B.C. opens AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for ages 55-65 after pausing younger cohorts

·1 min read

VICTORIA — British Columbia is bumping up its age-based vaccination plan by offering Oxford-AstraZeneca shots to Lower Mainland residents between the ages of 55 and 65.

The move comes a day after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a pause on use of the same vaccine for anyone under 55 on the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization amid concerns about rare blood clots.

Henry says in a news release that officials know from the millions of doses used worldwide that the vaccine is highly effective and the benefits to those over age 55 far outweigh the very real risks of getting COVID-19.

Beginning Wednesday, those between the ages of 55 and 65 can call their local pharmacy and book an appointment to receive their vaccine.

Drop-in service may also be an option at more than 150 participating pharmacies and people must bring their personal health number with them.

The news comes amid a COVID-19 surge, with 840 new daily cases Tuesday but no new deaths.

The vaccine is being offered through a partnership between Immunize BC and community pharmacists.

"I encourage everyone in the Lower Mainland who is between 55 and 65 years of age to receive their safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine today," Henry says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press