COVID-19 booster shots to begin for residents of B.C. long-term care homes

Residents of long-term care and assisted living homes in B.C. will start getting their third COVID-19 vaccines on Monday.

Last week, health officials announced that residents would be offered the booster shots both because of the risks associated with living in group settings and due to the fact that older people are shown not to develop as strong of an antibody response to their first two doses.

Mike Klassen, vice president of the BC Care Providers Association, says the vaccines are badly needed.

“We've been asking for these booster shots for several weeks, we started to see a spike in cases to start happening again in our care homes,” he told CTV News Vancouver.

“So, this really can't come soon enough.”

The BC Care Providers Association represents private care homes from across the province.

“We're starting to see the prevalence of more outbreaks, operators who've been able to get through the entire pandemic without a single case of COVID in their care home are now starting to get them,” Klassen said.

“That's an indication that the Delta variant has a way of getting through, we need the booster shots.”

But Klassen also wants the province to implement another restriction on care homes by requiring that visitors be fully vaccinated. As it stands, you have to be fully vaccinated to get into a restaurant, but not to a care home, where people who are vulnerable live full-time, which Klassen says is “incredible.”

“I think that public health has to really double down and focus on this because we can't be going back to where we were last winter,” he said.