• Friday , 3 February 2023

B.C. introducing fourth COVID shot in the fall

The provincial government said about 59.5 percent of British Columbians aged 12 and up have received three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. / File Photo

Marius Auer

The next step in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization strategy will be another round of booster shots, in the form of a ‘fourth shot’ available to people in B.C. starting in the fall of 2022.

In October 2021, the province introduced its vaccine booster initiative, recommending a second COVID-19 vaccination for everyone. Despite the program’s mostly successful rollout, many British Columbians still have not received their first booster shot. B.C. administered its first COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 15, 2020, paving the way for millions to receive their first dose.

Now, over 18 months later, the province is reminding residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible, to stay up to date on their boosters, and to continue being vigilant in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. B.C. has had 375,357 total reported cases of COVID-19, including 765 in the last week of June.

“The province first rolled out a booster program in October 2021. Since then, many British Columbians have received their booster dose, but approximately 1.3 million individuals still need to do so. Public health advises that everyone should get their first booster dose as soon as possible to strengthen and extend their protection,” said the province in a recent press release.

The newest booster, which represents a fourth COVID-19 vaccination for those who have received their initial dose and two booster doses, will be available to B.C. residents beginning in the fall. The new doses have been evaluated by Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), and are specially adapted to the Omicron variant.

Although people are advised to wait until the fall for their next booster due to the six months wait period after vaccination and upcoming cold and flu season, those under 70 who got their last shot six months or more ago and who feel they have special circumstances can apply for an earlier appointment. Those who aren’t up to date with their boosters should catch up now, said the province.

“People who have not had their first booster are not protected enough from severe illness related to COVID-19 and are not up to date with their protection. Those who have had COVID-19 still need a booster to ensure they are protected.”

Patients 12 years and older will receive the newest booster in the fall, with the provincial government expecting Health Canada vaccine approval for those aged six months to 11 years old in the near future. These vaccines will be designed specifically for younger children, and delivered in vaccine sites appropriate for those ages.

For more information on the COVID-19 booster, or to get vaccinated, visit getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca.

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