BC Immunization Plan

Last updated: May 25, 2021

BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan is designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19. The information on this page is updated frequently and is subject to change based on vaccine availability and the latest COVID-19 data.

Scroll down to find information on the following:

Visit the BC Government website for full details.

Vaccines in Canada

The best source of COVID-19 vaccine information is the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

Approved Vaccines

To date, there are four COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for use by Health Canada:

  1. Pfizer Vaccine – Learn about the Pfizer vaccine here.
  2. Moderna Vaccine – Learn about the Moderna vaccine here.
  3. AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) Vaccine – Learn about the AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) vaccine here.
  4. Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Vaccine – Learn about the Janssen vaccine, owned by Johnson & Johnson, here.

Several other COVID-19 vaccines are also currently being developed.

 The vaccines currently available in British Columbia at this time have been tested in adults and approved for use in adults. The vaccines are not yet recommended for most children, although clinical trials in people under the age of 18 are now underway.

Learn more about the vaccines for COVID-19 here.

Vaccine Supply

The supply of vaccines is distributed by the Government of Canada.

BC receives an allocated number of doses of vaccine on a weekly basis, and the allocated amount is expected to increase throughout 2021.

Vaccine Side-Effects

It is not unusual to experience some side effects after you get the vaccine.

Side effects are typically mild to moderate and usually go away on their own. These side effects can include:

  • Pain, redness, itchiness, or swelling in the arm, where the vaccine was given
  • Swollen lymph nodes under the armpit.
  • Tiredness or headache
  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle or joint soreness
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Immunization in BC

The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed equitably and ethically to people in BC.

Vaccine Cost

The COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone living in BC who is eligible to receive it.

Vaccine Choice

People eligible to get their vaccine in Phase 2 will get either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and do not get a choice between the two.

As the recently approved AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines don’t require freezer temperature storage and handling, they can be used in the community and will likely be used in essential workplaces where people cannot work from home and in settings where there have been outbreaks of COVID-19. If you are offered a vaccine through these clinics, you can either get it there or choose to wait and get your vaccine with your age group.

BC recommends you take the vaccine that you are offered so you are protected as soon as possible. The sooner people have been immunized in our community, the harder it becomes for the virus to spread. That protects us all.

The Second Vaccine Dose

The COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses and it is important to get both doses for long-term protection.

In BC, while vaccine supplies are limited, the time between the first and second vaccine dose will be extended. By doing so, more people can receive their first dose, which will save lives and prevent hospitalizations.

Learn more about the second dose here.

Progress to Date

The BCCDC COVID-19 dashboard is updated regularly with BC’s progress on vaccine dosage.

Immunization Phases

BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan is split into four phases:

The focus of Phase 1 and Phase 2 is on high-risk population immunization and protecting those most vulnerable to severe illness first.

Vaccines in Phase 3 and Phase 4 will primarily be distributed in five-year age increments. Monthly breakdowns for dose one (D1) are estimates and may change based on vaccine availability. Second doses will be administered approximately 16 weeks after dose one.

Eligibility for each of the phases is based on the age that you are turning in 2021.

Timeline: December 2020 to February 2021
Individuals eligible to be immunized during Phase 1 include:
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Individuals assessed for and awaiting long-term care
  • Residents and staff of assisted living residences
  • Essential visitors to long-term care facilities and assisted living residences
  • Hospital health care workers who may provide care for COVID-19 patients in settings like Intensive Care Units, emergency departments, paramedics, medical units and surgical units
  • Remote and isolated Indigenous communities
Timeline: February to April 2021
Individuals eligible to be immunized during Phase 2 include:
  • Seniors born in 1941 or earlier not immunized in Phase 1
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) peoples born in 1956 or earlier, Elders and additional Indigenous communities not immunized in Phase 1
Vaccinations will be given at designated public health immunization clinic locations and vaccine appointments are required.

Vaccine call centres for seniors are now open and when you can call is based on your age:
  • Individuals born in 1948 or earlier (73+), and live in Fraser Health or Vancouver Coastal Health, can call anytime.
  • Individuals born in 1947 or earlier (74+) can call anytime.
  • Indigenous peoples born in 1966 or earlier (55+) can call anytime.
Individuals can book a vaccine appointment for themselves when they are eligible to call. Eligible individuals can also have a family member or friend call for them.

You can book a vaccine appointment with Fraser Health by calling 1.855.755.2455, or by booking online here, and a list of Fraser Health clinic locations can be found here.

Learn more about booking a vaccine appointment here.
Priority groups eligible to be immunized during Phase 2 include:
  • Hospital staff, community general practitioners, and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1
  • Vulnerable populations living and working in select congregated settings
  • Staff in community home support and nursing services
Priority groups are not required to call-in.
Timeline: April to May 2021
Individuals eligible to be immunized during Phase 3 include:
  • People aged 79 to 60, in five-year increments:
    • 79 to 75 (D1 April)
    • 74 to 70 (D1 April)
    • 69 to 65 (D1 April)
    • 64 to 60 (D1 April/May)
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) peoples aged 64 to 18 (D1 April)
  • People aged 74 to 16 who are clinically extremely vulnerable (D1 March/April)
Register to get vaccinated.
Timeline: May to June 2021
Individuals eligible to be immunized during Phase 4 include:
  • People aged 59 to 18, in five-year increments:
    • 59 to 55 (D1 May)
    • 54 to 50 (D1 May)
    • 49 to 45 (D1 May)
    • 44 to 40 (D1 May/June)
    • 39 to 35 (D1 May/June)
    • 34 to 30 (D1 June)
    • 29 to 25 (D1 June)
    • 24 to 18 (D1 June)

Moving Between Phases

As the timeline for BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan is dependent on vaccine supply and availability, the timeline for each phase may change.

However, everyone in BC, that is recommended to receive the vaccine, will have the opportunity to be vaccinated in 2021.

You will not miss your chance to get the vaccine when a new phase starts. Once you become eligible, you are always eligible.

For example:

  • If you are in Phase 2, you can get the vaccine in Phase 3 or Phase 4
  • If you are in Phase 3, you can get the vaccine in Phase 4

Reminder: Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders and guidelines remain in place for everyone, regardless if they have received the vaccine.

Register to Get Immunized

Immunization clinics are being organized in 172 communities in BC and will be overseen by your local health authority. Mobile clinics will be available for some rural communities, and for people who are homebound due to mobility issues.

How to Get Immunized

The process to get immunized will happen in three steps:

British Columbians will register through Get Vaccinated, a simple online registration and booking system, or by phone.

When you register, you will receive a confirmation number. This number will later be used to book your vaccination appointment. Do not lose the number.

This number makes it easier when you book your vaccination appointment.
You will be contacted to book a vaccine appointment when you are eligible based on your age and B.C.'s Immunization Plan phases.

You will book your appointment online or by phone. You will select a location, date, and time.

Arrive at the immunization clinic for your appointment a few minutes before your scheduled time.

At the immunization clinic you will:
  • Complete a check-in process
  • Get your vaccine dose
  • Wait in an observation area for about 15 minutes
People who get their first vaccine dose will be notified by email, text, or phone call when they are eligible to book an appointment for their second dose.

Getting the Second Dose

People who get their first vaccine dose will be notified by email, text, or phone call when they are eligible to book an appointment for their second dose.

When You Can Register

Individuals born in 2009 or earlier (12+) can register now.

Youth aged 12 to 17 can get vaccinated. They can go by themselves, make plans with friends to get appointments at the same time or ask a parent or trusted adult for help. Review youth vaccine information.

How to Register

There are three ways to register:

  1. Register online with a Personal Health Number
    • To register online, you must provide:
      1. First and last name
      2. Date of birth
      3. Postal code
      4. Personal Health Number
      5. An email address that gets checked regularly or a phone number that can receive text messages
  2. Register by calling 1-833-838-2323
    • The call centre is open seven days a week from 7AM-7PM
    • Translators are avaliable
  3. Register at a Service BC Office

You can register for yourself or for someone else, like a parent or grandparent.

Everyone 18 and older in BC is eligible to get vaccinated, even if you don’t have a Personal Health Number or other documentation.

Everyone in BC must register with the Get Vaccinated provincial registration system once.

Proof of Immunization

Immunization clinics are being organized in 172 communities in BC and will be overseen by your local health authority.

Immunization clinics details will be available before Phase 3 of BC’s Immunization Plan, and mobile clinics will be available for some rural communities, and for people who are homebound due to mobility issues.

Community Immunity

The more people in a community who are immunized against COVID-19, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
Community (herd) immunity could be reached when a large majority of people in BC are immunized against COVID-19. When you choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19, you are helping save lives by protecting your household and your entire community from the virus.

Lifting Restrictions

Lifting current restrictions will be based on many factors, including:

  • Number of people immunized and level of community immunity
  • Number of COVID-19 cases in the province
  • Health care system capacity

Going back to normal life will take time, and even if you have received the vaccine, you must still follow provincial health orders.