Bivalent COVID-19 booster available starting today for Ontarians age 12 and up

Starting today, Ontarians age 12 and up can get the bivalent COVID-19 shot.

Those interested in receiving this vaccine, which targets the current Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, must have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine series.

Most Ontarians under the age of 65 are advised to receive their booster dose at the recommended six-month interval, however people can choose to book their next appointment three months after their last shot.

Appointments can be booked online through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. Eligible individuals can also book an appointment directly through their public health unit, at Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, and at participating health-care providers and pharmacies.

On Oct. 7, Health Canada approved this second bivalent booster, which is an updated version of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine, for those 12 years of age and older. Ontario received its first shipments of the Pfizer bivalent booster, which the province said is “particularly important for high-risk individuals,” from the federal government just last week.

The province is also urging people to stay up-to-date with their vaccines as we enter respiratory illness season by getting their flu shot, which will be available starting on Nov. 1 through health-care providers, public health units, and at participating pharmacies. The flu shot can be safely administered at the same time or at any time before or after COVID-19 vaccine to those five years old and up.

“We are entering into the fall season where traditionally we see a rise in cases of respiratory illness, including COVID-19,” Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said in an Oct. 13 release.

“Vaccines improve your immune response and reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and post-infection symptoms. 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.”

A health care provider places a bandage on the injection site of a young patient, who just received a vaccine.

The provincial government is advising anyone who feels sick to stay home. They’re also reminding people continue to practise good hand hygiene.

Anyone with questions about eligibility should speak with their health-care provider or call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. Residents can also visit the VaxFacts Clinic to speak with a Scarborough Health Network doctor or the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to book a confidential phone appointment with a registered nurse.

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