Hundreds of thousands COVID-19 booster shot appointments still unbooked in B.C.

The province’s vaccine rollout continues to target people at greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 by offering them a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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With no end in sight to the highly infectious spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant , the province is renewing its call for British Columbians to schedule booster vaccine doses amid growing unbooked appointments at clinics.

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As spots opened up Thursday to people ages 63 to 64, available appointments not claimed included 7,000 this week and 25,000 in the following, “of which a total of 14,000 which are located in the Interior,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said at a Friday news conference.

“In the first three weeks of January, 203,000 are not booked with more appointments going up every day.”

The province’s vaccine rollout continues to target people at greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 by offering them a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a total of 656 clinic locations around the province, including those of health authorities and pharmacies.

“When you receive an invitation, I strongly encourage you to book… because you are in a category of people, either due to age or other circumstances, where you should get your third dose and get it now.”

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Twenty per cent of the eligible population has already received their third dose. Seventy-five per cent of those 70 and older who are eligible have received a booster dose.

Of the B.C. residents defined by provincial health authorities as “extremely clinically vulnerable,” including those living with cancer, severe respiratory illness or recipients of organ transplants, 135,253 have been boosted with the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Tens of thousands of health care workers have received a third shot and well over 50,000 Indigenous people as well,” Dix said.

Starting next Tuesday, B.C. residents ages 61 and 62 will be eligible to book their third vaccine dose. Thursday (Dec. 30), people 60 years of age will gain access to booster shots. Those younger in age will be prioritized as the days go on, Dix said.

sgrochowski@postmedia.com


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