The new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is now being offered to eligible people as part of British Columbia’s fall booster program.
As explained earlier this month by provincial health official Dr. Bonnie Henry, 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 years of age and older, and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old who are at higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19.
The Department of Health notes that, as with previous doses of COVID-19 vaccine, invitations will be sent based on people’s risk and age, as long as it’s 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 frail and people, such as eligible health professionals, who work with at-risk and vulnerable individuals.
Vancouver Coastal Health said on Tuesday that 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 have no underlying health problems are offered an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna. Booster doses are not currently recommended for children between the ages of six months and five years.
At its peak, BC’s fall booster program is expected to reach 280,000 people per week, with pharmacies and public health clinics distributing most of the vaccines.
Henry advised that anyone already eligible for a COVID-19 booster should get it as soon as it is offered and not wait for the flu vaccine to be available.
To receive an invitation to a booster or flu shot, you must be registered with Get Vaccinated BC, available online or through the provincial call center at 1-833-838-2323.