As of July 14, 2022, individuals between 18 to 59 years old are eligible to receive a second COVID-19 booster dose as long as it has been at least 5 months since their last booster and 3 months since a COVID-19 infection.
Do I need to get a second booster?
Most individuals that are under 60 years of age and are generally healthy will continue to have strong protection against COVID-19 more than six months after their first booster dose. This means that it may not be necessary for individuals who fit these criteria to get their second booster dose right away. Some may decide to wait until the fall since this is when they tend to participate in higher risk activities, such as spending more time indoors, and may benefit from an added layer of protection at that time.
That said, if you fall within the 18 to 59 year age range and have underlying health issues (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, COPD) or personal risk factors (e.g. smoking, pregnancy, occupation) that put you at higher risk of severe infection, or are at higher risk of giving COVID-19 to someone who does, you may consider getting your second booster dose now.
What about high risk individuals?
Individuals who are at higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19 infection have been eligible to receive their second booster since April 2022. These individuals include:
- Adults 60 years of age and older
- Individuals who identify as Indigenous, and their household members (18+)
- Older adults living in congregate settings (e.g. long-term care or retirement homes)
- Moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals
If you fit these criteria, it is recommended that you get a second booster dose as soon as you become eligible to ensure you are well protected throughout the current wave of COVID-19.
Should I wait for the bivalent vaccine?
An Omicron-specific vaccine may become available this fall, depending on Ministry of Health approval. This vaccine is anticipated to offer better protection against the Omicron variants, which are driving current waves. Although this is welcomed news, there are presently many uncertainties surrounding this vaccine, including the timeline for vaccine approval and how the vaccine will be rolled out (e.g. it may be offered to higher risk groups first, leading others to have to wait to get their dose). Therefore, if you are considering waiting for the Omicron-specific booster to become available, it can be helpful to consider your personal risk, as well as current vaccine effectiveness. The vaccines and boosters that can be administered now may be less effective at preventing infection, but they are still very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
If you need additional guidance to help you make your decision, consider scheduling a phone appointment with a healthcare provider at the Marathon Family Health Team by emailing [email protected] or calling 807-229-3243.
Upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit will be offering a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Marathon Legion on August 16th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Walk-ins are welcomed. Those who prefer to schedule an appointment can do so via the Provincial Booking System (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/).