Expectant British Columbians are only prioritized for a vaccine if they also have a serious heart condition – congenital or acquired – that requires them to see a cardiac specialist during their pregnancy. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

Expectant British Columbians are only prioritized for a vaccine if they also have a serious heart condition – congenital or acquired – that requires them to see a cardiac specialist during their pregnancy. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

Pregnant Ontarians move up vaccine priority list, while British Columbians wait their turn

B.C. only prioritizing pregnant people who also have serious heart condition

As pregnant people in Ontario moved up in the province’s priority vaccination list Friday, their counterparts in B.C. still have to wait their turn in the age-based roll-out.

All pregnant Ontarians were moved into the “highest risk” category, which is being vaccinated right now, on April 23. But on the West Coast, expectant British Columbians are only prioritized if they also have a serious heart condition – congenital or acquired – that requires them to see a cardiac specialist during their pregnancy. These individuals are eligible for a vaccine under B.C.’s clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) category.

This means pregnant parents without a heart condition, have to wait their turn in the jab roll-out.

B.C.’s Ministry of Health encourages pregnant people to get protected with the vaccine once they’re eligible, a spokesperson told Black Press Media Friday.

READ: B.C.’s ‘extremely medically vulnerable’ can begin booking COVID-19 shots March 29

“Our immunization program is targeted to immunize those who are at the highest risk of COVID-19,” said the ministry’s Marielle Tounsi, in a statement. She added that the province’s vaccination focus is on the age-based program, offering AstraZeneca to people 40 and over in pharmacies, CEV groups and outbreak management.

The ministry said vaccine deployment decisions are based on the best available science and evidence, and that they’ll “start to add additional priority groups” as they get more vaccines.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says pregnant people are three times more likely than the general population to end up in the intensive care unit if they’re infected with COVID-19.

Sarka Lisonkova, a perinatal epidemiologist, said those pregnant ICU patients with COVID-19 can require a high level of care, including machine breathing support, and are at higher risk of dying if that happens.

“Although the actual risk of severe illness and death among pregnant women is very low, it is higher when compared to non-pregnant women from the same age group,” she told Black Press Media.

READ: U.S. recommends pregnant women get COVID vaccine after study shows it’s safe

Pregnant people who are hesitant to get vaccinated could be putting themselves at risk. Lisonkova, a University of B.C. associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said contracting COVID-19 while pregnant can increase the risk of premature births, especially for those with severe illness.

The BCCDC says getting a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant causes no known increased risk of miscarriages or birth defects. Lisonkova agreed, saying although the clinical trials for Canada’s approved vaccines didn’t focus on pregnant women, there’s no evidence of harm to them or their babies.

“Adverse events among pregnant women are also monitored in Canada and there has been no reason for concern so far,” Lisonkova said.

READ: Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants


Do you have a story tip? Email: jake.romphf@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

British ColumbiaWest Shore

Just Posted

Ken Rutherford, left, and Rick Lord of Port Alberni receive honours from the National Model Railroad Association—Pacific Northwest Region for 40 years of dedication to the preservation and presentation of railroad history. (PHOTO COURTESY PHYLLIS RUTHERFORD)
Model railroaders from Port Alberni honoured for rail preservation

Ken Rutherford and Rick Lord put on annual model railroad meet in Nanaimo for 35 years

Former Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ associate coach Brandon Shaw has been named head coach of the Coquitlam Express, also of the B.C. Hockey League. The announcement was made May 12, 2021. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
BCHL’s Coquitlam Express hire new head coach

Brandon Shaw leaves Alberni Valley Bulldogs for bench boss job

The Alberni Golf Club is located on Cherry Creek Road. FILE PHOTO
ALBERNI GOLF: Men’s club tees up for Mother’s Day

Next Sunday, May 16 will be the Stableford competition

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
School district to choose new name for AW Neill Elementary in Port Alberni

School will not be renamed after Winston Joseph, says board

Carol Brown from the Alberni District Fall Fair committee, works on the online feed for the 2020 virtual Fall Fair on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. (SONJA DRINKWATER/ Special to the AV News)
Alberni District Fall Fair wins national award for innovation

Long-running traditional Vancouver Island fair went virtual due to COVID-19

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Could Victoria skull fragment bring closure to an Island missing persons mystery?

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Most Read