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New “Fall Booster” Beginning to Roll Out

September 12, 2022

The Ministry of Health announced today the availability of a new bivalent Fall Booster. The vaccine is an adapted version of the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine and will be made available to the most vulnerable population as of Monday, September 12. Anyone 18 and over will be eligible to get the new vaccine on or after September 26, 2022.

Those eligible now are:

  • individuals aged 70 and over;
  • residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, Elder Care Lodges and individuals living in other congregate settings that provide assisted-living and health services;
  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over;
  • moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals aged 12 and over;
  • pregnant individuals aged 18 and over; and
  • health care workers aged 18 and over.

“It is important to protect the most vulnerable population first,” says Dr. Linna Li, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. “It is also important to prevent hospitalizations and severe illness in the coming months as the respiratory illness season approaches.”

The Moderna Spikevax vaccine triggers a strong immune response against Omicron (BA.1-5) and the original SARS-CoV-2 virus strain. Adverse events following the new Moderna Spikevax Bivalent as a second booster dose were similar or lower compared to that of second dose (100 mcg) or third dose booster of Moderna Spikevax (50 mcg). There were no vaccine-related cases of myocarditis.

Eligible individuals can receive the bivalent booster at the recommended interval of six months from their previous dose; however they can receive the vaccine as early as 3 months since last dose, regardless of how many boosters they have already received. If you are currently booked to get a regular mRNA booster before September 26 you may want to consider cancelling and re-booking for the bivalent vaccine if you are not eligible to get it yet. All mRNA vaccines are available at our clinics for first and second doses – we also have a supply of Novavax. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide additional spaces for school catch up vaccines at community clinics at this time.

To book an appointment locally, you can connect with our online booking system or call our Vaccine Booking Line at 1-844-369-1234 which is open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:00pm. Booking is not available on the Provincial Booking System. We have posted a schedule of clinics on our website.

“Limited walk-ins may be available at most clinics if supply and capacity allows,” says Jenny Vandermeer, Acting Manager of Clinical Services. “You may be asked to come back at a later time based on clinic capacity.”

Many area pharmacies will also have vaccine. You can also check with your primary health care provider to see if they are planning to provide the vaccine.

For further information about vaccine, we will be providing a weekly vaccine status report on Tuesday afternoons that will be posted on our website and distributed through the media. You can hear a weekly interview with the Acting MOH and our Vaccine Manager each week on our social media. There will be updates on our website and postings on our social media as changes occur during the next few months. The province is preparing to provide free flu shots to Ontarians this fall so they can protect themselves and reduce the number of hospitalizations due to influenza. Stay tuned for more information about this as well.

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