Despite the expiration date for COVID-19 vaccines approaching, the B.C. government has indicated there are no plans to expand eligibility for a fourth dose.
Eligibility for a second booster in B.C. is currently restricted to those older than 70, Indigenous people over 55, and those waiting for placement, or living in, long-term care.
And the B.C. Government is not moving to change its vaccination policy despite more than 214,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine set to expire by July 23.
Fifty-three per cent of B.C. residents have received their third shot, but 1.2 million are still eligible, with the health care officials administering 50,000 vaccine doses a week throughout the province.
B.C. Liberal Health Critic Shirley Bond said the expiration of vaccines is a concern, and should prompt change to the policy.
“I think that the government needs to seriously consider incrementally dropping the age category that allows people to get their second booster shot,” Bond said.
Pharmacies are permitted to dispense the COVID-19 vaccine to all groups except young children, and those with challenging health issues.
Linda Gutenberg, pharmacist manager of Heart Pharmacy said she’s concerned about meeting the demand for vaccinations this fall.
“I would recommend for people who are over 70 to get in as soon as possible and not put it off,” Gutenberg said. “If that age number goes down, there is going to be a huge influx of people trying to get appointments.”
Pharmacist Pourya Eslami at the Fort Royal Pharmacy said it comes down to the capability of the pharmacies.
“I think the flu season will be very hectic in terms of vaccinations,” Eslami said. “Not only because the COVID criteria will change, and will include more people in it. But also because of the flu season and flu vaccinations.”
Other provinces opened up fourth shots to any adult six months after a third dose.