Bivalent COVID-19 booster now available for all Hamiltonians 18+
HAMILTON, ON – In alignment with direction from the Ontario Government, effective today all Hamiltonians 18 years of age and older are eligible for a bivalent COVID-19 booster, as long as they’ve completed their primary vaccine series (received a first and second dose), it’s been at least six months since their most recent dose and they have not been infected with COVID-19 over the past three months. The bivalent booster is recommended and available to eligible community members, regardless of how many booster doses they have received previously.
Don’t ‘fall’ behind on COVID-19 vaccination, stay up to date and get all the shots recommended for you
With COVID-19 transmission forecasted to increase this fall, it is important that everyone gets vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them from severe outcomes of the illness and reduce the pressure on Hamilton’s significantly strained healthcare capacity. Local COVID-19 forecasting presented at a Board of Health meeting earlier today indicated that as many as 528 new hospital admissions of Hamiltonians could occur between September 26 and the end of 2022, if vaccination uptake is not increased. Of those hospitalizations, 33 are predicted to be Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admissions. Additionally, 60 Hamiltonians may lose their life during that same time period, because of the health effects of the virus.
As evidence shows that vaccine protection decreases over time, to get stronger protection against both COVID-19 and its Omicron subvariant, Hamilton Public Health Services and its Hamilton Healthcare Partners are recommending all Hamiltonians 18 years of age and older to stay up to date with vaccination and book an appointment for a bivalent COVID-19 booster today at hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine. Appointments can be booked on Hamilton’s booking tool 14 days in advance, with new appointment dates being added daily.
Residents are also strongly encouraged to check with local pharmacies who are offering bivalent COVID-19 booster doses, as neighbourhood pharmacists are anticipated to administer nearly 75 per cent of all COVID-19 vaccines locally this upcoming respiratory illness season.
It is recommended that individuals six months to 12 years of age stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccination. Although this age group is not eligible for a bivalent vaccine, the monovalent vaccine provides an extra layer of protection against the health effects of COVID-19. For information about eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination for all populations, visit hamilton.ca/COVIDvaccines. Children six months to 12 years of age will be able to walk-in at Hamilton Public Health Services led clinics to receive a monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.
Booking a vaccination appointment
The online vaccine booking system, accessed by visiting hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine can accept bookings for eligible residents with an Ontario health card (green photo health card OR red and white) and an email address or cell phone number.
Individuals without an Ontario health card, or without an email address or cell phone number can call the Public Health Services COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline: 905-974-9848, option 7. Translation services are available by phone.
COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses for everyone who wants one
Based on lessons learned from the local rollout of first, second and booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Hamilton Public Health Services and its community partners are committed to breaking down barriers and increasing confidence to ensure those most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 can access a COVID-19 vaccine at a convenient location and time, with resources tailored to their needs.
Hamilton Public Health Services will continue to work together with community partners, such as DAHC and the Shelter Health Network, to bring mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics and community-led clinics to Forward Sortation Areas (FSAs) that have been identified based on analysis of income and racialized individuals residing in these neighbourhoods. Clinic locations and hours of operation will be available at hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine.
- As of end of day September 22, 2022, 83.8 per cent of Hamiltonians have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 80.6 per cent have completed their primary series by receiving a second dose. 49.4 per cent of Hamiltonians have received a third dose and 14.6 per cent have received a fourth dose.
- The bivalent Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is an mRNA vaccine approved by Health Canada as a safe and effective booster dose for those 18+. Bivalent means that the vaccine contains two strains of COVID-19 – the original strain and Omicron (BA.1). The bivalent booster provides additional protection against the highly contagious Omicron variant which is the most common variant in Hamilton and across Ontario.
- The monovalent, original Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, containing only the original strain of COVID-19, will still be used to complete the primary series (first and second dose).
- All vaccination planning is based on and contingent on available COVID-19 vaccine supply, and the necessary health and human resources.
- Individuals who require transportation assistance to a COVID-19 vaccine appointment can call DARTS at 905-529-1717 and press 0 or check the Ontario Community Support Association.
With vaccine protection and immunity from a previous infection decreasing over time, we encourage all Hamiltonians to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination in preparation for the fast approaching influenza and respiratory illness season. As we escape cooler temperatures and spend more time together indoors this fall, Hamiltonians 18 years of age and over are now eligible to book an appointment for a bivalent COVID-19 booster to strengthen their ability to fight off COVID-19 infection and reduce the risk against severe COVID-19 outcomes like hospitalization, ICU admission and death.Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health
One of the big tools we have going into the winter to reduce the impact of COVID-19, perhaps the most important one we have, is the availability of the bivalent vaccine. I encourage people to get it when they are eligible to help protect themselves and those around them from serious illness from COVID-19.Melissa Farrell, President St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
We know that vaccines offer strong protection against severe illness that lead to hospitalization. Hamiltonians have another tool in helping keep themselves and their loved ones safe while helping to reduce demand on stressed hospital services.Sharon Pierson, Executive Vice President, Clinical Operations, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Nursing Executive, Hamilton Health Sciences
The best thing people can do to protect themselves and their families from COVID is to follow Public Health advice and get an up to date COVID vaccine. People who need personal advice should call their family physician or other Primary Care provider.Scott Wooder, MD, Lead Physician Hamilton Family Health Team