Bivalent COVID-19 booster: What do Londoners need to know?

Starting Monday, September 26, Ontarians age 18 and older will be eligible to receive the bivalent COVID-19 booster dose.

Booster doses should be given with an interval of six months between the end of a primary series and a first booster dose or between booster doses, according to Middlesex London Health Unit.

“This is the one that we feel is important to get because it’s the one that has been circulating the most in the community,” said Mary Lou Albanese, Middlesex London Health Unit’s director of environmental health and infectious diseases.

Albanese said as we head into the fall and winter months, the health unit is encouraging people to get vaccinated as there are few COVID-19 health measures in place in the province.

“In the coming months, we will see an increase in the disease in the community. And if it’s been three to six months since your last dose, your immunity is weakened, which means it has decreased and you are more likely to pick up respiratory diseases .”

Vishal Mehta, a pharmacist at Yurek pharmacy in London told CTV News that they have seen less demand for people wanting to get their booster doses.

But people are starting to have more questions about this particular vaccine, Mehta said.

“The bivalent vaccine that we offer proves to be more effective against omicron, which is BA.1 and BA.4,BA. 5 variant and also continues to be more effective against the original variants,” said Mehta.

As of Friday, bivalent COVID-19 booster dose agreements are still available for “highest-risk populations,” including:

  • Persons aged 70 and over
  • Residents of long-term care homes, nursing homes, and individuals living in other community settings that offer nursing homes and health care services
  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over
  • Moderate to severely immunocompromised individuals aged 12 years and over
  • Pregnant people aged 18 and over
  • Healthcare personnel aged 18 and over.

The bivalent vaccine is currently available at the Agriplex Mass Vaccination Clinic until Thursday, September 29. The bivalent vaccine is available at all MLHU clinics, including the Health Units Mass Vaccination Clinic at the Caradoc Community Center in Mount Brydges and its Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics.

Appointments are required to receive a dose of bivalent vaccine at these locations and can be booked online or by calling 226-289-3560.

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