Starting today, COVID-19 vaccine boosters are available for all children aged 5-11. Immunization appointments can be booked online in Yellowknife or by calling your health centre or public health office.
On October 1st, this year’s flu season immunization clinics will begin, with the option for all eligible residents age 5+ to receive a COVID-19 booster as well at these clinics.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and the NWT Chief Public Health Officer advise adults and children to get a booster dose (regardless of the number of boosters they’ve previously received), if it has been six months since their last COVID-19 vaccination, or three months since their last COVID-19 infection.
The type of COVID-19 vaccine that will be administered depends on what is being endorsed for particular ages and risk groups.
The updated COVID-19 vaccine, known as the bivalent Omicron mRNA vaccine, will be offered first to those at highest risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. The bivalent vaccine, approved by Health Canada, combines two types of vaccine; one that targets the original COVID-19 strain, along with a second that targets the Omicron variant, specifically BA.1. Both the traditional and updated vaccines are effective at preventing severe outcomes from COVID-19 for all ages, said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola.
Initial prioritization for rollout of the bivalent Omicron vaccine will be as follows:
- 65 years of age and older
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- 5-64 years of age, high risk and severely immunocompromised
- All individuals over 50 years of age
- All individuals aged 12-49 who have high-risk medical conditions
- Individuals with underlying medical conditions that place them at high risk of severe COVID-19 may include those with:
- cardiac or pulmonary disorders
- uncontrolled diabetes from other metabolic diseases
- renal disease
- anemia or hemoglobinopathy
- neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions
- Class 3 obesity (BMI of 40 and over)
- General population aged 18+
Healthy children and teens aged 5-17 can opt to receive a booster of the original vaccine at their discretion.
The decision to prioritize persons of older age for the bivalent vaccine is consistent with NACI recommendations and the NWT’s goal of preventing severe outcomes. Data from the NWT has shown that between April 1, 2022, and August 31, 2022, there have been very few hospitalizations among those under age 50, and no deaths under age 65.
Supplies of the bivalent Omicron-containing vaccine will be provided as the first choice based on risk, eligibility, and prioritization until supplies run out. Original vaccines are readily available and remain effective in our primary and booster series for those who are ineligible based on age or choose not to wait until more bivalent vaccine is available.
All residents are strongly advised to also receive a regular flu season vaccine.
For more information about vaccines and vaccine clinics, visit the NTHSSA website.
For media requests, please contact:
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
(867) 767-9052 ext. 49036