With respiratory virus season on the horizon, the province is recommending all Manitobans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 get an updated booster shot this fall.
Last week, Health Canada approved Moderna’s updated COVID-19 vaccine for all Canadians six months of age or older.
The mRNA-based shot has been formulated to better protect against the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant, meaning it’s more tailored to the virus strains currently circulating.
As in previous years, the first doses of flu and COVID-19 vaccines shipped to Manitoba will be used to immunize high-risk populations, including First Nations communities, people living in personal care homes and health-care workers, the province said Tuesday in its first bulletin of the respiratory virus season.
Public health officials in Manitoba expect doses of the vaccines to be available to the public by early to mid-October, the bulletin said.
These vaccines will be available at pharmacies, medical clinics, public health offices and immunization clinics. To find a location, you can go to the province’s online vaccine finder.
The COVID-19 booster shot should be taken six months after a last vaccine dose or infection, the province said.
Rapid COVID-19 tests are also still available for free at many locations across the province.
However, “rapid tests and PCR testing are only recommended for people who are high risk for serious outcomes as they need to know if they have COVID-19 to receive early treatment options such as antivirals,” the province’s news release said.
As of Sept. 9, just over 77 per cent of Manitoba residents have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Manitoba’s latest respiratory surveillance report.