The vaccines are coming. After a long wait, B.C. is gearing up for one of its largest mass immunization efforts in history.
On Monday, the province unveiled Phase 2 of its COVID-19 rollout plan and announced that seniors over 80 and Indigenous people over 65 will start receiving their vaccinations on March 15.
Here’s what you need to know to get your jab.
How do I book an appointment?
You can make your own appointment, or have a friend or family member do it for you.
Booking information — including health authority contact details, complete call-in schedules, hours of operations and step-by-step instructions on how to call to book an appointment — will be available on March 8 at gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst.
The government has promised that seniors would also be able to book their appointment through their health authority call centre. The Island Health call centre can be reached at 1-833-348-4787. It will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
People should only call in when they are eligible. Anyone who misses their age-based dates can call, book and be vaccinated at any time after they become eligible.
Seniors who are 90 and older and Indigenous people who are 65 and older will be able to book their vaccinations starting March 8, while seniors 85-89 can book starting March 15, and seniors 80-84 can book beginning March 22.
What information will I need to provide when I call?
The call centre will ask for your:
• Legal name
• Date of birth
• Postal code
• Personal health number (PHN), found on the back of B.C. driver’s licences or B.C. services cards.
• Contact information, including an email address or phone number to receive texts.
The health authority will never ask people for their social insurance number, driver’s license number or banking and credit card details.
When can I get vaccinated?
Phase 2 vaccinations of high-risk groups will continue until mid-April. This includes individuals living in shelters, health care workers, seniors and staff in independent living homes and long-term home support clients and staff.
Vaccinations for seniors 90 and older and Indigenous peoples 65 and older who are not living in independent living or seniors supportive housing will start on March 15.
Seniors 85-89 will start receiving vaccinations on March 22. Those 80-84 will follow a week later.
Vaccinations for the general population are expected to take place from April until September. The vaccines will be administered by age in five-year increments, starting with people ages 75 to 79.
The provincial government provided this estimate of when appointment slots would open for various age ranges:
• 75 to 79 — First shot April
• 70-74 — First shot April
• 65-69 — First shot May or June
• 60-64 — First shot June
• clinically vulnerable people 16-69 — First shots between April and June
• 40-59 — First shot July
• 35-39 — First shot July
• 30-34 — First shot July
• 25-29 — First shot July or August
• 18-24 — First shot August
— With files from Scott Brown and Katie DeRosa