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B.C. to roll out second booster doses for people aged 70 and up

Indigenous people aged 55+ and clinically vulnerable people also eligible for fourth vaccine dose
FILE: Amica White Rock resident Manfred Pohn receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)

People in B.C. aged 70 and up, and Indigenous people aged 55 and up, will soon receive their invitations for a second booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the announcement on April 5, hours after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended a fourth dose for adults aged 80 and older.

“While the greatest benefit is expected in adults 80 years of age and older, jurisdictions may also consider offering a second COVID-19 booster dose to adults 70-79 years of age living in the community,” NACI’s updated guidance said.

NACI recommended that provinces aim to provide a second booster six months after the previous booster dose. For people who have been infected with COVID, NACI recommends waiting three months from the date of infection before receiving a booster dose.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said seniors are far more likely to end up in hospital than any other age group. She presented data at a news conference on April 5 that shows seniors who have received a booster dose are significantly less likely to end up in hospital than seniors who have only received two doses.

B.C. data comparing hospitalizations among age cohorts and vaccination status. (Ministry of Health)

Fourth doses will be rolled out over the coming weeks. As has been the case with each vaccine rollout, residents in long-term care will be prioritized to receive their vaccinations. Other eligible groups in the community will receive their vaccines in the same way they received their three previous doses.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people will also have access to a fourth dose. Some clinically vulnerable people required three doses of vaccine to generate the antibodies and cell-mediated immunity required to protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death.

Henry said a second booster isn’t recommended for anyone outside these groups at this time.

As of April 4, 59.5 per cent of British Columbians have received a booster dose.

READ MORE: Future waves of COVID-19 likely as Canada undergoes “period of transition”: Tam


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