Saskatoon

2nd COVID-19 booster available for those 18+ in Sask. as of today

Starting today, Saskatchewan residents over the age of 18 can receive their second booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they received their third dose at least four months prior. 

3rd dose must have been received at least 4 months prior

Saskatchewan expands eligibility for the second COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to anyone over the age of 18. (Alexander Quon/CBC News)

Starting today, Saskatchewan residents over the age of 18 can receive their second booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they received their third dose at least four months prior. 

"In August, as our transmission rates are slightly picking up, there was interest in people who are 18 to 49 in getting that second booster," Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said.

"With people going back to work or school after the summer, it will be in our interest to get the second booster dose. The vaccines will start Monday."

Shahab said the province currently has enough supply of vaccines to administer the second booster doses, which will provide additional protection.

He said immunity is shown to wane over time and the provision of booster doses is shown to provide increased protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death.

Previously, the second booster was available to individuals 50 years of age and older or those living in long-term care or group homes with seniors.

Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab spoke to press in Regina on Saturday, saying fewer than 50 per cent of adults received their first booster. (Matthew Howard/Radio-Canada)

Shahab said the vaccine uptake has been around 40 per cent of children of five to 11 years vaccinated with both the doses.

"About 50 per cent have taken one dose. It's still a recommendation to get fully vaccinated for children who are of school age," he said.

"Our vaccine uptake for 12 and older is better. Now, we also have vaccines available for six months to four years. The vaccine uptake for children has been lower but it's important to reduce transmissions when they go back to schools and daycares."

He advises masking continues to be optional in school settings and parents can make the call.

Learning from the surge of cases in Australia, Shahab said masking is helpful in controlling transmission, but it remains a recommendation at this point.

"Besides vaccination, good ventilation and staying home if sick is important."

Don't wait for bivalent: Shahab

Shahab said he's aware of plans in Canada and the U.S. to possibly have a bivalent vaccine that will have the original strain and one of the omicron strains.

But, he said among adults less than 50 per cent have got their first booster. 

"I will encourage them to at least get their first booster and not wait for bivalent," he said.

"For the second booster, if you want to get it now, that's fine.If you'd rather wait till fall and see once the bivalent is available, that's fine too."

He said if anyone above 50 years of age has recently contracted Omicron and wants to wait three months before getting the second booster shot can do so as well.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments are available through the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Indigenous Services Canada, the Northern Inter-tribal Health Authority and at participating pharmacies throughout the province. Walk-in clinics are also available.

To book a COVID-19 immunization, visit Saskatchewan.ca/covid-19 or by telephone at 1-833-SaskVax (727-5829).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pratyush Dayal covers climate change, immigration and race and gender issues among general news for CBC News in Saskatchewan. He has previously written for the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, and the Tyee. He holds a master's degree in journalism from UBC and can be reached at pratyush.dayal@cbc.ca

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