Starting on Monday, Oct. 17, individuals aged 12 and older will be eligible to receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster.
This decision comes after public health’s approval of the vaccine, otherwise known as the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 booster, with administration for ages 18+ having begun on Sept. 26. The vaccine targets both the original COVID-19 strain as well as the Omnicron variant.
The bivalent booster dose should only be administered six months after an individual’s last dose. The dose can be given regardless of how many doses a person has already received, as long as the primary COVID-19 vaccine series has been completed.
Despite the recommended six-month waiting period, individuals are strongly encouraged to receive doses in three-month intervals if they are over the age of 65, at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness, or are immunocompromised.
The Government of Ontario asks individuals to opt into receiving the booster, as vaccine protection has been proven to decrease over time, and only by getting the booster can protection be restored. Additionally, the bivalent booster adds further protection in the wake of new circulating COVID-19 variants.
In addition to the bivalent booster, Ontarians are also asked to stay up-to-date on annual flu shots, which will be available on Nov. 1, either through healthcare providers, public health units, and participating pharmacies. Flu shots may be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine, or any time before or after.
Flu shots, as well as COVID-19 vaccinations, are especially important to consider as the colder weather begins to approach, which increases cases of respiratory illnesses.
“Vaccines improve your immune response and reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and post-infection symptoms,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health in a press release. “We recommend Ontarians stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations at the appropriate interval since their last dose, and get an annual flu shot when it becomes available.”
Additionally, Ontarians are asked to aid in reducing the spread of illness this fall and winter season by staying home when feeling under the weather and practicing good hand hygiene.
To book an appointment to receive the bivalent booster, Ontarians can visit the COVID-19 vaccination portal, or can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre (PVCC) at 1-833-943-3900. Appointments can also be made through public health units with independent booking systems or participating health care providers and pharmacies.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations for children and youth, visit here. To learn more about how Ontario plans to protect individuals from the infectious disease, visit Ontario’s official website.