BC launches autumn vaccination campaign with specific reinforcements from Omicron | Globalnews.ca

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Some British Columbians have started receiving text messages to book a booster shot, as the province’s fall COVID-19 vaccination drive kicks off.

The campaign is launched with a focus on vulnerable groups, including healthcare workers, the clinically extremely vulnerable, indigenous peoples and the elderly.

And for the first time, a bivalent version of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine will be available for adults.

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When can you get an Omicron booster? This is how the provinces are implementing them

“It is a vaccine that was specifically designed to be more effective against Omicron variants. It’s half and half: half the old vaccine, half the Omicron-specific vaccine,” explained Dr. Brian Conway, medical director of the Vancouver Center for Infectious Diseases.

“If you have problems with the mRNA vaccine, (the traditionally formulated) Novavax and Johnson and Johnson are also available if you report that this is your choice. There is no reason not to get vaccinated.”

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Youth ages 12 to 17 will be offered the original formulations of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, while children ages 5 to 11 will be offered the milder pediatric version of those vaccines.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that people receive the bivalent booster at least six months after their last dose or COVID-19 infection. However, people at higher risk may need an earlier dose.

Adults will be eligible to reserve their bivalent booster once they receive a direct text message, but children and youth can reserve at any time. The province said it has already sent out 600,000 text notifications and has 400,000 doses of the new vaccines available.

Read more:

Omicron-Adapted COVID-19 Vaccines: Could Updated Shots Prevent a Fall Wave?

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Pfizer’s version of a bivalent vaccine is expected to receive approval from Health Canada later this fall, and the BC Ministry of Health says shipments could start as early as next week if the vaccine is green-lit.

Starting in October, the COVID vaccines will be given alongside the flu shots.

With COVID now endemic in Canada, according to BC’s health minister, Conway said the fall booster shots, scheduled before respiratory season, are likely to become an annual event.

“In the long term, it will most likely be annual COVID vaccines. This is the first of them,” she said.

“Just like your flu shot changes every year, taking into account the strains of influenza we expect to see in the coming winter.”

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