Pregnant women in British Columbia are now eligible for a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine just eight weeks after the second vaccination.
The county announced a shortening of the interval Thursday, stressing that pregnant women can receive their third doses a full four months earlier than the general population.
“While people are advised to have a booster dose six months after the second dose to ensure long-lasting protection, it is important that pregnant women receive a booster dose during pregnancy to ensure optimal protection for them and their babies,” the Department of Health said. In a press release.
The county’s booster dose information website notes that pregnant women should be quality adults for a shorter period, but can be at “any stage” of pregnancy.
The county said anyone not receiving an invitation can call the Get Vaccinated Call Center at 1-833-838-2323.
The site reads “Inform yourself that you are pregnant. We will book the next available appointment for you.”
Government messages initially indicated that pregnant women would have to wait six months to receive a booster dose, despite facing higher risks from COVID-19.
On December 31, officials promised to prioritize pregnant women, although some women told CTV News they were still struggling to book an appointment before the six-month mark — despite their due date approaching.
“I was told I would have to wait until six months of my eligibility, and that was the end of that,” said Victoria resident Camille Ottenhoff, who tried to book several times before eventually being vaccinated in an outpatient clinic.
On Tuesday, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the county health official, promised to develop a simpler process to help pregnant women get their boosters early. Henry said that doing this before birth is beneficial because the antibodies can be transferred before the baby is born.
“This protects them for the first few months of their lives,” she added.
Files by Maria Weisgarber of CTV News Vancouver