B.C. now offering AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 40+

B.C. now offering AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 40+
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British Columbian health officials have announced an expansion of the AstraZeneca vaccine to include more residents across the province.

British Columbian health officials have announced an expansion of the AstraZeneca vaccine to include more residents across the province.

During a press conference with a multitude of updates, including new provincial travel restrictions, Dr. Bonnie Henry revealed that B.C. was lowering the age of eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone ages 40 and up — previously set at 55- to 65-year-olds and older.

The vaccine is currently available at pharmacies across the province. Bookings can be made for an AstraZeneca shot through the pharmacies themselves and a list of participants can be found on the provincial government’s website.

In addition to reducing the age of eligibility, Dr. Henry said that targeted AstraZeneca-only clinics will be set up in specific high-risk communities across the province. At this time, none of the communities outlined by Dr. Henry and health officials are located on Vancouver Island.

“These highest priority communities have been identified by the data that we’ve been collecting at the BC CDC that allows us to understand where the highest transmission risk is happening and where the immunization rates are lower,” said Dr. Henry during a news conference Monday.

The 13 communities selected are mostly located in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health authorities.

Currently, health officials report that B.C. has a reserve of 75,000 AstraZeneca doses to administer.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are continuing to be administered to the older population through mass vaccination clinics across the province. Currently, the government is booking adults age 63 and up for these immunizations.

According to the data presented on Monday, out of all eligible British Columbians, 27 per cent had been vaccinated with one dose so far as of April 14.

While the vaccination program continues to expand in British Columbia, daily case numbers remain high. Dr. Henry revealed on Monday that there were 2,960 new COVID-19 cases reported in British Columbia over the last 72 hours.

Of the 2,960 cases, 108 were connected with the Island Health region.

READ MORE: Victoria, Nanaimo hospitals experiencing ‘significant’ number of patients: Island Health

RELATED: B.C. to introduce orders to curb provincial travel; ‘circuit-breaker’ measures extended 5 weeks

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