on the same.
In the meantime, health officials are making plans to provide the second round of AstraZeneca doses to those who received it the first time.
B.C.’s Get Vaccinated website is the main platform for communication between residents and health officials.
For those who received their first vaccination before the website was in play, Henry asked them to register and make an appointment for the second dose via the site. The website was started on April 15.