Pregnant people aged 16 and older are now eligible to book a vaccine, B.C. health officials announced Tuesday, as the province recorded 697 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said data in B.C. shows pregnant people experience severe illness from a COVID-19 at a rate similar to people in their 50s.
“By prioritizing pregnant people today, we add another layer of protection for them, their babies and their communities,” Henry said in a written statement.
Henry said online appointments aren’t available for people who are pregnant, but they can call the province’s booking line to secure a slot.
Medical professionals have pushed for B.C. to follow provinces such as Ontario and New Brunswick, which have prioritized pregnant people for the vaccine.
Pregnant people with COVID-19 are more likely to develop respiratory complications and end up in ICU than their non-pregnant peers, says the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.
B.C. had said it would add priority groups like pregnant people once the province received more vaccines.
Henry said Monday the province was entering “warp speed” with its vaccinations, with more than a million doses expected to arrive in May.
Active cases down
Health officials said there are currently 7,161 active cases in B.C, an 11 per cent decrease from last Tuesday. A total of 486 people are in hospital, with 173 in intensive care.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are down by three per cent from last Tuesday, when 500 people were in hospital with the disease.
The number of patients in intensive care is up by about five per cent from 164 a week ago.
Public health is actively monitoring 10,961 people people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure.
So far, 1,910,162 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 92,244 of those being second doses. More than 42 per cent of eligible British Columbians have received a first dose.
Henry said Monday that B.C.’s third-wave curve is decreasing, more than a month after the province implemented a “circuit breaker”-style lockdown in indoor gatherings.
“There are some encouraging signs that our efforts are working,” Henry said.
Those efforts also include restricting travel between health regions and trying to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.
Henry has said vaccine bookings will accelerate this week as shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines ramp up, with one million doses expected in May.
She said as increased shipments continue, the province should be able to shrink the four-month window between the first and second doses.
“We’re entering into a new era, a new warp speed,” said Henry.
Everyone 18 and older can register for their vaccination. There are three ways to register:
- Online through the “Get Vaccinated” portal.
- By phone through the provincial phone line at 1-833-838-2323.
- In person at any Service B.C. location.
Registering for a vaccine is not the same as booking the appointment to get your shot. Once registered, users receive a confirmation code. They then wait for an email, text or call telling them they are eligible and can then book their vaccine appointment using that code.