Alberta rolls out new COVID-19 immunization options for children

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the COVID-19 bivalent booster. Alberta is expanding access to certain booster shots for children, including the Pfizer bivalent vaccine booster and the Novavax vaccine.   (Esteban Felix/The Associated Press - image credit)
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the COVID-19 bivalent booster. Alberta is expanding access to certain booster shots for children, including the Pfizer bivalent vaccine booster and the Novavax vaccine. (Esteban Felix/The Associated Press - image credit)

Alberta is rolling out more options for COVID-19 immunizations for children.

Parents and guardians looking to protect their kids against the ongoing pandemic will now have access to more booster shots and vaccines, Dr. Mark Joffe, the province's chief medical officer of health, announced in a social media post.

Starting today, the Pfizer bivalent vaccine booster will be available for children aged five to 11.

The Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent shot protects against the most prevalent subvariants of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, and is the first approved for use in children aged five to 11.

The Novavax Nuvaxovid COVID-19 vaccine is also available as a primary series or as a booster dose for children aged 12 to 17. The shot, the first protein-based COVID vaccine authorized for use in Canada, was previously offered to Albertans aged 18 and above.

Both shots will be available at Alberta Health Services public health clinics.

Due to limited quantities, the Novavax vaccine will not be offered at community pharmacies or community medical clinics. Albertans will have to call 811 to book a Novavax appointment at select AHS public health clinics, Joffe said.

The latest vaccine rollout for children in Alberta comes as Canada contends with a surge in flu cases and other respiratory viruses and new COVID-19 subvariants.

Albertans aged five and up can get their influenza vaccine at the same time as their COVID-19 vaccine. Separate appointments are not required.

Alberta Health Services said Albertans should get a booster at least five months after their second dose or most recent COVID-19 infection.

A shortened interval of three months can be considered for people at increased risk of severe outcomes but a longer interval provides a better immune response against COVID-19.

Bookings for appointments sooner than five months since the last dose or most recent infection cannot be made online.

For more on bookings or vaccination options available in the province, visit the Alberta vaccination website.