The province has pushed back the COVID vaccine dose interval down from a maximum of 16 weeks to 8 weeks and has announced all BC residents will be offered a second dose of a vaccine by the end of August.

“We now have sufficient, confirmed deliveries of the vaccine in our age-based program, that’s the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, that we can move up the interval, we’ve started to do that as more vaccines became available in the last few weeks,” explained Dr.Bonnie Henry.

The second dose program is based on the same principles of the dose one program, those with the greatest risk will be prioritized for dose two.

About 400,000 priority residents such as the elderly, First Nations residents, and those deemed to be extremely vulnerable will soon get an invitation to book a second dose of a vaccine.

“We know that the booster dose builds on the antibodies and the cell response that you get from your first dose, and provides more durable and longer-lasting protection,” she added.

With the increasing volume of vaccines coming to BC, the province has managed to speed up the process for the age-based immunization plan.

Additionally, Henry announced there has been more research that proves the available MRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are interchangeable.

This means those that have gotten a Moderna shot can get a Pfizer for a second dose and vice versa.

Residents that received a Moderna first dose will be offered Pfizer for their second dose if Moderna isn’t available.

Meanwhile, the province hit a significant vaccination milestone, as now over 3 million doses of vaccines have been administered in BC, and 65.8% of residents aged 18+ have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

This equates to about 62% of all eligible residents that are 12+.

This comes as the province announced that now up to 50 people will be able to gather for indoor faith-based gatherings, but the limit for indoor weddings remains at 10.

Additionally, overnight camps will be allowed in BC this summer with specific details and safety plans.

This information comes as the province saw 378 new cases of COVID-19, while 14 of which were identified in Northern Health as the region now has 110 active.

Currently, there are four people in ICU in the North.

BC’s active case count has reached 3,543 while 286 people are in hospital and 88 of whom are in ICU.

Seven more people have died in BC, one person in their 60’s, three people that were in their 70’s and three others that were over 80.

BREAKDOWN BY HEALTH AUTHORITY:

Northern Health: +14 (7,625)

Interior Health: +68 (11,601)

Fraser Health: +189 (82,478)

Vancouver Coastal Health: +98  (33,696)

Island Health: +9 (4,856)