For the second time in B.C.’s long battle against COVID-19, the regional health authorities are seeking short-term help from recently retired doctors, nurses and others with vaccination experience.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued the plea this week as community clinics started administering first doses to the 350,000 B.C. children aged five to 11 who are now eligible. Clinics have also started booking appointments for booster doses for adults who have registered and received two vaccinations, as medical data show immunity starts to decline after six months.
Maintaining broad immunity is more urgent as the newly identified Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in B.C., Henry says. Booster doses of Pfizer vaccine are being shipped to pharmacies around B.C. for distribution in addition to community clinics.
“I also want to put a call out to the many recently retired doctors, nurses and other health care providers, and other immunizers who stepped up when this vaccination campaign started about a year ago,” Henry said Nov. 30. “We need you back now. We can use you in our clinics across the province. We’ve been stretched, as you know, in our health care system and we could really use the support of immunizers. I encourage you, if you have some time, to connect again with the health authorities and to come back and be part of our wonderful vaccine program again.”
The booster shot program was originally expected to run until next spring, but some public health experts are calling for it to be stepped up as quickly as possible, with a resurgence of infections in some countries and low vaccination rates in some countries where variants have emerged.
People should verify that they are registered to receive an appointment for a booster shot. Registration and booking appointments in B.C. can be done online here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.