The B.C. government has updated its immunization timeline, and is now expecting to offer a first dose of vaccine to every eligible adult in the province by the end of June.
Officials credited increased supplies of vaccine and the decision to stretch the interval between doses for allowing them to speed up the schedule, which now estimates people in their 40s will be accessing vaccine as early as May.
In a news release, the Ministry of Health noted that its updated timeline is contingent on “the latest available science and data,” as well as on supply actually being delivered.
But officials sounded optimistic about the province’s progress on Thursday. Dr. Penny Ballem, the head of B.C.’s vaccination program, said the number of doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine the province is expected to receive in the coming weeks has drastically increased, up to 906,000 for first doses alone.
“We have gone from 415,000 doses to a projected supply, for March into the middle of April, of close to a million doses,” Ballem said. “So really a doubling of what to expect.”
She also pointed out that Health Canada has approved the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, though Ballem said B.C. health officials still dont know how much additional supply to expect.
The province’s immunization program is currently in Phase 2, with everyone aged 80 and up and Indigenous residents aged 65 and up eligible for vaccine. People who are between the ages of 16 and 69 who are considered “clinically extremely vulnerable” are also be able to access vaccine in March and April, the government said.
The updated age-based schedule for when the rest of the general population can expect to receive their first dose is as follows:
- People aged 79 to 75 (April)
- People aged 74 to 70 (April)
- People aged 69 to 65 (April)
- People aged 64 to 60 (April/May)
- People aged 59 to 55 (May)
- People aged 54 to 50 (May)
- People aged 49 to 45 (May)
- People aged 44 to 40 (May/June)
- People aged 39 to 35 (May/June)
- People aged 34 to 30 (June)
- People aged 29 to 25 (June)
- People aged 24 to 18 (June)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix also shared the government’s plan for distributing AstraZeneca doses on Thursday, with eligible groups including teachers, grocery store workers and child-care workers.