Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health is encouraging residents who are eligible to get the new COVID-19 booster to help reduce their risk.
The government is offering the new Moderna bivalent booster, which became available Tuesday, Sept. 19, to those over the age of 70, and residents over the age of 50 in First Nations and Métis communities.
“If you’re vaccinated, the likelihood of getting COVID is infinitely lower, and even if you do get it, it’s more likely to be a milder illness than if you were unvaccinated,” says Dr. Saqib Shahab, chief medical health officer.
This new booster became available after more than 11 outbreaks in long-term care homes in just the month of September.
However, Shahab says they saw fewer and fewer people get the previous booster.
“The uptake for the booster was slightly lower, especially in the younger people,” Shahab says.
Shahab says when the new shot is available for everyone, the choice is all dependent on your situation.
- 13 screen-free gift ideas to keep kids happy and entertained over the holidays
- ‘Heartbreaking’: A Canadian family’s fight to improve Alzheimer’s research for women
- Grab your tissues: Canada’s flu season has officially begun, officials say
- Health minister slams nicotine pouches, tobacco company alleges defamation
“Most of us have had a vaccine, many of us have actually had COVID over the last year or two. So really, I think it depends on your own personal assessment of your risk factors. Or do you live with someone at high risk? Or do you want to avoid getting COVID or influenza while you’re travelling? So I think it’s very much now a personal decision,” Shahab says.
When Global News asked if boosters will become annual, like influenza shots, Shahab said it’s “hard to say.”
“We definitely recommend the COVID vaccine along with the influenza vaccine that will be recommended every year. I think we’ll have to follow the science and the epidemiology so we’ll need to monitor COVID just like we monitor influenza and other respiratory viruses and advise accordingly,” Shahab says.
Neither the Saskatchewan Health Authority nor the Mental Health Ministry could confirm when the boosters will be available to the general public.