Manitobans 12 and up eligible to receive Omicron-specific COVID-19 booster that targets BA.4 and BA.5 variants

Manitoba will receive the newly approved Pfizer Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine, which targets Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, by the end of this week, the province said in a news release Thursday.

It will be offered to anyone 12 or older.

Health Canada approved the use of the Pfizer bivalent vaccine on Oct. 7.

Previously, Manitobans 18 or older were eligible for the Moderna bivalent vaccine, which targets the original strain of COVID-19 and the first Omicron variant, BA.1. 

Children age 12 to 17 will receive the newly approved Pfizer vaccine, because it is the only one approved for that aged group.

Manitobans can expect the Pfizer booster to be at most vaccine providers by Oct. 24, the province said.

The online vaccine booking system is being updated to accommodate people also wanting a seasonal flu shot.

Manitobans will now make a generic vaccine appointment, and based on their age, will be able to receive any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines, the seasonal flu vaccine or both at the same appointment. 

Public health officials recommend people wait a minimum of six months afer their last dose before getting the bivalent vaccine.

Children age five to 11 and anyone who doesn’t wish to receive a bivalent vaccine can still get a monovalent vaccine dose as a fall booster.

As of Oct. 12, a total of 55,109 doses of bivalent vaccine had been administered in Manitoba, the province said.

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