A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

AstraZeneca vaccine to be offered to Lower Mainland residents ages 55-65 starting March 31

Moves comes after concerns over blood clots halted frontline worker vaccination program

British Columbians between the ages of 55 and 65 in the Lower Mainland will be able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine from their local pharmacist starting Wednesday (March 31).

In a Tuesday news release, the province said that Immunize BC is partnering with community pharmacies in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions to try and combat the recent spike in COVID cases. If people aged 55 to 65 wait for their turn in the age-based vaccine rollout, they are unlikely to get the jab before late April or May. B.C. reported 840 new cases Tuesday, and more than 2,500 over the past weekend.

“The AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is another important tool in our immunization program to get us past this surge of COVID-19 cases. We know from the millions of doses used worldwide, and especially in the U.K., it is highly effective and the benefits to those over age 55 far outweigh the very real risks of getting COVID-19,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “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.”

The new program comes the day after B.C. announced it was pausing its frontline worker vaccination program, which used AstraZeneca, after reports of vaccine-induced blot clots were reported in a very small number of people under age 55 across the world. The cases were largely in Europe and Canadian health officials have confirmed that their are no cases of vaccine-induced blood clots in the country. The AstraZeneca vaccine has been the subject of much back-and-forth since it was approved in Canada, with a federal advisory committee first recommending against using it in seniors over age 65 and then walking back that recommendation.

In order to book an AstraZeneca shot, people aged 55 to 65 in either Vancouver Coastal or Fraser Health can call their local pharmacy and book an appointment starting Wednesday. Drop-in appointments may also be an option at some pharmacies. The shot is free, but people must bring their personal health number, which is found on their BC Services Card or CareCard.

READ MORE: B.C.’s frontline worker vaccine program in flux as AstraZeneca use paused for under-55s


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members from the BC Wildfire Service and the Williams Lake Fire Department are conducting controlled burns at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds and at Boitanio Park today, April 20, in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Fire department, wildfire service, conducting controlled burns in Boitanio Park, Stampede Grounds April 20

Locations include at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds and in Boitanio Park

A firefighter attacks a blaze near the 100 Mile sewage treatment plant on Canim-Hendrix Road Saturday. (Patrick Davies photo- 100 Mile Free Press).
Firefighters en route to blaze on Canim-Hendrix Lake Road

The fire is latest in a string of recent blazes in South Cariboo.

Jason and Pharis Romero’s latest album <em>Bet on Love</em> garnered three Canadian Folk Music Awards. Here Patrick Metzger, bass, from left, Jason, Pharis and Marc Jenkins perform at Arts on the Fly 2019 in Horsefly. Both Metzger and Jenkins performed on the album, as well as John Reischman on mandolin. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Romeros’ latest album garners three Canadian Folk Music Awards

Recorded in Horsefly, Bet on Love was released in May 2020

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

The Nazko River is under a flood warning. (Emcon Services Inc. Facebook photo)
Nazko River under flood warning

Rest of the Cariboo, including Quesnel and Williams Lake at lowest advisory level

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Interior Health issued warning April 18, 2021 of crack cocaine in Penticton that looks similar to the substance above containing fentanyl. (Interior Health photo)
Interior Health warns of fentanyl contaminated crack-cocaine in Penticton

There have been recent reports of overdose associated with the use of this substance

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Most Read