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Health Canada approves
updated Moderna COVID vaccine

Spikevax COVID 19 vaccineHealth Canada has fully approved Moderna’s new COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax, targeting the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant for everybody six months of age and older.

On Tuesday, September 12, a technical briefing was held by officials from Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to discuss the updated vaccine that targets the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant.

Health Canada said people aged five and older should receive one dose, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination history. Children from six months to four years old should receive two doses if they have not been previously vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine, or one dose if they already had at least one dose.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said, “We will have enough supply of the updated COVID-19 vaccines to support immunization programs across Canada.” The deliveries to provinces of the updated vaccine are expected in early October.

The campaign for new COVID-19 shots comes as cases are expected to increase heading into the fall and winter. Dr. Tam said that last fall, Canada had an early start to the influenza season as well as high numbers of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections. She noted that COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have been on the rise in the last several weeks.

“It is difficult to predict what will happen this fall and winter regarding the circulation of influenza, RSV and COVID-19, given that it is still early in the season,” she said. “But the good news is we can get prepared and protect ourselves in case simultaneous surges of respiratory viruses occur. This is why receiving a COVID-19 vaccine dose as well as a flu shot this fall is especially important.” She also advised that it is safe to receive a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

Dr. Tam urged all eligible Canadians to be vigilant and updated with their COVID-19 vaccinations. Anyone who has not been infected with COVID-19 or received a COVID-19 vaccination in the past six months is encouraged to get vaccinated with the latest version of a COVID-19 vaccine. This no longer contains the original strain of the virus.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical advisor with Health Canada, said, “I know we all wish COVID-19 no longer existed, but people are still getting infected, and vaccination continues to be one of the most effective ways to protect ourselves against serious outcomes.”