Bivalent COVID-19 refresher: what Londoners must know

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Beginning Monday, September 26, Ontario residents ages 18 and older are eligible to receive the bivalent COVID-19 booster dose.

Booster doses should be given with an interval of six months between completion of a primary course and a first booster dose or between booster doses, according to the Middlesex London Health Unit.

“We think it’s important to get this because it’s the most prevalent in the community,” said Mary Lou Albanese, director of environmental health and infectious diseases at Middlesex London’s health unit.

Albanese said as we head into the fall and winter months, the health unit is encouraging people to get vaccinated given the lack of COVID-19 health response in the province.

“In the coming months we will see an increase in the disease in the community. And if it’s been three to six months since your last dose, your immunity has dropped, which means it’s gone and you’re more likely to get respiratory illnesses.

Vishal Mehta, a pharmacist at Yurek Pharmacy in London, told CTV News they’ve seen less demand for people to get their booster doses.

However, people have started to have more questions about this particular vaccine, Mehta said.

“The bivalent vaccine we offer is proving to be more effective against the omicron, which is BA.1 and BA.4,BA. 5 variant and continues to be more effective than the original variants,” Mehta said.

Bivalent COVID-19 refresher appointments for “highest risk populations” are still available as of Friday, including:

  • people over 70 years of age

  • Residents of nursing homes, retirement homes, and those living in other residential communities that provide assisted living and healthcare services

  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis people and their non-Indigenous household members 18 years and older

  • Moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals 12 years and older

  • Pregnant women over the age of 18

  • Healthcare workers aged 18 and over.

The bivalent vaccine is currently available from the Agriplex Mass Vaccination Clinic until Thursday 29th September. The bivalent vaccine is available at all MLHU clinic locations, including the Health Unit’s Mass Vaccination Clinic at the Caradoc Community Center in Mount Brydges and its Community COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics.

Appointments are required to receive a dose of the bivalent vaccine at these locations and can be booked online or by calling 226-289-3560.