Hamiltonians age 5 and over can now get bivalent COVID-19 booster


Published December 16, 2022 at 10:39 am

Oakville Burlington Milton Halton Hills COVID vaccine mRNA influenza
The updated COVID-19 fall vaccine is now available to residents in Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills. INHALTON PHOTO

Beginning next Wednesday, everyone in Hamilton age five and over who is eligible can receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster dose in order to stay up to date on vaccination during the respiratory illness season.

The bivalent booster, which is now approved for children aged 5 to 11, targets the original COVID-19 virus while providing stronger protection against variants. Updating vaccinations helps Hamiltonians to protect themselves and those around them from severe outcomes of COVID-19 and influenza (flu). It also slows community spread, which will reduce the significant strain on McMaster Children’s Hospital and and Hamilton’s healthcare capacity.

Health Canada approved the first bivalent-adapted booster for use in younger children last week. Medical science also says it is safe to receive a vaccine at the same time as a flu shot.

Hamilton Public Health Services and its Hamilton Healthcare Partners are recommending all community members five years of age and older stay up to date with vaccination and book an appointment for a bivalent COVID-19 booster at hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine, as soon as they are eligible. Appointments can be booked on Hamilton’s booking tool 14 days in advance, with new appointment dates being added daily and clinic listings updated regularly.

“With immunity from a previous infection and vaccine protection decreasing over time, we encourage all Hamiltonians to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination and get their annual flu shot as we continue to experience a significant respiratory illness season locally,” states Dr. Bart Harvey, the associate medical officer of health for the City of Hamilton. “As we spend more time together indoors during the cold weather months, parents and caregivers can book an appointment for their children to receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster to strengthen their ability to fight off COVID-19 infection and reduce the risk against severe COVID-19 outcomes like hospitalization, ICU admission and death.”

The eligibility criterion to receive a bivalent booster as follows.

  • You have completed their primary vaccine series (received a first and second dose);
  • The recommended six months (recommended three months for those high-risk) has passed since your most recent dose; and
  • You have not been infected with COVID-19 over the past three months.

Residents are also strongly encouraged to check with the 100-plus local pharmacies that are offering bivalent COVID-19 booster doses.

Walk-ins are being offered for community members six months of age and over to receive a flu shot and/or a single dose of (monovalent) COVID-19 vaccine at Hamilton Public Health Services clinics. Information on locations for getting a flu shot can be found at hamilton.ca/flu.

Some 79 per cent of Hamilton residents have completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccine by receiving a second dose. Just more than 50 per cent have received at least one booster dose. Twenty-one per cent have received a booster dose within the previous six months.

Individuals in Hamilton without a cellphone number or e-mail address can book an appointment by telephoning the Public Health Services COVID-19 Vaccine Hotlin (905-974-9848, option 7). Translation services are available by phone.

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