B.C. shortens booster wait for pregnant people to 8 weeks

Vancouver –

Pregnant people in British Columbia are now eligible for a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine just eight weeks after their second shot.

The province announced the shortened interval Thursday, confirming that pregnant people can receive their third dose a full four months ahead of the general population.

“While it is recommended people get their booster six months after their second dose to ensure longer-lasting protection, it is important for pregnant people to receive their booster during pregnancy to ensure optimal protection for them and their baby,” the Ministry of Health said in a news release.

The province’s booster dose information website indicates pregnant people must be adults to quality for the shorter interval, but that they can be at “any stage” of pregnancy.

Anyone who does not receive an invitation can contact the Get Vaccinated call centre at 1-833-838-2323, the province said.

“Self-identify as pregnant. We’ll book you the next available appointment,” the site reads.

The government’s messaging initially indicated pregnant people would have to wait six months to receive a booster, despite facing a higher risk from COVID-19.

On Dec. 31, officials promised to prioritize people who are pregnant, though some women told CTV News they still struggled to book an appointment ahead of the six-month mark – even though their due date was approaching.

“I was told that I was going to have to wait until my six month eligibility, and that was the end of that,” said Victoria resident Camille Ottenhof, who tried booking several times before eventually getting vaccinated at a walk-in clinic.

On Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry promised a more streamlined process was being developed to help pregnant people get their boosters early. Doing so before giving birth is beneficial because the antibodies can be transferred before the child is born, Henry said.

“That protects them in the first few months of life,” she added.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Maria Weisgarber

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