How do I get the coronavirus vaccine in B.C.?
VANCOUVER -- As B.C.'s vaccine effort ramps up during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, CTV News Vancouver has all the details on the province's multi-phased immunization plan.
B.C.'s health ministry has been rolling out details on its mass vaccination plan in recent months and this story will be updated as more information continues to become available.
WHO CAN GET VACCINATED RIGHT NOW?
All B.C. residents 18 and older can now register through the province's online portal. After registration, people will be contacted when their age is being booked for doses.
For individuals working in certain occupations, like first responders and teachers in specific areas, vaccine appointments might be booked through their workplace, regardless of age.
Pregnant people aged 16 and older can now book their shot and some high-transmission neighbourhoods are being prioritized for vaccine distribution.
As well, people aged 30+ in some parts of B.C. can try contacting a local pharmacy for an AstraZeneca dose and be put on a waitlist. However, local supply of that vaccine is extremely limited and some pharmacies are no longer able to book appointments.
Health officials have previously said nobody will lose their place in line. For example, if someone is eligible to get their vaccine in Phase 2 but can't for whatever reason, they can be immunized at any point after.
WHO IS NEXT IN LINE?
Along with prioritizing essential workers and high-transmission neighbourhoods, B.C.'s age-based rollout is continuing in phases and new age cohorts are being contacted daily to book their appointment. Up-to-date information on who is being contacted next can be found on the province's vaccine website.
HOW WILL I FIND OUT WHEN I CAN RECEIVE THE VACCINE?
Details on registration dates can be found on the province's vaccine website.
WHERE DO I SIGN UP?
Previously, individuals could contact a call centre in their health authority to book an appointment. On April 6, an online booking system launched, as did a single call centre phone number for the entire province.
The website to book online is: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.html
Alternatively, British Columbians can call this number as of April 6: 1-833-838-2323
When booking, an individual will be asked for the person's legal name, date of birth, postal code, personal health number and current contact information.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE REGISTERING?
The B.C. Centre for Disease Controls says “there are very few reasons someone should not get the COVID-19 vaccine.”
However, the BCCDC says, individuals should not get a vaccine if they have serious allergies to any of the ingredients in the vaccines.
"An ingredient in the vaccines that has been associated with a rare but serious allergy (anaphylaxis) is polyethylene glycol (PEG)," a statement on the BCCDC’s website says.
"PEG can be found in some cosmetics, skin care products, laxatives, some processed foods and drinks and other products. There have been no reports of anaphylaxis from PEG in food or drink."
Individuals should also talk to their health-care provider if they've previously had an anaphylactic reaction but don't know what caused it.
WHO HAS ALREADY RECEIVED THE VACCINE?
As of May 10, more than two million people in B.C. have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Those include people who registered in the age-based rollout program as well as those who booked appointments through their employment as an essential worker, because they live in a high-transmission neighbourhood or with a pharmacy, where available.
WHERE ARE THE VACCINES BEING DISTRIBUTED?
Vaccines are being distributed across the province.
Clinics were set up in March by health authorities and may include mobile sites and home visits where necessary. Large spaces are being used for mass immunization in urban areas including in stadiums, convention halls, arenas, community halls and school gyms. In rural areas, mobile clinics in self-contained vehicles – like transit buses – might be used.
Every health authority has announced the locations of its own clinics, and more details can be found here and on individual health authorities' websites.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT?
Individuals getting their vaccine will need to wear a mask to the clinic and bring their personal health number, if they have one.
They should also wear loose-fitting clothing for easy access to their arm. The vaccine is given by injection into the muscle of the arm, in the shoulder area.
On the day of their appointment, people will have to go through a check-in process, get their vaccine and then wait in an observation area for about 15 minutes afterwards to watch for adverse reactions. Those who get a vaccine will receive a paper copy of their record and a reminder for when to book their second dose. Digital copies of a vaccine record will also be available.
HOW CAN I GET TO MY VACCINATION SITE?
While most health authorities haven't given specific details about transportation to vaccination sites, Fraser Health announced a partnership with TransLink on April 30 to help people get to their appointments. Free shuttles are available to seniors, vulnerable populations and others in the region facing barriers around transportation. Eligible Fraser Health residents can request a ride by using their provincial vaccine registration number to complete a transportation request form. Once that is filled out, Fraser Health will book an immunization appointment and transportation together.
WHEN DO I GET MY SECOND DOSE?
B.C.'s health ministry says those who get their first vaccine dose will be notified by email, text or phone call when they are eligible to book an appointment for their second dose.
On March 1, health officials announced that moving forward, all appointments for second doses will be scheduled four months after the first dose. In early May, however, B.C.'s provincial health officer said that timeline may be sped up based on available supply.
WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
British Columbians should speak to their health-care provider or call 811 if they have questions.