Adults in Ontario can begin booking a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster dose on Monday, the province says.
Spots opened for everyone as of 8 a.m. ET, though appointments for especially vulnerable people will be prioritized until September 26 before widening to all residents 18 and older.
Those vulnerable populations include:
- Ontarians aged 70 and older.
- 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 older.
- Moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals aged 12 and older.
- Pregnant individuals aged 18 and older.
- Health-care workers aged 18 and older.
The availability of bivalent vaccine doses will be based on shipment schedules and supply from the federal government, the Ministry of Health said in a news release.
“All previously-booked booster appointments for September 12 to 25 will be honoured and, if available, the bivalent vaccine will be offered,” the release added.
It is recommended that individuals wait at least six months from the date of their last booster dose.
Appointments can be secured through the provincial COVID-19 vaccine portal or directly through public health unit that use their own booking system, as well via participating primary health-care providers and pharmacies.
The first shipment of bivalent vaccine arrived in Ontario last week.
Health Canada approved Moderna’s updated vaccine earlier this month. It targets both the original virus and the Omicron variant BA.1 that emerged late last year and drove the largest wave of infection and hospitalization in the pandemic.
The most recent wave of the illness to hit Ontario — which started on June 19 and appears to have already crested — is being fuelled by other Omicron variants, BA. 4 and BA. 5, the province’s chief medical officer has said.
While the new shot doesn’t directly target dominant Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which the U.S. approved an updated shot for last week week, Pfizer recently submitted an application for Health Canada approval for its BA. 4-5 vaccine and Moderna is expected to soon.