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What to expect when the time comes for a second COVID-19 vaccine shot

(Files by Dione Wearmouth – My Prince George Now)

In the past few weeks, the province announced some updated information surrounding the second dose vaccine rollout plan.

Federal Health officials announced Canadians who got a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine can now get a Pfizer or Moderna shot as a second dose if necessary.

Last month, BC announced the interval between a first and second dose will be shortened from a maximum of 16 weeks down to 8 weeks.

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With this new information, many BC residents might feel left in the dark as to what to expect for their second dose appointments.

However, according to Dr.Bonnie Henry, the second dose program will be based on the same principles as the first dose program, prioritizing those most at risk such as the elderly and anyone battling a range of underlying health conditions.

About 8 weeks after the first shot, residents that are registered on the GetVaccinated website can expect an email, phone call, or text message inviting them to book a second dose.

For example, if you had your first dose in early May, you’ll get invited to book an appointment in late June, where you’ll be able to select a location to get vaccinated along with a preferred date and time for the appointment.

In order to receive an invitation to book a second dose, you must be registered on the GetVaccinated website.

The First Nation Health Authority recently teamed up with Yellowhead Helicopters to distribute vaccines for second dose clinics in remote communities under difficult conditions.

Anyone who received their first dose in another province or country must contact the Call Centre at 1-833-838-2323, to register and update your immunization record.

Callers may be asked for the date the first dose was administered, which vaccine was given, the clinic location, lot #, and the size of the dose.

For residents that were given AstraZeneca as a first dose, a notification will be sent to anyone registered asking them to confirm whether they would like AstraZeneca for their second dose or an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna).

According to the Northern Health website, those who received Pfizer for their first dose will most likely get it for their second dose, while those who received Moderna first could get either Moderna or Pfizer for their second shot.

So far, nearly 500,000 people in BC have been fully vaccinated in BC.

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