New COVID-19 booster now being offered
The new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is now being offered to eligible people as part of the British Columbia’s fall booster program.
As outlined by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry earlier this month, the new combination vaccine — containing a mixture of spike protein elements from both the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Omicron variant, BA.1 — will be offered to adults 18 and older, and youth from 12 to 17 who are at higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health notes that, as with the previous doses of COVID-19 vaccine, invitations will be sent out based on people’s risk and age, as long as it has been six months since their previous dose.
Priority groups will continue to include people over the age of 60, Indigenous peoples of all ages, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and people, such as eligible health-care workers, who work with high-risk and vulnerable individuals.
Vancouver Coastal Health says those who have recently contracted COVID-19 are recommended to get their booster dose three to six months after infection.
Those between the ages of five and 17 who do not have underlying health conditions are being offered an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna. Booster doses are not currently recommended for children between the ages six months and five years.
At its peak, B.C.’s fall booster program is expected to reach 280,000 people per week, with pharmacies and public health clinics distributing the majority of vaccines.
Henry advised that anyone already eligible for a COVID-19 booster get it as soon as it is offered and not wait until the flu vaccine is available.