B.C. health officials are asking everyone to make sure they get vaccinated this fall as another respiratory season is set to begin.
On Tuesday, Health Canada gave the green light to an eagerly anticipated fall COVID-19 booster shot in hopes of bolstering the nation’s defence against the virus as the fall season approaches.The approval is for the updated vaccine made by Moderna for all Canadians aged six months and older.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, B.C.’s Health Minister Adrian Dix said the rollout of the program will be the same as the rollouts of the past few years.
“Those that are most vulnerable and those working in the health-care system, living in long-term care, those who are clinically vulnerable, who have issues with their immune systems will be first as they have been in the past,” Dix said.
“And then we will work through everyone else based on vulnerability.”
The updated mRNA vaccine is tailored to the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant that is circulating in the country. It also has additional sequences that target other Omicron variants.
“We’re going to have a very significant and combined influenza campaign in the fall,” Dix said.
“It’s very important again this year that people get vaccinated against the flu, get their flu shot. We have unprecedented access to both in a distribution system that includes public health and public health clinics, but also includes well over … 1,400 pharmacies, the flu, 1,300 pharmacies for COVID-19.”
Dix said the province will be ready for the rollout the moment the vaccines arrive, which should be around the beginning of October, according to Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, on Tuesday.
“This vaccine is anticipated to provide a robust immune response that will be effective against the Omicron XBB.1.5 variant,” Health Canada senior medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said Tuesday.
Those who are five years of age and older should receive one dose of the vaccine, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination history, she said.
Children between six months and four years of age should receive two doses if they have not been previously vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine. If they have been previously vaccinated with one or more doses, they should receive a single dose, Sharma added.
Dix said the province will be doing everything it can to ensure people know they need to get vaccinated, especially for the older population and anyone who is clinically vulnerable.
— with files from Katie Dangerfield