B.C. vaccine timeline: Seniors aged 72 and up can now book appointments

Health Minister Adrian Dix tells CTV News British Columbians aged 72 and older can now book their vaccine appointments.

The update to the province's vaccine schedule came into effect at noon Thursday.

The adjustment comes the same week vaccine appointments opened to people aged 73 and up.

Dix made that announcement in a joint news release with Dr. Bonnie Henry Wednesday afternoon, saying that people aged 65 and older will be eligible "in a matter of a couple of weeks."

Also this week, vaccine appointments opened up to Indigenous adults of all ages, and to people who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

And on Wednesday, pharmacies began to allow bookings specifically for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Shots should be available at more than 100 pharmacies in the Lower Mainland, but hiccups during the initial rollout of this new program included long waits in lineups or on the phone, only to find out everything had been booked up.

The pharmacy program is currently only available to B.C. residents between ages 55 and 65.

Also currently eligible for vaccines are front-line workers of all ages, who have jobs ranging from police and paramedics to grocery store and warehouse employees. Teachers, postal workers, child-care staff, bylaw and quarantine officers, manufacturing workers, correctional facilities staff, staff who live in congregate housing and cross-border transport workers can also get their first dose, as are those in sectors or settings prioritized due to outbreaks.

B.C. is currently in Phase 3 of its immunization plan. This stage is estimated to last through the month, with Phase 4 expected to start sometime in May.

By the end of the current phase, British Columbians aged 60 and up should all have had an opportunity to be vaccinated.

The final phase includes adults from 18 to 55, working backwards in five-year increments, meaning the youngest age group will be the last.

The plan is dependent on supply, as well as other issues, but the plan for now is for all adults to be offered at least their first dose before Canada Day