COVID-19 Bivalent Vaccines

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Since the start of the global pandemic, a lot of headway has been made – including what we know about the COVID-19 virus, how it transmits, how it affects people, and the types of treatment methods that are available – specifically with the use of vaccines. While vaccines are not 100% foolproof, they remain the best course of action when it comes to protecting yourself as well as others around you, and can prevent serious illness or death from occurring should you happen to contract COVID-19.

Because vaccine immunity can wane over time, booster vaccines are an important part of staying protected against COVID-19 – especially as we begin to see cooler weather, which will likely come along with a new surge of cases during the fall and winter months. It’s also important to note that because different variants of the virus can also emerge over time, manufacturers may also need to release new vaccines to the public or re-work current vaccines – hence, Bivalent vaccines.

What does the word “Bivalent” mean?

The word “Bivalent” means that the vaccine causes the immune system to create antibodies against two different strains/variants of the COVID-19 virus.

Are there different types of Bivalent vaccines?

A “Bivalent” vaccine is an adapted version of a current vaccine, and there are two types that are currently available: the Moderna Spikevax and/or the Pfizer BioNTech Comirnaty vaccines – which were approved by Health Canada on September 1st, 2022 (Moderna) and October 7th, 2022 (Pfizer).

What variants do the Bivalent vaccines target?

The Moderna Bivalent vaccine targets the original SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as the Omicron BA.1 subvariant, while the Pfizer Bivalent vaccine also targets the original virus, in addition to the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants.

When should I get the Bivalent booster?

Because two vaccines are not considered enough protection with new variants like Omicron still being in our communities, it’s recommended that everyone get their Bivalent vaccine at least 6 months after their last dose. Bivalent vaccines are currently available for everyone aged 12 or older.

How do I book my Bivalent vaccine?

Invitations are currently being sent out on a rolling basis. If you are a British Columbia resident and have not yet received an invitation to book your Bivalent vaccine and think you are due for it, you should contact the call centre at 1-833-838-2323. Someone will be available to take your call from 7 AM to 7 PM, 7 days per week.