COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Bivalent vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) now both available in Sudbury and Manitoulin districts
Advisory Alert October 18, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION
Following last Thursday’s Provincial Announcement about the new bivalent Comirnaty (Pfizer BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine, Public Health is offering both mRNA vaccine brands for first, second, and booster doses to eligible individuals. Highlighted within this Advisory Alert is information about the Pfizer vaccine, a summary of eligibility criteria, identification of populations strongly encouraged to receive a bivalent booster dose, and an overview of local vaccination opportunities.
Bivalent Comirnaty (Pfizer BioNTech) vaccine The bivalent Comirnaty (Pfizer BioNTech) vaccine contains 15 mcg of the ancestral COVID-19 strain and 15 mcg of the Omicron variant lineages BA.4 and BA.5. It offers protection against COVID-19 infection, including infections caused by the Omicron variant.
As of Monday, October 17, 2022, the bivalent Comirnaty (Pfizer BioNTech) vaccine is available to all individuals aged 12 years and older who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster.
Per the Government of Ontario, all Ontarians aged 12 and older who have completed a primary COVID-19 vaccine series will be eligible to receive the bivalent vaccine as a booster dose. This recommendation is regardless of the number of booster doses previously received.
Importantly, the bivalent Comirnaty (Pfizer BioNTech) vaccine is the only bivalent product authorized for use in individuals aged 12-17 years old. A reminder that bivalent Moderna may be given to individuals 12-17 years old who are immunocompromised, however, this is off label and must be given with informed consent.
Bivalent boosters (in authorized age groups) are recommended over monovalent boosters.
Note importantly that for those aged 18 and older, there is no preference between bivalent Pfizer or bivalent Moderna vaccines.
The recommended interval between receiving a bivalent booster dose and a previous COVID-19 vaccine dose is 6 months. With informed consent, individuals can choose to get their booster dose after a minimum 3-month interval. For those who have had a COVID-19 infection, the recommended interval is 6 months following the infection, but can be shortened to a minimum of 3 months. When considering vaccine intervals, biological and social risk factors for exposure and severe disease should be considered. Before vaccination, individuals should no longer be considered infectious, and symptoms of acute illness should no longer be considered infectious.
High-risk groups strongly recommended to receive bivalent booster
Regardless of the number of booster doses received to date, high-risk populations are strongly recommended to receive a bivalent booster dose as soon as they are eligible. These groups include:
- Individuals 12 years and older with moderately to severely immunocompromising conditions and/or who have biological or social risk factors that place them at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19
- Health care workers aged 18 years and older
- Pregnant individuals
- Adults 18 years and older who identify a first Nations, Inuit or Métis and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 years and older
- Individuals aged 65 and older
- 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
With the approaching respiratory illness season and the onset of cooler weather, individuals in these high-risk groups are being encouraged by Ontario’s Ministry of Health to receive a bivalent booster as long as it has been 3 months since they last received a COVID-19 vaccine. For additional information, please review the flow diagram on page 14 of the COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance document (Ontario Ministry of Health). This tool can also be used to support clients as they make decisions about when to receive their COVID-19 booster.
Primary care involvement
Primary care has multiple roles to play in the vaccine program, including onboarding practices to administer the vaccine in their offices, supporting vaccination clinics, and ongoing patient education on vaccine safety and efficacy.
Following the announcement of the bivalent vaccines, primary care providers are strongly encouraged to notify their clients of this new booster. Those at highest risk if infected with COVID-19 should be prioritized, including individuals who are immunocompromised and individuals 65 years of age and older.
Primary care providers interested in offering the COVID-19 vaccine through their practice are asked to contact Public Health at PCC_Vaccine_Questions@phsd.ca. To request additional COVID-19 vaccines, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clients who are unable to attend their primary care office for their COVID-19 vaccine can attend a Public Health-led community clinic, visit a participating pharmacy, or contact a health centre.
Local vaccination opportunities
Visit our vaccination clinics for COVID-19 webpage for information on clinic dates, times, and locations. Eligible clients are encouraged to book an appointment online at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine or by calling 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Walk-in opportunities for the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines continue to be available at Public Health clinics.
Original Signed By
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer