Ontarians 12 and older are eligible for a dual COVID-19 booster starting Monday

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Ontarians aged 12 and older who have received their first round of COVID-19 vaccines can receive bivalent boosters starting Monday, with the first shipments of a newly approved vaccine expected from the federal government this week.

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Flu shots will be rolled out across the province starting Nov. 1, the Ontario government added in Thursday’s announcement.

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“We are entering the fall season where traditionally we see an increase in cases of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19,” Chief Medical Officer Dr Kieran Moore said in a press release.

“Vaccines improve your immune response and reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and post-infection symptoms. We recommend that Ontarians stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines at the appropriate interval since their last dose and get the flu shot annually when available.

Last Friday, Health Canada approved a version of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine targeting the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants for use as booster doses for people aged 12 and older.

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A bivalent version of the Moderna Spikevax targeting the Omicron BA.1 variant was approved last month as a booster for people aged 18 and over.

Ontario residents can book vaccines through the COVID-19 Immunization Portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Center (PVCC) at 1-833-943-3900. Eligible individuals can also book appointments directly with public health units that use their own booking systems, Indigenous-run immunization clinics, participating health care providers and participating pharmacies.

Starting in November, flu shots will also be available from health care providers, public health units and participating pharmacies.

Governments say COVID-19 boosters restore waning protection and are especially critical for people at high risk, who should be vaccinated three months after their last doses.

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Most people under the age of 65 should receive their doses at the recommended six-month interval, but can choose to reserve them three months after their last doses, the government has said.

People aged five and over can receive COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as any other vaccine, including the flu vaccine. But, for children aged six months to under five years, families are advised to wait 14 days before or after another vaccine.

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