Bivalent shots for eligible Ontarians aged 12+ available October 17 – flu shots for 6 months+ coming November 1

Ontario is receiving its first shipments of the Pfizer bivalent vaccine from the federal government this week – Ontarians aged 12 to 17 will be able to receive their booster on Monday, October 17. Appointments can be booked now through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre (PVCC) at 1-833-943-3900. Eligible individuals can also book an appointment directly through public health units that use their own booking systems, Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, participating health care providers and participating pharmacies.

The Pfizer bivalent vaccine – approved by Health Canada last week protects against the original virus, the first Omicron variant, and both the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of COVID. The vaccine has been approved for people at least 12 years of age and can be given three to six months after a second dose of the primary vaccine series administered, or their most recent booster shot. The Moderna bivalent shot, approved five weeks ago, follows the same criteria for children aged 12-17 and protects against the original virus and the first Omicron variant.

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 call 811.

“We are entering into the fall season where traditionally we see a rise in cases of respiratory illness, including COVID-19,” said 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.”

It is also important to get your annual flu shot. Starting November 1, flu shots will be available through your health care provider, public health unit and in participating pharmacies. The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months old and older. Flu shots may safely be given at the same time, or at any time before or after COVID-19 vaccine. Find out more at­.

“The colder weather is here which means an increase in respiratory illnesses,” said Sylvia Jones, Minister of Health. “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.”

The Ontario government is reminding people to stay up-to-date with their vaccines as we enter respiratory illness season. To help keep everyone as healthy as possible this fall and winter season, Ontarians should stay home when they are feeling sick and continue to practise good hand hygiene.


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