Nova Scotians 65 and up can now book bivalent COVID-19 vaccine appointments
Updated Moderna vaccine targets both the original virus and the Omicron variant BA.1
Starting Thursday, Nova Scotians aged 65 and up can book an appointment to get a dose of the updated bivalent Moderna vaccine.
This vaccine targets both the original virus and the Omicron variant BA.1 that emerged late last year and drove the largest wave of infection and hospitalization in the pandemic. Health Canada approved Moderna's updated vaccine earlier this month.
The province's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang said in a Zoom call on Thursday this "fall dose" could help set up a schedule for getting COVID vaccines
"This latest fall vaccine is probably the first step into having an annual COVID immunization, like we do for influenza, at least for people that are at higher risk, but we didn't know that for sure yet," Strang said.
He added that the new bivalent vaccine may help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the province.
"We need to understand that we're still in the pandemic. Even though we're coming out of the seventh wave, there's still a fair amount of COVID virus activity around," he said, and vaccination remains a key part in mitigating the effects of the disease.
Doses will begin to be administered on Monday, Sept. 19.
Most people who have had a COVID infection or are already vaccinated should wait 168 days after the last shot of their primary series, or when they became infected, to receive their next dose, according to Public Health. Those who are 70 and older or moderately to severely immunocompromised are eligible for a shorter interval of 120 days from their last dose or COVID-19 infection to get a booster shot.
People who are 18 or older living in long-term care facilities or other congregate living settings, such as shelters or correctional facilities, will be offered a dose, the province said in a news release Thursday.
The province said it will gradually open up appointments in the coming weeks to Nova Scotians in different age categories.