Experts weigh in on COVID cases and booster shots as falling increases transmission risk

Adults are eligible for the bivalent booster as long as it has been at least five months since their last vaccine or COVID infection. But in July, everyone 18 and older was eligible for the fourth dose, or second booster.

“But it’s very clear that every boost, whether it’s the original vaccine or the new vaccine, gives a significant increase in antibody levels.” The only bivalent vaccine currently approved in Canada is the Moderna Spikevax booster that targets BA.1. The US has now approved vaccines specifically targeting BA.4 and BA.5.

According to Health Canada, clinical trial results of the BA.1 injection approved here have still “found that they generate a good immune response against the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, and are expected to increase the durability of the extend protection.”

Alberta Vaccination Rates

Just under half of Albertans age 18 and older have received at least one COVID booster after the first two shots, according to Health Canada data.

Those are the lowest numbers in the country, with every other province and territory above 50 percent adult booster coverage, with some over 60 percent.

Saxinger said two doses still provide protection, but data has shown that a third injection significantly boosts those defenses, especially against serious illness.

“If your last exposure, whether it was with a vaccine or from an infection, was more than six months ago, it would be very good to prioritize getting your booster for the fall,” she said.

“We don’t have a crystal ball, but we think there will very likely be a potential wave (of COVID) because that’s what happens with respiratory viruses in the fall.”

Hu hopes the end of summer and the introduction of the latest booster will bring more people’s attention back to updating their COVID protection.

“COVID is still a leading cause of death,” he said. “And getting an injection is keeping yourself healthy. Like eating right and exercising and stuff – getting a vaccine is a lot easier than doing all those things we keep telling you to do.”

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