Vaccination campaign update: Second doses

Posted: January 14

This message is sent on behalf of Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Health Officer

Island Health is now three weeks into our COVID-19 mass immunization campaign. Response has been extremely positive so far, and we appreciate the participation of those who have received their first immunization shot and the patience of everyone who will be booked for an appointment in the weeks ahead.

As you know, two COVID-19 vaccines are currently approved for use in Canada. When our vaccine rollout began on Dec. 22 our planning was based on the assumption that the second dose would need to be administered approximately 21 days after the first. Since then new evidence has influenced the Provincial Health Officer’s decision to change that window to 35 to 42 days. That means that we will schedule second doses in the week of the 35th day after you receive the first.

It is understandable that changing recommendations can create feelings of anxiety or concern. Please be assured that this decision is based on sound science and is support by both World Health Organization and National Advisory Committee on Immunization in Canada.  Read more about the NACI’s recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines (Jan. 12) on the Health Canada website.  Dr. Bonnie Henry also addressed this topic in her update to the province on Monday. You can read a transcript of her remarks here.

Island Health is carefully tracking first appointments and the call centre is beginning to contact staff about scheduling their second doses. You will be contacted when it is time to be scheduled for your second dose.

This pandemic has worn us all down. We’re tired and this vaccination campaign is a source of optimism for everyone, but it will take time to complete. The B.C. government’s vaccine distribution plan carefully outlines the order in which vaccinations will be offered, and ensures that everyone will have the opportunity to be vaccinated.

In the meantime please be patient and kind with each other, and continue to use the practices that are the most important tools in our arsenal against this disease: Excellent hand hygiene, masks, physical distancing and other public health orders that will help us keep the transmission rate down while we work through this immunization campaign.


Dr. Richard Stanwick