COVID-19 Immunization Plan
Health Canada has approved COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months to 4 years.
B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan is updated regularly to keep you protected.
Last updated: July 14, 2022
On this page:
- Why you need to get vaccinated
- Vaccine safety
- Register with the Get Vaccinated system
- I have special health requirements
- I still have questions
To get the most effective protection against serious cases of COVID-19 you need your initial vaccination series doses and ongoing booster doses. Keep up-to-date to stay fully protected.
Initial vaccination series
For most people, their initial vaccination series is 2 doses. These are offered approximately 56 days apart.
If you are immunocompromised, you may need a third or fourth dose to complete your initial series. You will get an invitation for your third dose approximately 4 weeks after your second dose.
At least 2 doses are required to get your federal proof of vaccination for travel.
Immunity fades over time. Getting a booster dose is part of your routine health care.
- If you've only had your initial vaccination series, you need a booster
- If you haven't had a dose within the last 9 months, you need a booster
- If you've had COVID-19, you still need a booster
Health Canada has a thorough approval process to make sure all the vaccines and medicines we take are safe.
- Vaccines are tested extensively before being approved for use
- Health Canada continues to monitor for vaccine safety
- No major safety concerns have been identified in the data Health Canada reviewed
Review Health Canada guidance on COVID-19 vaccine safety and side effects. To date, 6 vaccines have been approved for use by Health Canada.
To book your vaccine appointments, you need to be registered with the provincial Get Vaccinated system.
Register with the Get Vaccinated system. You only need to register once.
Youth 12 to 17
Youth 12 years and older get the same vaccine dosage as adults. Under the Infants Act, youth can give consent as a mature minor to receive health care, like getting a vaccine.
Children 5 to 11
The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines for children use a smaller dosage of the same vaccine used for youth and adults. Children need a smaller dose of the vaccine to get the same protection from COVID-19. Learn more about vaccines for children 5 to 11.
Children 6 months to 4 years
Health Canada has approved the Moderna mRNA vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years. Appointments for young children start August 2. Register your child with the Get Vaccinated system now to get notified when they can get vaccinated.
People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems will generally have lower antibody responses from two COVID-19 vaccine doses. Studies show that giving a third dose to complete the initial vaccine series can help these individuals create antibodies to protect them from COVID-19.
People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and meet the criteria need a third dose of vaccine to complete their initial series.
Moderately to severely immunocompromised dose 3 criteria
Have had a solid-organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressive therapy:
- Have had a solid organ transplant. May include a heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas or islet cells, bowel or combination organ transplant
Will have, are having, or are on active treatment for solid tumour or hematologic malignancies (like myeloma or leukemia):
- Will have, are having, or in the last 12 months have received systemic treatment for a haematological malignancy, or in the last 24 months have received anti-CD20 or other B-cell depleting therapies for a haematologic malignancy
- Will have, are having, or in the last 24 months have had a bone marrow, stem cell transplant or CAR-T or who are still taking immunosuppressive drugs
- Will have, are having, or in the last 6 months have received anti-cancer systemic therapy for solid tumours (including but not limited to cytotoxic chemotherapy; molecular targeted therapy; immunotherapy; monoclonal antibodies; bone modifying agents used in the setting of metastatic disease; high dose steroids e.g equivalent to > 20mg/day for more than 1 month but excluding patients only receiving hormonal or bone modifying therapy in the adjuvant setting)
- Are planned for radiation, are having or will have had radiation in the last 3 months
- Have a diagnosis of CLL/SLL, myeloma/plasmacytoma, or low grade lymphoma
Prior AIDS defining illness or prior CD4 count ≤ 200/mm3 or prior CD4 fraction ≤ 15% or any detectable plasma viral load since January 2021 or HIV infection and ≥ 65 years old or perinatally acquired HIV infection.
Are on active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies:
- In the last 2 years, been treated with anti-CD20 agents or similar therapeutic agents: examples include rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab, obinutuzumab, ibritumomab, tositumomab
- In the last 2 years, been treated with B-cell depleting agents or similar therapeutic agents: examples include epratuzumab, MEDI-551, belimumab, BR3-Fc, AMG-623, atacicept, anti-BR3, alemtuzumab
- In the last 3 months, been treated with biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppresive: examples include abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, anifrolumab, benralizumab, brodalumab, canakinumab, certolizumab, dupilumab, eculizumab, etanercept, golimumab, guselkumab, infliximab, interferon products (alpha, beta, and pegylated forms), ixekizumab, mepolizumab, natalizumab, omalizumab, ravulizumab, resilizumab, risankizumab, sarilumab, secukinumab, tocilizumab, ustekinumab, or vedolizumab
- In the last 3 months, been treated with oral immune-suppressing drugs: examples include azathioprine, baricitinib, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, leflunomide, dimethyl fumerate, everolimus, fingolimod, mycophenolate, siponimod, sirolimus, tacrolimus, tofacitinib, upadacitinib, methotrexate, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, prednisone (adult dose or pediatric dose equivalent of ≥20 mg per day or ≥2mg/kg daily if bodyweight <10 kg), methylprednisolone, teriflunomide, or voclosporin
- In the last 3 months, been treated with steroids orally or by injection on an ongoing basis (>14 days) that would interfere with immune responses: examples include dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, or prednisone (adult dose or pediatric dose equivalent of ≥20 mg per day or ≥2mg/kg daily if bodyweight <10 kg)
- In the last 3 months, been treated with immune-suppressing infusions/injections: examples include cladribine, cyclophosphamide, glatiramer, methotrexate
- In the last 3 months, been treated with intermittent high dose steroids administered as immune suppression prior to intravenous enzyme replacement treatment
Have combined immune deficiencies affecting T-cells, immune dysregulation (particularly familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis) or those with type 1 interferon defects (caused by a genetic primary immunodeficiency disorder or secondary to anti-interferon autoantibodies).
Have a moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency which has been diagnosed by an adult or pediatric immunologist and requires ongoing immunoglobulin replacement therapy (IVIG or SCIG) or the primary immunodeficiency has a confirmed genetic cause (e.g. DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
Are on dialysis and/or with severe kidney or renal disease:
- On dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) or have stage 5 chronic kidney disease (eGFR <15ml/min or have glomerulonephritis and receiving steroid treatment
You will be contacted by the provincial Get Vaccinated system about how and when to book a third dose, about 4 weeks after you receive your second dose.
- If you've selected email or SMS communication, you'll be sent a link to book an appointment online
- If you've asked to be contacted by phone, a call centre agent will call you to book an appointment
If you believe you meet the criteria of people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and haven't been contacted, get in touch with your health care provider.
If you still have questions about immunization in B.C, consult your doctor or health care provider.
If you don't have a family doctor, call 811.