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

Traffic will be diverted through Radium along highways 93 and 95 as a part of the closures. (Claire Palmer photo)
Extended closures to Trans-Canada Highway announced east of Golden this fall

It’s the second round of extended closures as a part of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Most Read