This provincial vaccine rollout will speed up distribution of vaccine to older populations at greater risk from COVID-19. Regional health authorities are organizing these clinics with planning support from the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) regional teams. Current community-based vaccination clinics organized by the FNHA in partnership with First Nations communities will also continue and dates will be confirmed as vaccine supply becomes available.
The Ministry of Health, the Provincial Health Officer, the Chief Executive Officers of the Health Authorities, including the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), have confirmed their commitment to the whole of community vaccination approach for First Nations Communities. The availability of vaccines and the extension of second doses make possible the supply of vaccines to support implementation or scheduling of all clinics by March 31, 2021. FNHA looks forward with our partners to working with communities to make this happen.
Vaccine Registration Contact Information by Health Authority
To find out which Health Authority you are in, please visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/partners/health-authorities/regional-health-authorities
Call centres will start registering appointments on March 8 for Indigenous people age 65 and older, as well as non-Indigenous seniors age 80 and older. The centres will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, with reduced hours on statutory holidays.
Indigenous people aged 60-64 will be able to register for an appointment online or by phone by March 31, with clinics for people in this age group starting in mid-April.
On March 1, first dose immunizations began for those living and working in independent living centres and senior's supportive housing, as well as long-term home support clients and staff. Health authorities are directly contacting those in this priority group to book appointments.
It's estimated that everyone who wants to be vaccinated can receive their first dose by July. That's due to the recent approval of the Astra Zeneca vaccine and the decision in BC to extend the interval between doses to four months or 16 weeks. This decision is based on research in BC and elsewhere that shows the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines give a very high level of protection after the first dose (about 90 per cent effectiveness three weeks after vaccination). This research also shows that recipients can safely wait for a booster shot without losing benefit. Both the province and the FNHA will continue to monitor this data closely.
The extensions of the second-dose clinics immediately free up 70,000 doses, allowing more protection for more people sooner.
Read the provincial news release: B.C. moves to Phase 2 of COVID-19 immunization plan, protects seniors
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, see What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines on the FNHA website, or:
The BC Centre for Disease Control Health Canada website Immunize BC
If you are a client or health care provider with clinical questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and do not have access to a primary care provider, call First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day at 1-855-344-3800. Medical Office Assistants are available to help you seven days per week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The FNHA has also produced a series of resources to help support mental health and wellness during the pandemic.Related resources:
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Update (PDF)