Heads up for locals who have already received their first Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the Trail area – notifications are coming to book a second dose eight weeks after your initial immunization.
It’s important to note, especially for seniors who booked in the very early days for a first injection, you may not be in the registry.
Interior Health advises those who are uncertain if they’re registered to be notified for a second dose, to call or go online and register for a second shot. If it turns out you are already registered, better to be safe than sorry.
“I just discovered we, and tens of thousands of others, will not be receiving notice/permission to book a second vaccine shot,” Trail Times columnist Dave Thompson explains.
“Anyone who booked their first dose before April 6 – that is most people over 75 – did so through a health authority and is not registered with the provincial program which they were told would notify them on line or by phone when they were eligible to get an appointment for a second dose,” he said.
“That is three full months worth of the oldest, most vulnerable, British Columbians – many of whom required assistance to book their first vaccines – are not registered to be notified that they are eligible for an appointment for their second dose of … available vaccines.”
To register for COVID-19 vaccine notifications call 1.833.838.2323 seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or visit the provincial website: https://gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.
For rural communities from Nakusp to Rock Creek, including Salmo, to see the second dose clinic dates, visit the website “Taking a Whole Community Approach” at: https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/taking-a-community-approach/.
About the vaccines
Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been administered at the Trail clinic, located in the former Zellers store at Waneta Plaza.
According to the latest information provided by the Province of BC, both the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are effectively interchangeable and are safe to mix.
That said, for the most part, those who got the Pfizer vaccine as a first dose, will get Pfizer again for their second dose.
Those who got the Moderna vaccine as a first dose, can get either Moderna or Pfizer for their second dose.
If you can’t remember what vaccine you got as your first dose or the date of your first dose appointment, check your immunization record card given post first-injection. Another option is to register online to the “Health Gateway” at healthgateway.gov.bc.ca for your immunization record.
How Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work
mRNA vaccines teach cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response without using the live virus that causes COVID-19. Once triggered, the body then makes antibodies. These antibodies help fight the infection if the real virus does enter the body in the future.
‘RNA’ stands for ribonucleic acid, which is a molecule that provides cells with instructions for making proteins. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines contain the genetic instructions for making the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.
When a person is given the vaccine, their cells will read the genetic instructions like a recipe and produce the spike protein. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them.
The cell then displays the protein piece on its surface. Human immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begins building an immune response and making antibodies.
Immunity develops over time. It takes about two weeks to develop significant protection against COVID-19. For the greatest protection, the government says a second dose is required.
Clinical studies showed that, beginning one week after the second dose, the Pfizer vaccine was 95 per cent effective in protecting trial participants aged 16 and older against COVID-19, and 100 per cent effective in participants 12 to 15 years old.
Based on studies in about 30,000 participants, the government of Canada reports the Moderna vaccine was 94.1 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 beginning two weeks after the second dose.
Vaccine rollout in the Interior is a coordinated effort between Interior Health and the First Nations Health Authority. To date, immunizers across the region have delivered almost 486,000 first doses and 32,000+ second doses.