3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose to be offered to long-term care residents, B.C. health officials announce
Residents in long-term care settings and assisted living will be offered a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine in B.C. starting next week.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave the update in a live briefing alongside Health Minister Adrian Dix Tuesday. Henry explained older residents may not develop as strong of an immune response as other age groups.
"We do know that people we prioritize first to receive vaccine are our elders and seniors in long-term care and assisted living and we know that older people have a less strong immune responses to most vaccines and though these ones are really good, we do know that it may not be as high as others," she said.
Henry also said that transmission in "congregate settings," like care homes, is a concern.
"Even when we have most of the residents fully immunized, if this virus is introduced into those settings, there is a significant number of people who will have break-through infections and this in an elderly population can be lethal," she said.
To help mitigate that risk, residents will be offered a third COVID-19 vaccine dose, about six months after their second dose. For many residents, that means they will be offered a booster shot as early as next week. The doses will be offered alongside seasonal flu shots.
"We know that our seniors and elders have carried a heavy burden and we continue to see cases in these homes," Henry said.