COVID-19 Immunization Plan
The COVID-19 vaccine is saving lives. Vaccines do more than protect the people getting vaccinated, they also protect everyone around them. The more people in a community who are immunized and protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread.
BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan happens in four phases. The phased approach is based on expert advice and guidance from the NACI, BC’s Immunization Committee and the public health leadership committee. Eligibility for all phases is based on the age you are turning in 2021.
Visit www.gov.bc.ca/covidvaccine to learn more about how the vaccine is being rolled out across the province.
Moving between phases
The timeline for BC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is dependent on vaccine supply and availability. It’s important to understand the timeline for each phase may change due to vaccine availability. All people in BC recommended to receive the vaccine will have the opportunity to get it in 2021.
How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?
Vaccines work by teaching your body’s immune system to remember and recognize a virus. Your body can then defend you if you are exposed in the future.
Visit the BCCDC or ImmunizeBC for more details on how the vaccines work!
Many types of vaccines use a weakened or inactivated virus or part of a virus to trigger an immune response inside our body, but the two vaccines being used in Canada at this time are called mRNA vaccines. Instead of using the live virus that causes COVID-19, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response. Once triggered, our body then makes antibodies. These antibodies help us fight the infection if the real virus does enter our body in the future.
Learn more about mRNA vaccines here.
It’s up to you whether you want a COVID-19 vaccination. Feeling worried or hesitant is completely normal when something is new, however we can be reassured that Health Canada has a thorough approval process that ensures the safety of the many vaccines and medicines we take routinely. This rigorous process will be used before any vaccines are approved for use in Canada.
Several vaccines being developed use the same technology as vaccines that have already been used successfully for other diseases. Approval is happening quickly because Health Canada shortened the administrative and organisational process. The safety approvals have not changed. The requirements for safety data in the clinical trials are as stringent as the regular processes.
You can view more in depth processes of the vaccine approval process on the BCCDC Vaccine approval process page, or ImmunizeBC’s FAQ page.
Nearly everyone will be able to safely receive the vaccine, although a very small number of people may need to avoid vaccination due to severe allergies to parts of the vaccine. While the vaccine manufacturers identify a number of precautions because these populations were not included in the original vaccine trials, in the context of the ongoing risk of COVID-19, most individuals can be offered vaccination.
If you’ve had a reaction to a specific vaccine, try looking at the ingredient list and see if any of the same ingredients are in the COVID-19 vaccine. Most importantly, make sure that your healthcare provider knows about all of your allergies before you get any vaccine.
Provincial restrictions are still in place
Some restrictions are made by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) under the Public Health Act and others are made under the Emergency Program Act (EPA). Most orders can be enforced by police and compliance and enforcement officials.
We encourage everyone to review and share these resources to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Information and resources on COVID-19, vaccines, and more, continue to be updated and available at:
Mental health resources:
We know for many that this continues to be a unique and trying time. These resources can provide tips for managing COVID-19 stress, anxiety, and depression.
⦁ Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety, & Depression: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/managing-covid-stress
⦁ COVID-19 and Anxiety: www.heretohelp.bc.ca/infosheet/covid-19-and-anxiety
If you need help:
Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre
- Provides confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide.
Call 604-872-3311 (Greater Vancouver)
- Toll-free 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
The KUU-US Crisis Response Service
- Provides 24/7 culturally-aware crisis support to Indigenous Peoples in B.C.
- Call 1-800-588-8717
Find more trusted COVID-19 information on the Northern Health website at www.northernhealth.ca/health-topics/coronavirus-information-covid-19