COVID-19 in B.C.: New combination bivalent vaccine available at VCH clinics, some pharmacies
Eligible individuals will be notified in the coming weeks to book an appointment
The Georgia Straight received the following bulletin from Vancouver Coastal Health today (September 20). It is reprinted below in its entirety.
Starting the week of Sept. 19, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) COVID-19 vaccine clinics will begin offering eligible individuals the new combination bivalent (two-strain) COVID-19 vaccine as part of the province’s fall booster program. This vaccine offers a strong immune response to circulating Omicron variants, the most common circulating COVID-19 strains in B.C. It also boosts protection to the original COVID-19 strain.
This new vaccine will be offered to adults 18 year’s of age and older, and youth from 12-17 year’s of age who are at higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19. The vaccine is safe and is expected to reduce your risk of serious illness due to COVID-19 infection.
Currently, a fall booster dose is recommended for everyone five years and older in B.C. to prolong their immune response coming into respiratory season during colder months. Youth under 17 without underlying health conditions will be offered an approved mRNA vaccine, such as Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) or Spikevox (Moderna). Booster doses are not currently recommended for children six months to 5 year’s of age.
You are advised to get a booster dose even if you've already been infected with COVID-19, as the combination of infection and vaccination provides the strongest protection (i.e. “hybrid immunity”). If you've recently had a COVID-19 infection, you are recommended to wait three to six months before receiving your booster dose, as the booster shot is not effective in those recently infected.
Individuals who are registered in the province’s Get Vaccinated system will be notified once they are eligible to book an appointment in the weeks ahead. Once you receive a notification, VCH welcomes community members to schedule an appointment at any VCH vaccine clinic across our region. Many community pharmacies across B.C. are also immunizing eligible individuals. Those booking an appointment can select a date, time and location that is most convenient to them.
VCH advises anyone with questions about COVID-19 immunizations or the fall booster dose to speak to their family doctor, nurse practitioner, or to call 8-1-1 for free healthcare guidance.
VCH is committed to delivering exceptional care for all 1.2 million people within the ancestral, traditional and unceded homelands of 14 First Nations. With more than 26,000 staff and medical staff, VCH is British Columbia’s hub of health care innovation, research and academic excellence, providing specialized care to patients throughout the province. Learn more at vch.ca.