(Files by Catherine Garrett-MyPGNow)
People at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection will be able to register for a vaccine starting on Monday (March 29).
According to the province, this includes those with preexisting medical conditions, like various forms of cancer, diabetes, transplant recipients and severe respiratory conditions.
The updated timeline for B.C.’s immunization plan means about 200,000 people aged 16 years and older who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are eligible to receive their first dose soon.
Some of the CEV population will have already been immunized as part of B.C.’s age-based vaccine program (currently 75 years and older).
“B.C. has made tremendous progress on our age-based vaccine program,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
“Now, we are able to expand to those people who are at increased risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions or various medical treatments. Clinical experts have now determined those who have a high risk of severe illness from the virus and now have the vaccine supply to protect these most vulnerable people.”
Physicians and providers in cancer care, kidney diseases and other conditions causing compromised immunity worked with public health to define B.C.’s updated CEV list to ensure those most at risk of severe illness are prioritized first.
Those identified as CEV will receive a letter in the mail in the coming days with information on how to book an appointment, beginning March 29.
People who receive this invitation letter must bring it with them to their vaccination appointment.
If people who believe they are in the CEV group have not received a letter by April 15, they can contact the provincial call centre or visit the get vaccinated provincial online registration and booking system, which is scheduled to launch on April 6, to confirm if they are on the CEV list.
If they are not on the CEV list, they can reach out to their physician or nurse practitioner about their eligibility.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said: “Through this additional immunization, we are able to relieve a significant burden from those who are extremely clinically vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19. This is another encouraging step forward for all of us as we continue to ramp up our immunization efforts.”
The CEV-based booking process will run parallel to the ongoing age-based booking schedule.
This schedule is being accelerated, starting with those born in 1945 able to book starting Wednesday, March 24.
The revised health authority eligibility call-in schedule follows:
* age 76 (born in 1945) – Wednesday, March 24 at noon
* age 75 (born in 1946) – Thursday, March 25 at noon
* age 74 (born in 1947) – Friday, March 26 at noon
* age 74+, and CEV population (must-have invitation letter to book) – Monday, March 29 noon