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We will provide updates from Island Health and the Doctors of BC as needed.  

Please see the  Government of BC's COVID 19 Immunization Plan. 

For the most recent health advice on testing and treatment for COVID-19, please visit Island Health's site.  

COVID-19 vaccine update

Please see the  Government of BC's COVID 19 Immunization Plan. 


Phase 1 (Current phase)

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

Timeline: February to March 2021

  • Seniors aged 80 and over who are not immunized in Phase 1
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) seniors age 65 and over, Elders and additional Indigenous communities not immunized in Phase 1
  • 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 for seniors

Phase 3

Timeline: April to June 2021

  • People aged 79 to 60, in five year increments:
    • 79 to 75 (D1 April, D2 May)
    • 74 to 70 (D1 April/May, D2 May/June)
    • 69 to 65 (D1 May/June, D2 June/July)
    • 64 to 60 (D1 June, D2 July)
  • People aged 69 to 16 who are clinically extremely vulnerable (D1 and D2 April/June)

Phase 4

Timeline: July to September 2021

  • People aged 59 to 18, in five year increments:
    • 59 to 55 (D1 July, D2 August)
    • 54 to 50 (D1 July, D2 August)
    • 49 to 45 (D1 July, D2 August)
    • 44 to 40 (D1 July, D2 August)
    • 39 to 35 (D1 July/August, D2 August/September)
    • 34 to 30 (D1 August, D2 September)
    • 29 to 25 (D1 August/September, D2 September)
    • 24 to 18 (D1 and D2 September)


FAQ for patients

Your questions answered about the COVID-19 vaccine in BC

With the announcement of the arrival of the first supply of the COVID-19 vaccine in BC, many of you will have questions about the vaccine – who gets it and when; is it safe; is it effective and more. We hope that the following information answers some of those questions, as we all wait for further news about how the vaccine will roll out across our province.

Who is getting the vaccine first?

• Vaccinations will first go to protect those most at risk – health care workers protecting those in long-term care and assisted living, and those working in ICUs, ERs and COVID medical wards. Ensuring their safety first protects our most vulnerable patients.

• After that, elderly residents in long-term care homes and assisted living will receive the vaccine as soon as possible.

• Seniors over 80 and other priority groups will receive the vaccine in the coming weeks.

• Please be patient and understanding as priority groups are vaccinated first.

I’m not from a high-risk group. When can I get vaccinated?

• Based on the projections of the Provincial Health officer, it is anticipated that the general population will start to get the vaccine mid-2021, and it may take towards the end of the year for everyone to be vaccinated.

Why will it take so long for everyone to get vaccinated?

• Vaccination delivery is a complex undertaking, and we need to take the time to do it well. In the meantime, we ask that British Columbians remain patient, and continue to take measures to reduce the spread of the virus as they wait their turn for the vaccine.

Who should NOT get the vaccine?

• People under 16 years old, and pregnant and immunocompromised people are not recommended to get the vaccine at this time.

• People who have had a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine or are allergic to any ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should also not receive the vaccine at this time.

• Further guidance for these groups will be available soon.

Is the vaccine safe?

• The vaccines are safe – our regulators set the bar high to ensure the most rigorous standards are met.

• Vaccine trials also included older people with weakened immune systems, and those from different ethnic backgrounds.

• It should be recognized that risks of the virus are significant, and far outweigh the risks of vaccination.

How successful are the vaccines in protecting people from the virus?

• Success of the vaccines is 94 to 95%, which means they can protect most people. This is really good news. At best, we had been hoping for 50 to 60% effectiveness.

How many doses will I need and when will it start to work?

• People will need two doses – 21 days apart.

• Early research shows that the vaccine starts to become effective after about 14 days from the first shot, but it is critical to get both shots to ensure you are completely safe.

• During this time, it will be important to continue to wear a mask when you’re out, to limit your contacts to those living in your household – especially over the holidays – and to wash your hands frequently.

How long will I be protected for?

• As time goes on, we will be learning more about the virus and our immune responses i.e., how long it takes for immunity to be achieved, whether we can still transmit COVID19, and how long we are protected from getting the virus.

Where can I get the vaccine?

• Those details will become available. Planning is underway to determine how best to safely provide the vaccine in our community.