Ontarians aged 12 and up now eligible for COVID-19 bivalent booster shot

TORONTO – Ontarians aged 12 and up will be eligible for a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster dose starting on Oct. 17.

The province made the announcement on Oct. 13, following Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer bivalent vaccine on Oct. 7.

Health Canada previously approved the Moderna bivalent vaccine as a booster for Canadians aged 18 and older on Sept. 1.

The bivalent vaccines are formulated to attack the original COVID strain as well as the Omicron sub-variants that are now dominant in Ontario.

The province also announced on Oct. 13 that annual flu shots will be available starting Nov. 1 from health care providers, public health units and participating pharmacies.

“The colder weather is here which means an increase in respiratory illnesses,” stated health minister Sylvia Jones.

“Getting vaccinated remains the best defence against the flu and COVID-19 to help keep Ontarians healthy and out of hospitals.

“This will also ensure the province can continue its efforts to keep Ontario and its businesses open.”

Provincial officials say flu shots may safely be given at the same time, or at any time before or after a COVID-19 vaccine.

To book a bivalent COVID-19 booster shot:

  • visit the COVID-19 vaccination portal;
  • call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre (at 1-833-943-3900;
  • book an appointment directly through public health units with their own booking systems; or
  • visit Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, participating health care providers and participating pharmacies.

“We are entering into the fall season where traditionally we see a rise in cases of respiratory illness, including COVID-19,” stated Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“Vaccines improve your immune response and reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and post-infection symptoms.

“We recommend Ontarians stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations at the appropriate interval since their last dose, and get an annual flu shot when it becomes available.”

In addition to getting vaccinated, those over 60 years of age can also access antiviral treatments such as Paxlovid if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

Learn more about COVID-19 treatments and review your eligibility by using Ontario’s antiviral screener tool, speaking with your health care provider or calling 811.

Officials are reminding Ontarians to stay home when they are feeling sick and to continue practicing good hand hygiene.