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Fourth doses of COVID vaccine are coming to B.C. — but 40% of adults don't even have a third shot

New Westminster's third-dose vaccination rate of 64% is better than B.C.'s 59%.
COVID vaccine young woman
B.C. is expected to announce a plan for fourth doses of COVID vaccine this week (April 5). But 40% of British Columbian adults don't yet have a third dose.

With second booster shots now coming in B.C.'s fight against COVID-19, a third of New Westminster residents have yet to receive their first one.

Health Minister Adrian Dix is expected to announce a plan tomorrow (April 5) for rolling out fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccine to some British Columbians, beginning with those at highest risk (such as vulnerable seniors in long-term care.)

At the same time, the push to get third doses – also known as booster doses – into the arms of eligible adults has largely stalled across B.C.

As of April 1, just 59% of people aged 18+ across B.C. had received their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In New Westminster, that number stands at 64% (as of March 29), an increase of just one percentage point in three weeks. (Those numbers are from the latest B.C. Centre for Disease Control surveillance dashboard update.)

Takeup for the first two doses – the initial vaccine series, and the doses required to be considered "fully vaccinated" under the B.C. vaccine passport program (set to end April 8) – was much higher across the board.

Provincewide, 94% of adults (18+) have their first dose and 91% have their second dose. Takeup was even higher in New Westminster, where 96% of those aged 18+ have one dose and 94% have two doses.

Third-dose vaccination rates are highest among New Westminster's older age groups: 74% for 50+, and 81% for 70+. For younger adults (18 to 49), the third-dose rate drops to 56%; for 12-to-17-year-olds, it's just 46%.

Also lagging are vaccination rates for children aged five to 11, who are eligible for two doses of vaccine so far. In New Westminster, just 67% of children have their first dose of pediatric vaccine, while only 49% have their second dose. 

Those numbers remain higher than the B.C. rates, however; provincewide, just 56% of five-to-11-year-olds have one dose of vaccine, and just 38% have two.

(See below for a full breakdown of New Westminster vaccination rates, by age group.)

How to get your COVID-19 shot in New Westminster

For New Westminster residents, the closest clinics currently offering immunization appointments are the Burnaby testing and immunization centre at BCIT, the Coquitlam clinic at the Coquitlam Central station park-and-ride, and the Surrey North clinic next to Central City mall. You can check out a full list of clinic locations and hours at the Fraser Health website.

First, second and third doses can also be obtained at participating community pharmacies; you can find options near you when scheduling an appointment in the B.C. booking system. To find out all the details about how to register for vaccination, visit the B.C. government's Get Vaccinated website.

What are vaccination rates like in New Westminster?

Here's how vaccination rates look across the board (numbers as of March 22 in brackets):

First dose:

5-11: 67% (67%) 

5+: 94% (94%) 

12-17:  95% (95%)

18+:  96% (96%)

18-49:  99% (98%)

50+:  93% (93%)

70+:  94% (94%)


Second dose:

5-11: 49% (45%)

5+:  92% (91%)

12-17:   92% (91%)

18+:   94% (94%)

18-49:  97% (97%)

50+:  92% (92%)

70+:  92% (92%)


Third dose:

12-17: 46% (45%) 

5+: 60% (59%) 

18+: 64% (64%)

18-49: 56% (56%) 

50+: 74% (74%) 

70+: 81% (81%) 

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, [email protected].