Toronto Public Health ready to administer bivalent COVID-19 booster doses

Syed Azam

On September 12 , the Ontario Ministry of Health issued recommendations for the use of the Moderna Spikevax® Bivalent (50mcg) COVID-19 vaccine (bivalent) and Toronto Public Health (TPH) is prepared for the next phase of its vaccination campaign. More information is available on the Province’s newsroom webpage Opens in new window.

Beginning today, at 8 a.m., COVID-19 bivalent booster dose appointments at TPH vaccination clinics are available for:

  • 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

Also starting today, individuals aged 18 and older can book appointments Opens in new window for Monday, September 26 at 8 a.m. and onward. All previously booked booster appointments for September 12 to 25 will be honoured and, if available, the bivalent vaccine will be offered.

On September 1, 2022, Health Canada authorized use of the Moderna Spikevax® Bivalent (50mcg) COVID-19 vaccine (bivalent) as a booster dose in adults aged 18 and older. This is the first bivalent Omicron-containing mRNA COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in Canada. Clinical trial results showed that a booster dose of the Moderna Spikevax® bivalent vaccine triggers a strong immune response against both Omicron and the original SARS-CoV-2 virus strain. These findings included that the bivalent booster generated a good immune response against the Omicron BA.1, BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. More information is available on the City’s COVID-19: About the Vaccines webpage.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that individuals who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should be offered a fall COVID-19 vaccine booster dose. NACI also states that the bivalent vaccine may also be offered to adolescents 12 to 17 years of age with moderately to severely immunocompromising conditions.

Due to widespread circulation of the Omicron variant, many Torontonians aged 12 years and older may have been previously infected with COVID-19. NACI continues to recommend that COVID-19 booster doses may be offered at an interval of six months after a previous COVID-19 vaccine dose or SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of the product offered. However, a shorter interval of at least three months may be warranted in the context of heightened epidemiologic risk, as well as operational considerations for the efficient deployment of the vaccine program. More information is available in the NACI recommendation report PDF and on the City’s COVID-19: Vaccine Eligibility& Doses webpage.

Residents can get vaccinated at City-run immunization clinics, primary care offices and over 525 pharmacies (pharmacies anticipated to start Monday, September 19). A full list of clinic locations and hours is available on the City’s COVID-19: Where to Get Vaccinated webpage. Residents looking to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a participating pharmacy can use the provincial website to find the nearest location Opens in new window.

All eligible residents are encouraged to get their next dose of vaccine as soon as possible. As with vaccinations for other diseases, people are protected best when their COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date. COVID-19 vaccinations have been scientifically proven to lower the risk of illness, hospitalization and death, while protecting people, their loved ones and the community.

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses.

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