Health Canada has approved a new COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna that targets both the original strain of the novel coronavirus and the Omicron variant.
Until now, COVID-19 vaccines approved in Canada were for only the original strain of COVID-19.
The new shots approved by Health Canada, called bivalent vaccines, are designed to recognize specific mutations in the spike protein of the Omicron BA.1 subvariant.
The United Kingdom approved Moderna’s bivalent vaccine two weeks ago, and the United States Food and Drug Administration gave Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s Omicron-fighting shots the green light earlier this week.
Canada has already purchased 12 million doses of Moderna’s version of the Omicron vaccine.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that people over the age of 18 should be offered the Omicron booster, but if one is not available they should still get boosted with an original COVID-19 vaccine.
Adrian Dix, minister of health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, released a joint statement saying the province is ready to administer the bivalent vaccine once it is received.
“Moderna is providing 12 million doses to Canada, and as always, we will work with the federal government to ensure a stable supply of the bivalent vaccine for British Columbians,” the statement says.
“Once the supply arrives, we are all set to begin distribution. We expect the vaccines to come over several weeks and most people should be able to get one in September or October. As before, the vaccines will be available in health-authority clinics and pharmacies. More information about timing and eligibility will be presented to the public on Sept. 6.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2022.