As the COVID-19 booster programs restart this fall, health officials have an important message: At this point, not all boosters are created equal.
At the moment, Moderna’s bivalent vaccine is the only approved injection that offers some protection against the Omicron variant, but few people seem to know that.
In updated guidelines issued Sept. 1, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said that “For adults 18 years and older who are recommended to receive a fall booster dose, NACI recommends that the authorized dose of a bivalent Omicron-containing mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be offered.”
Still, whether it’s habit or name preference, it seems that many people have booked Pfizer shots.
“I can see that a lot of people have booked a Pfizer appointment. And we’ve approached a number of people initially, and it’s clear that a lot of these people think they’re booking a Pfizer bivalent when in fact they booked it.” ancestral vaccine from Pfizer,” said Allison Bodnar, CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS).
“We want to let everyone know that if you’re trying to get a bivalent vaccine this week or next week, you should book a Moderna appointment.”
Bodnar says the Pfizer bivalent is not currently approved in Canada.
Pharmacists say the situation is confusing and will lead to disappointment if people show up for an appointment.
“We’ve booked a clinic on Friday later this week, and it’s for the original Pfizer vaccine,” said Diane Harpell, a pharmacist and president of PANS.
“That clinic is full, and when everyone booked for that, they brought out the news to say, ‘You should look at Moderna, the bivalent.’ So I’m sure we’re going to have people who expect to get the updated vaccine and they don’t,” said Harpell, who also serves on the board of directors for the Canadian Pharmacists Association.
“Actually there will be a bivalent vaccine from Pfizer in the near future, we have to wait for the whole approval process to be completed, and we are not there yet. But you will see that regularly that the vaccines will be updated depending on which variants are available.” be,” Harpell says.
“It (Pfizer) was a great vaccine last week. It’s still a great vaccine, but there are updated recommendations between then and now.”