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Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines importance of COVID-19 immunization records

"We all need to have an immunization record."
woman-getting-flu-shot
In Thursday's coronavirus (COVID-19) daily briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that each individual will need a record of what they've been immunized for and what product they've received. Photo: Close up of a young woman getting shot / Getty images

Health officials say British Columbians will have a record of immunization for COVID-19, both electronic and hardcopy. 

In Thursday's coronavirus (COVID-19) daily briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that each individual will need a record of what they've been immunized for, what product they've received, and how many doses they've had.

"And there are as many as seven different products that will be in use here in Canada," she explained. 

All but one vaccine among the seven Canada has procured require two doses per patient. Pfizer, the first approved vaccine in Canada, requires two. 

"We all need to have an immunization record," said Henry. "We should have a record of all of our immunizations."

B.C.'s top doctor added that health officials also need a record of "who gets what and it's down to the lot number. So that if there's a safety signal or some reason that we need to know who had which vaccine, we're able to follow up with people rapidly." 

While there is already an immunization record in the province, she added that health officials are working on a way for people to access their immunizations for COVID-19 electronically as well as to have a hardcopy of the immunizations. 

Health Canada approves Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

Health Canada approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech Wednesday, paving the way for vaccinations to begin countrywide as early as next Tuesday.

The department also released its long-awaited detailed vaccination plan, which suggests the wider Canadian population will be able to line up for vaccines starting in April, and that everyone wanting the shot could be vaccinated before the end of 2021.

"This is a momentous occasion," said Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada who oversaw the review process.

Sharma said approving the first vaccine is only one step and there are still many months to go in the pandemic, but in a year where the news has mostly been bad, everyone should take a moment to acknowledge the good news.

A general note on Immunization Record Cards (not for COVID-19)

If your child was born in B.C., you should have received a Child Health Passport that contains an immunization record. If you did not receive one, you can request one from your local health unit. If you have lost the Child Health Passport or your child does not have an immunization record card, you can download and print one below. You can also download and print the Child Health Passport. 

Find out more information here.

--With files from the Canadian Press.