‘Endlessly Ahead’: MLHU launches bivalent COVID-19 booster dose for ages 18 and over – London

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CORRECTION: A previous version of this story had listed the wrong amount of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the Middlesex-London Health Unit since the pandemic began. History updated to reflect correct amount of 1,231,783 cans.

As of Monday, adults aged 18 and over in London, Ontario are now eligible to receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster dose.

Local health officials say this booster is more specific to the Omicron strains circulating in the province.

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Ontario residents 18 years and older are eligible for a bivalent COVID-19 booster dose

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  • Ontario residents 18 years and older are eligible for a bivalent COVID-19 booster dose

“As of late last year, the original vaccine has been tremendously effective at keeping people out of the hospital,” said Dr. Alex Summers, Health Officer at Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU). “But with the new variants, the older vaccine just wasn’t as effective at preventing symptomatic disease and infection.”

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Summers said the hope of the bivalent booster is that it “provides additional protection,” which he says is an important factor as the region heads into the colder months.

The bivalent booster was first introduced on September 12 for people aged 70 and older, as well as residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, aged care homes and other community facilities.

Summers, along with other health experts, said those interested in a new additional dose should wait at least three months before receiving the vaccine, as the province recommends people wait six months before receiving that dose.

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“The most important thing for everyone to remember is that COVID is here to stay. It’s not over yet, which means we must forever apply some of the lessons we’ve learned during the pandemic,” Summers said.

He added that London is currently heading into the autumn and winter at “a new baseline of COVID activity”.

“As we go into the fall, we will see COVID rates going up,” he said. “The reason is that people will spend more time indoors in close contact with others.”

According to province-wide statistics, the number of people vaccinated appears to be declining with each available booster, as about 86 percent of people in Ontario have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while about 51 percent have received a third dose.

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Summers said this raises concerns as Ontario is expected to enter a “rough” influenza season.

“We haven’t seen a lot of influenza in the last couple of falls because of all these public health measures that have been keeping COVID at bay,” he said.

“The good news is that whatever tools you use to protect yourself from COVID are still the tools you can use to protect yourself from the flu.”

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News of the increase in booster availability comes as Canada’s COVID-19 border restrictions are due to end on September 30, along with mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app, according to the federal government.

On September 17, MLHU said it had administered 1,231,783 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine since the pandemic began.

You can find more information about the bivalent COVID-19 booster or to book a vaccination appointment on the MLHU website.


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