A pharmacist prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine at a pharmacy prototype clinic in Halifax on March 9, 2021. The CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A pharmacist prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine at a pharmacy prototype clinic in Halifax on March 9, 2021. The CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

B.C. vaccine rollout: Seniors aged 85+ can register for COVID immunization Thursday

Call centre backlog fixed, 90+ seniors can still book appointments

British Columbians aged 85 to 89 will be able to start booking COVID vaccine appointments starting Thursday at noon, as officials move up the timeline on the immunization plan.

Originally, registration for 85- to 89-year-olds was expected to open Monday, March 15. Health Minister Adrian Dix made the announcement late Wednesday afternoon, saying the booking system has greatly improved since an overwhelming rush of calls on Monday to book people aged 90 and older, as well as Indigenous people aged 65 and up.

• Fraser Health residents 85 and up can book by phone at 1-855-755-2455 or online at www.Fraserhealth.ca/vaccinebooking.

• Vancouver Coastal Health residents can book by phone at 1-877-587-5767

• Island Health residents can book by phone at 1-833-348-4787

• Interior Health residents can book by phone at 1-877-740-7747

• Northern Health residents can book by phone at 1-844-255-7555

Actual vaccinations for seniors living in their communities are set to start Monday, March 15 at clinics being set up across the province. Residents of long-term care, assisted living and independent living facilities have already been offered vaccine.

“Most people 90 and over now have booked their appointments, but there will be some who still have to book them because they may have been discouraged on Monday,” Dix said March 10. “I encourage them to go ahead and get those appointments booked.”

READ MORE: Here’s how B.C. seniors can book vaccine appointments

READ MORE: B.C. minister blasts Telus performance on vaccine appointments

B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a social media post that it’s “good news” that vaccine appointments for seniors are now ahead of schedule.

On Monday, call centres across the province were flooded when registration opened for people 90 years old and over, as well as Indigenous people over 65 years old. Officials say those centres have since been able to process vaccination appointment bookings quickly.

The update on vaccine registration comes as the third federally approved vaccine by AstraZeneca began arriving in B.C.

As of Wednesday, 355,340 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the province, a number expected to rise quickly as community vaccination clinics for elderly people open in many communities on March 15.

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