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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Younger Princeton residents are now being urged to register for a vaccination notification. (Black Press Media photo)
Princeton lags behind in vaccination rates

Approximately 24 per cent of residents here have received their first dose

Memorials have been set up to honour those who died during the Second World War. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: It’s time to stop making comparisons to Hitler

The deadliest, most destructive war in human history should not become a metaphor

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

An example of one the sounding boards the RDOS has set up to gather feedback for their first parks, trails and recreation master plan. (RDOS)
Looking for feedback from Princeton and Keremeos for park and rec plan

Sounding boards have been set up in both regions for in-person input

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Coronavirus 3D illustration. (CDC photo)
Two South Okanagan businesses closed due to COVID-19

The businesses are listed on the Interior Health website

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Kelowna seen from the top of Knox Mountain. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
Accessibility concerns raised as Kelowna ponders banning vehicles from Knox Mountain

Knox Mountain Drive, which leads to two lookouts, has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began

(Pixabay photo)
Cow-based wildfire mitigation pilot contended by Southeast Kelowna group

‘Targeted grazing’ program would see 50 cows deployed to 60-hectare parcel above Field Road

Most Read