13,000 doses of updated Moderna vaccine on way to P.E.I., with more to come

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Health Canada approved the updated Moderna vaccine, which targets both Omicron and the original coronavirus, on Sept. 1 for Canadians 18 and older.  (Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press - image credit)
Health Canada approved the updated Moderna vaccine, which targets both Omicron and the original coronavirus, on Sept. 1 for Canadians 18 and older. (Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press - image credit)

Prince Edward Island will be receiving its first shipment of the newly approved updated Moderna vaccine next week, according to an email Friday afternoon from the province's Department of Health and Wellness vaccine.

On Thursday, Health Canada authorized the Moderna Spikevax Bivalent vaccine — which targets both Omicron variants and the original coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — for use with people aged 18 and up.

The P.E.I. government statement said 3,400 doses will arrive the week of Sept. 5, with 9,600 doses coming the next week followed by more shipments throughout September.

However, the statement said people who are eligible for a fall booster dose — especially those at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 — should not put off vaccination appointments they already have in order to hold out for the new vaccine.

"The original and new vaccines are effective in reducing the risk of severe illness from the Omicron variants and subvariants. Our COVID-19 immunization strategy has been effective in protecting Islanders from the virus and we must stay diligent in continuing to get vaccinated," the statement said.

"All types of the COVID-19 vaccines are more effective than not having any doses of vaccine for protection."

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

The statement said bivalent boosters will offer the greatest potential protection as COVID-19 becomes endemic, meaning it will be regularly found among the population as time goes on.

"In order to stay ahead of another possible wave of infection as we move into the fall, it's important to be up-to-date and have a booster that could provide broad protection against different variants, even ones the vaccine was not specifically designed to fight against," the statement said.

Health-care providers on P.E.I. are being told they will receive more information next week about ordering the updated Moderna vaccine.