You won’t need to wait as long to get your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia.
B.C. health officials announced Monday that the interval between first and second doses has been reduced from seven weeks to just 28 days.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the change from 49 days to 28 will help bring up the level of community protection in areas of the province that are experiencing outbreaks.
Notices will be sent out to about 170,000 people in the coming days, asking them to book their second dose appointment.
Henry says the optimal time to wait for the second shot is six to 10 weeks, but that needs to be balanced with the risk of getting COVID-19 during the interval and those who aren’t in risky jobs or in a current hot spot may want to wait longer than 28 days.
Henry says most of the COVID-19 infections now are in the unvaccinated, but when the more infectious Delta variant gets into high-risk settings, such as care homes, it spreads to those who are immunized.
Over 70 per cent of those 12 years and up in the province are fully vaccinated, leaving more than 830,000 who have not had their shots.
The announcement comes after the province reported 464 new cases of the disease on Friday — the highest daily case count since mid-May.
Active cases in the province also reached 2,411, a count not seen since June 4.
Cases have been trending upward in recent weeks, driven by an outbreak in the Central Okanagan, primarily among unvaccinated people aged 20 to 40.
Twenty-seven new cases were announced in the Island Health region as well Friday, with a total of 145 active cases in the health authority.
As of Friday, B.C. had administered a total of 6,993,104 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Health officials say nearly 82.7 per cent of all eligible adult British Columbians have received their first dose and 81.8 per cent of all eligible people 12 and older have received their first dose. Nearly 69 per cent of people aged 12 and over have received both doses of the vaccine.