"Extremely vulnerable" to all be eligible for vaccines by end of month

·2 min read

Beginning Monday, Mar. 29 people considered “extremely vulnerable” and at higher risk from COVID-19 due to existing medical conditions will be able to register for their COVID-19 vaccine.

The accelerated timelines for BC’s COVID-19 immunization plan will allow approximately 200,000 people in BC aged 16 years and older who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) due to severe respiratory conditions, various forms of cancer, and transplant recipients, to receive their first dose of the COVIF-19 vaccine in the coming weeks.

Some members of the CEV population have already been vaccinated as part of the age-based vaccine program which has immunized those 75 years and older.

“B.C. has made tremendous progress on our age-based vaccine program,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“Now, we are able to expand to those people who are at increased risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions or various medical treatments. Clinical experts have now determined those who have a high risk of severe illness from the virus and now have the vaccine supply to protect these most vulnerable people.”

Physicians who are considered experts and providers for those in cancer care, those with kidney diseases and other conditions which cause compromised immunity worked with international COVID-19 data and public health to update BC’s CEV list. This will ensure those most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are prioritized for the vaccine.

“Since day one of our immunization plan, we have set out to protect those who are most at risk to COVID-19,” said Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead, B.C.’s immunization plan.

“We used clinical evidence from around the world and clinical expertise and patient registries in B.C. to develop this list and look forward to taking another important step forward in our immunization plan.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said: “Through this additional immunization, we are able to relieve a significant burden from those who are extremely clinically vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19. This is another encouraging step forward for all of us as we continue to ramp up our immunization efforts.”

The CEV based schedule will run parallel to the ongoing age based booking schedule, which is being accelerated.

Those who have been identified as CEV will receive a letter in the mail with information on how to book an appointment. People who received this invitation letter must bring it with them to their vaccination appointment. If those who believe they are in the CEV group have not received a letter by Apr. 15, 2021, they can contact a provincial call centre or visit the Get Vaccinated online provincial registration and booking system, which is scheduled to launch on Apr. 6, 2021.

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald