B.C. to open vaccine booking to everyone 18 and older by Sunday

The province also reported its second case of rare clotting disorder VITT, following yesterday's announcement it would hold remaining AstraZeneca doses in reserve for second doses only

B.C. will lower the booking age for vaccines to 18 and older by Sunday, May 16, according to the latest update by the province.

Three groups will become eligible in the coming days, including those 25 and older as of Friday, 20 and older by Saturday and 18 and older by Sunday.

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The province also said more information will be provided next week on vaccinating 12- to 17-year-olds.

B.C. has also reported its second case of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT, a rare and serious clotting disorder linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The province's second case is a man in his 40s in the Fraser Health region.

Yesterday, B.C. announced that it would pause administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a first dose.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said anyone who received the vaccine and has, within 28 days, concerning symptoms such as persistent severe headache, shortness of breath, chest or abdominal pain or swelling or redness in a limb should seek treatment right away. A basic test can determine if further investigation is warranted.

The province has administered 2,335,513 doses of vaccine to date, including 119,691 second doses.

On Thursday, Dr. Henry presented data showing how effective vaccination has been to date.

Data shows that in the 79,480 cases between Dec. 27, 2020, when B.C. first began vaccinating, and May 1, there were 78,020 cases among the unvaccinated (or in those vaccinated within 21 days, before it is effective), 1,340 cases among those vaccinated with one dose for at least 21 days, and 120 cases among those with at least seven days since their second dose.

"We're seeing really strong progress through our immunization program across the province. It's making a difference at a health care facility level, at a community level, and a population level. But we need to keep it up," she said.

Henry urged people to register and get vaccinated in order to reach "the bottom of our curve."

On Thursday, B.C. reported 587 new cases of COVID-19 and five further deaths.

But the number of active cases continues to fall, down to 5,691 active. Hospitalizations are also slowly declining, down to 413 in hospital with 141 of those patients in ICUs.

Of the new cases, 126 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 365 were in Fraser Health, 21 in Island Health, 60 in Interior Health and 15 in Northern Health.

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