Some residents of Fraser Health can get their second COVID-19 shot just four weeks after the first, giving students, the elderly, and those travelling for work more options when it comes to getting fully vaccinated.
Curtis Harling of Fraser Health Communications confirmed that some people seeking a second shot can get theirs just 28 days after the first, rather than the 49-day minimum wait period that has been in place for most of B.C. since the beginning of March.
Since early July, all Fraser Health immunization centres have been offering an “expedited” second dose of vaccines to eligible individuals, said Harling.
The criteria are:
• Anyone undertaking essential travel for compassionate reasons or work travel as defined by the Government of Canada
• Anyone going to rural and remote communities in Canada with restrictive vaccine access
• Anyone travelling to attend a post-secondary institution
• Travellers who are clinically extremely vulnerable and are receiving active treatment
• Elderly persons (70+) in weakened or frail conditions
• Health care workers (as an exception basis)
• Individuals living in more remote communities that are being done as ‘whole communities’ to support vaccinations efforts.
Managers at vaccination clinics will review the status and documents of anyone requesting expedited access, according to Fraser Health.
All three of the most-used vaccines in Canada – Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca – require a two-dose regime to achieve the maximum possible effect.
The manufacturers of the vaccines recommended they be given three to four weeks apart, depending on the specific vaccine, but in B.C. and then most of Canada, “first shots first” became the standard during the spring, when supplies were limited and vaccines relatively scarce.
The idea was that while the level of protection from one shot is somewhat lower than from two, spreading those shots around to more people would provide better community protection from the virus.
Since early July, Fraser Health Immunization Centres have been providing expedited second dose COVID-19 vaccines to eligible individuals who meet certain criteria. All individuals must have a minimum time interval of 28 days (four weeks) since their first dose and meet the following criteria:
Immunization clinic managers, in consultation with Public Health, will review the status and documentation of any client requesting expedited access to determine if they are eligible for priority access to second dose vaccine.
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