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B.C. set to begin COVID booster rollout this month

The provincial government says a booster program offering a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine will start to be offered within the next two weeks.

The new Moderna vaccine, which targets both the original COVID virus strain and the Omicron subvariants, will be available to everyone over 18 as well as those ages 12 and 17 who are at high risk for severe outcomes.

The province said invitations will go out by email and text message in the coming days and weeks. As with previous doses, the exact timing will be based on your age, risk factors, and how long it has been since your last dose.

Priority groups will continue to include people over the age of 60, Indigenous people of all ages, people who are extremely vulnerable, and health-care workers.

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Dr. Penny Ballem, who is the executive lead on B.C.’s immunization plan, said the first doses of the vaccine have not yet arrived, but they expect to receive about 110,000 soon, followed by a second, larger shipment.

About 1,100 pharmacies are expected to participate in the fall booster campaign along with more than 100 mass clinics to be set up by health authorities, starting Sept. 19.

Everyone age five and up will be eligible for a booster in some form.

Ballem said at their peak, they expect to vaccinate 250,000 to 280,000 people a week for about 10 weeks.

“We will run that capacity as long as we need to as the demand is flowing,” she said.

Health Canada authorized use of the Moderna bivalent vaccine last week.

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