COVID-19 Immunization Plan

B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan is designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19. The information on this page is updated frequently and is subject to change based on vaccine availability and the latest COVID-19 data.

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Last updated: May 27, 2021


Get vaccinated

All COVID-19 vaccines in Canada are effective and safe. The best vaccine is the one available to you. Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders and guidelines remain in place for everyone, even if they have received the vaccine.

Register with the Get Vaccinated system

Everyone in B.C. must register with the Get Vaccinated provincial registration system once.

Get vaccinated People born in 2009 or earlier (12+) are eligible to get dose 1.

Second dose appointment invites are sent approximately 8 weeks after your first dose. 


Vaccines in Canada

The COVID-19 vaccine is saving lives. Vaccines do more than protect the people getting vaccinated, they also protect everyone around them. The more people in a community who are immunized and protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread.

The best source of COVID-19 vaccine information is the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control BCCDC.

Approved vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada are safe, effective and will save lives. To date, four vaccines have been approved for use by Health Canada.

Safety

Health Canada has conducted a rigorous scientific review of the available medical evidence to assess the safety of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Feeling worried or unsure is completely normal when something is new.

  • No major safety concerns have been identified in the data Health Canada reviewed
  • We can be reassured that Health Canada has a thorough approval process that makes sure the vaccines and medicines we take are safe

Supply

Vaccine supply is distributed by the Government of Canada and B.C. receives an allocated number of doses of vaccine on a weekly basis. The allocated amount is expected to increase throughout 2021.


Immunization phases

Eligibility is based on the age you are turning in 2021. Once you become eligible, you are always eligible. For example:

  • If you are in Phase 2, you can get the vaccine in Phase 3 or Phase 4
  • If you are in Phase 3, you can get the vaccine in Phase 4

The phased approach is based on expert advice and guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), B.C.’s Immunization Committee and the public health leadership committee. NACI recommends certain populations receive prioritization for early COVID-19 vaccination.

B.C. is committed to an ethical approach to immunization phases. The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed equitably and ethically to people in B.C. following national ethical frameworks and BCCDC’s COVID-19 Ethical Decision-Making Framework.

Community-specific approach

Some small and remote communities are getting vaccinated using a community-specific approach. Find out if your community is included and the schedule for second dose clinics, based on your health authority:


Phase 1 and Phase 2: High-risk population immunization

The focus of Phase 1 and Phase 2 was protecting those most vulnerable to severe illness first.

Phase 1 – Complete

Timeline: December 2020 to February 2021

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Individuals assessed for and awaiting long-term care
  • Residents and staff of assisted living residences
  • Essential visitors to long-term care facilities and assisted living residences
  • Hospital health care workers who may provide care for COVID-19 patients in settings like Intensive Care Units, emergency departments, paramedics, medical units and surgical units
  • Remote and isolated Indigenous communities

Phase 2 – Complete

Timeline: February to April 2021

Public health immunization clinics

  • Seniors born in 1941 or earlier not immunized in Phase 1
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) peoples born in 1956 or earlier, Elders and additional Indigenous communities not immunized in Phase 1
Priority groups
  • Hospital staff, community general practitioners (GPs) and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1
  • Vulnerable populations living and working in select congregated settings
  • Staff in community home support and nursing services

Phase 3 and Phase 4: General population immunization

Vaccines in Phase 3 and Phase 4 will primarily be distributed in five year age increments. Monthly breakdowns for dose 1 are estimates and may change based on vaccine availability. 

Phase 3 – Complete

Timeline: April to May 2021

  • People aged 79 to 60, in five year increments:
    • 79 to 75 (Dose 1 April)
    • 74 to 70 (Dose 1 April)
    • 69 to 65 (Dose 1 April)
    • 64 to 60 (Dose 1 April/May)
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) peoples aged 64 to 18 (Dose 1 April)
  • People aged 74 to 16 who are clinically extremely vulnerable (Dose 1 March/April)

Phase 4 – Current phase

Timeline: May to June 2021

  • People aged 59 to 18, in five year increments:
    • 59 to 55 (Dose 1 May)
    • 54 to 50 (Dose 1 May)
    • 49 to 45 (Dose 1 May)
    • 44 to 40 (Dose 1 May/June)
    • 39 to 35 (Dose 1 May/June)
    • 34 to 30 (Dose 1 June)
    • 29 to 25 (Dose 1 June)
    • 24 to 18 (Dose 1 June)

Proof of immunization

When you get vaccinated, you will have the option to receive a paper and digital copy of your immunization record card. We recommend registering for Health Gateway, where your digital immunization record card will be available only after you receive the vaccine.

Note: Health Gateway is not a source of vaccine or immunization information. 

Your immunization record will be also be stored in the online provincial database, accessible to you, public health and your doctor.

Example of a paper immunization record card:


Community immunity

Vaccines do more than protect you from COVID-19, they also protect everyone around you. The more people in a community who are immunized against COVID-19, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
 
Community (herd) immunity could be reached when a large majority of people in B.C. are immunized against COVID-19. When you choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19, you are helping save lives by protecting your household and your entire community from the virus.

Lifting restrictions

Lifting current restrictions will be based on many factors, including:

  • Number of people immunized and level of community immunity
  • Number of COVID-19 cases in the province
  • Health care system capacity

Layers of protection

Going back to normal life will take time. Even if you have received the vaccine, you must follow provincial health orders and protect others by:

  • Washing your hands
  • Staying home when sick and getting tested
  • Keeping a safe distance from others
  • Wearing a mask in public indoor spaces

Together, we can keep each other safe.