With updated COVID-19 vaccines becoming available as booster doses to offer better protection against variants of the SARS-COV-2 virus, it is important to be aware of who is eligible to receive them.
At Charlton Health, we continue to serve immunocompromised patients who are being treated for a variety of autoimmune diseases. We recognize and acknowledge the value that these new vaccines bring to better protect our patients. Currently, in Canada, one new bivalent vaccine (manufactured by Moderna) can be given as a booster dose for individuals who have completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
As of September 12, 2022, Ontario’s Ministry of Health has recognized the following high-risk individuals to be eligible for the new COVID-19 bivalent Moderna booster vaccine dose (regardless of how many booster doses the individual had received in the past):
- Residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, Elder Care Lodges and individuals living in other congregate settings that provide assisted-living and health services
- Individuals aged 70 years and older
- Individuals who are 12 years and older with moderately to severely immunocompromising conditions
- For those between the age of 12-17 years of age with moderately to severely immunocompromising conditions, a booster dose of the bivalent Moderna COVID-19 vaccine may be offered off-label based on clinical discretion
- Individuals that are 18 years and older who identify as First Nations, Inuit, or Metis and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 years and older
- Pregnant individuals that are 18 years and older
- Healthcare workers that are 18 years and older
As of September 26, 2022, all individuals 18 years and older will be eligible to receive a fall COVID-19 bivalent (Moderna) booster dose (regardless of how many booster doses the individual had received in the past).
Table 2 from the COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance published by Ontario’s Ministry of Health provides the recommended timing interval between the primary series and booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines. It is important to highlight that for those individuals who are moderately and severely immunocompromised individuals, a primary series consists of 3 vaccine doses. The guidance also highlights the timing of the vaccine doses relative to previous infections, which would be important information for individuals who may have recently contracted COVID-19 and want added protection from the booster doses.
For more information on these updates, you can review the guidance here.
**Please note that this is only the latest information as of September 9, 2022. As more information on the growing topic becomes available, the guidance will likely also be updated.
Kunal Bhatt, RPh, PharmD, HBSc is a staff pharmacist for Charlton Health. As a 2020 PharmD graduate from the University of Toronto, Kunal possesses a diverse range of experiences from working in hospital and community pharmacy settings. Since January 2021, Kunal was heavily invested in contributing to the efforts against COVID-19 by administering upwards of 5000 COVID-19 vaccines at William Osler Health System’s vaccination clinics.