B.C. offering 'fall booster' of COVID-19 vaccine to everyone 12+ beginning in September

In July, a poll found the most Canadians wouldn't mind if it was mandatory

The province is planning to offer a "fall booster" of COVID-19 vaccine to more British Columbians but over 40 per cent of those eligible haven’t accepted an initial booster shot.

Health officials hope a fourth dose for everyone 12 and up starting in September can prevent a spike in hospitalizations this winter.

So far, second boosters have only been offered to British Columbians age 70 and older, Indigenous residents age 55 and older, people living in long-term care homes, and those considered extremely clinically vulnerable to severe infection. Eligibility is being expanded to those 65 and older soon, with invitations starting to go out on Monday.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says vaccines have saved thousands of lives. The province is encouraging the more than 1.3 million people eligible to receive the third shot to take one. 

 “I can't be clearer. Get the booster. If you've been invited as you have been now in most cases for months and months and months get the booster."

Second boosters will be offered to individuals six months after their first, following the same interval used between second primary doses and first boosters.

B.C. health officials have repeatedly credited vaccinations for allowing the province to lift and loosen many COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year, returning some semblance of normalcy in day-to-day life.

But they have also urged the public not to become complacent, particularly as transmission and COVID-19 hospitalizations begin to surge once more. Modellers have declared another Omicron wave, fuelled by the BA.5 variant, is already underway, and expected to peak next month.

With files from CTV News Vancouver