B.C. reports 697 new COVID-19 cases, prioritizes pregnant people for vaccine

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C. is reporting nearly 700 new cases of COVID-19 in the past day and one death, as it announces pregnant people who are aged 16 and up are now eligible to receive a vaccine dose.

The 697 new cases bring the total to 132,353 since the pandemic began, and continue the general gradual downward trend in the daily case counts. Hospitalizations remain a concern, with 486 people admitted with the virus, including 173 who are in the ICU.

The province is also prioritizing pregnant people in its vaccination program.

“We have reviewed the data here in B.C. and this shows pregnant people experience severe illness from COVID-19 at a rate that is similar to people who are in their 50s. By prioritizing pregnant people today, we add another layer of protection for them, their babies and their communities,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Tuesday.

“We are fortunate to have had the ability to track data across Canada to better understand the real impact of COVID-19 in pregnancy,” said Dr. Deborah Money with BC Women’s Hospital. “My hope is that knowing vaccines are safe and effective at any point in pregnancy will encourage those who are currently pregnant to take the opportunity to get vaccinated.”

People who are pregnant should first ensure they are registered, and then call 1-833-838-2323 and identify as being pregnant. Online booking for pregnant people is not available for this priority option.

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As of Tuesday, more than 1.9 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 92,244 of which are second doses.

Registration is open for non-pregnant people aged 18 and up. The province says it is currently contacting registered people who are aged 52 and up for the age-based vaccination program.

People aged 40 and up can book now with local pharmacies to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Those who have been deemed critically extremely vulnerable are also eligible.

“All Health Canada-approved vaccines are safe and effective, and I encourage everyone to register and receive their vaccine as soon as they are eligible,” Henry said.

How do I get in line for a vaccine?

A province-wide online booking system launched on Tuesday, April 6.

You may also register for booking by calling toll-free: 1-833-838-2323

You can also go in-person at a Service BC office.

After you register, you will be given a confirmation number, which you will need to book your actual appointment.

You will be contacted when you are eligible to book an appointment. That booking can be made online or by phone.

If you have health-related questions, you should call 8-1-1.

If you have any questions about non-health related information and services related to COVID-19, you should call 1-888-COVID19 (line open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

What information do I need when booking my appointment?

When you call, you will be asked for:

  • First and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Postal code
  • Personal Health Number (Note: If you do not have one, you can still receive the vaccine. However, you will not be able to register online)
  • A contact email address or phone number

You will NOT be asked for your SIN, driver’s licence number, or banking/credit card details.

An agent will arrange and confirm an appointment time and clinic location and a confirmation message will be sent by email or text.

What should I know about my appointment?

You are asked to wear a short-sleeved shirt and a mask to your appointment. If you do not have a mask, one will be given to you. You are also asked to arrive a few minutes before your scheduled start time. Everyone is allowed to bring one person for support, if they wish.

After you check in for your appointment at the clinic and receive your vaccine dose, you will be required to wait in an observation area for 15 minutes.

The province says to expect to be at the clinic for a total of 30 minutes.

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