Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry thanks an Island Health nurse after joining staff for the first round of COVID-19 vaccine, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry thanks an Island Health nurse after joining staff for the first round of COVID-19 vaccine, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)

Got a pharmacy shot? Don’t try to double up on COVID-19 vaccines

AstraZeneca rollout overlaps with B.C.’s age-based program

B.C.’s COVID-19 registration system is catching up with the fast-changing rollout of three different vaccines, and some people who got their first shot at a pharmacy may have received an invitation to book for another one.

Don’t try for a different vaccine, says ImmunizeBC, the province’s information service for vaccine programs including traditional children’s shots and seasonal influenza as well as COVID-19.

“If you have been vaccinated for COVID-19 already, you will not be able to get a different one,” ImmunizeBC says. “In addition, a second COVID-19 vaccine from a different manufacturer is not a recommended way to increase protection.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday she experienced one of the double-dose “glitches” herself, after getting a first shot of Pfizer vaccine along with Island Health staff just before Christmas. Then when her eligibility by age came up, she received an automated message from the registry inviting her to book a first dose. If that happens to you, wait until you have a second-dose notification before acting, she said.

B.C.’s age-based vaccination program uses Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and as of May 3 is booking appointments for people born in 1967 or earlier. The age-based program is accelerating as more supplies arrive in Canada, with registered B.C. residents age 50 and up to be invited to book by the end of the week.

As the online registration and booking system was being extended province-wide, B.C. supplied more than 600 pharmacies with the more portable, fridge-stable AstraZeneca vaccine, which was initially restricted to people aged 55 to 65. Now AstraZeneca is being administered to people aged 40 and up in hot spot regions, and to some high-risk occupations as supplies allow.

RELATED: Canada to receive 2 million doses of Pfizer this week

RELATED: MLA isolating in B.C. hot spot city of Dawson Creek

Health Minister Adrian Dix has warned that records of pharmacy-delivered vaccinations take time to be included in the province-wide database. His advice, echoed by Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is to get the first vaccine that’s offered to you and wait for instructions for a second dose.

Dix has emphasized that everyone aged 18 and up should register, and Henry says the latest schedule for increased vaccine deliveries means every adult should be offered a vaccine before the end of June.

The latest data from the Public Health Agency of Canada show that one dose of any of Canada’s widely used vaccines protects against infection, with fewer than two per cent of new positive tests identified in people who have had a shot and two weeks to develop resistance.


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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