B.C. residents who are 'severely immunocompromised' offered 3rd dose

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19 on November 23, 2020: (Province of B.C. / Flickr)

About 15,000 B.C. residents, all of whom are severely immunocompromised, will be invited to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The announcement came Monday during a press conference with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, and follows new recommendations from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Henry said it’s important to differentiate this third dose as such, rather than as a “booster.”

“For the vast majority of people, a third dose is what we would call a booster shot, it means it would increase our response, and prolong our response, but for people who are immunocompromised, it's a different story,” she said.

“As a result of their medical conditions, people who are immunocompromised, don't respond as well to any vaccine, and have a reduced ability to fight infection.”

A third dose will therefore give them an equivalent amount of protection as those who only need two doses.

Another 120,000 people, who are in the category of “moderately immunocompromised,” may also be invited for a third vaccine later in September. This group was also identified by NACI as requiring extra protection, and Henry said a decision on whether to offer them a third dose would be made in the coming weeks.

- with files from CTV -