Ontario residents aged 12 years and older can now book their Omicron booster shot

Ontario residents aged 12 years of age and older can soon get a bivalent COVID-19 booster as shipments of Pfizer’s newly approved vaccination series are set to arrive in the province this week.

On Friday, Health Canada approved the Pfizer bivalent vaccine targetting the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the Omicron variant. Previously, only Moderna’s bivalent booster – available to those 18 years of age and older – was approved and available in Ontario.

Health Canada said the bivalent booster has already been given to nearly five million people in the United States and there have been no new safety concerns.

The Ministry of Health recommends most Ontarians under 65 years old should receive a booster dose six months after receiving their last vaccination. For high-risk individuals, the recommended interval is shortened to three months for intervals between vaccination series

“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 a government release issued Thursday.

“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.”

Appointments to receive a dose of Pfizer’s bivalent vaccine can be booked via the provincial vaccination booking portal, public health units, the provincial vaccine contact centre at 1-833-943-3900, or participating pharmacies. The earliest appointment dates can be scheduled for Oct. 17.

The province also announced today that Ontarians can receive their flu shots from local health providers beginning Nov. 1.

The approval of Pfizer’s bivalent boosters comes just after Health Canada approved the manufacturer’s new pediatric vaccine, for children aged six months to five years, offering an alternative to the Moderna shot in use since July. 

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