Time for at-risk Islanders to get their COVID-19 booster, says Morrison

Dr. Heather Morrison says pharmacies and public health nursing have the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine.  (CBC - image credit)
Dr. Heather Morrison says pharmacies and public health nursing have the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine. (CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer is encouraging people who are at high risk of severe illness to get a booster if it's been six months since their last dose, and three months since they had COVID-19.

Dr. Heather Morrison said the spring booster advice is based on recent recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, or NACI.

People at highest risk of severe outcomes related to COVID-19 include:

  • Adults 80 years of age and older

  • Residents of long-term care homes and other congregate living settings for seniors or those with complex medical care needs

  • Adults 18 years of age and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised (due to an underlying condition or treatment)

  • Adults 65 to 79 years of age, particularly if they do not have a known prior history of a COVID-19 infection

Sarah MacMillan/CBC
Sarah MacMillan/CBC

Morrison said the bivalent vaccine — which targets the virus strains now most common in Canada — is easily accessible.

"Pharmacies have the bivalent vaccine. Public health nursing has the bivalent vaccine. And so we encourage anyone who has not had bivalent booster as an adult in this province, they certainly can also get a booster at any time," she said.

Morrison said it is becoming more challenging to keep track of what percentages of different groups of people have had their vaccine.


"But what we do know is Islanders have had high uptake of their primary series of vaccine, and those who are at highest risk have also had very good high uptake of their initial booster dose," she said.

"Anyone who hasn't had a booster dose, and a particularly a bivalent booster dose, we're encouraging them to to get one."

Morrison said vaccine fatigue is something that's discussed in P.E.I. and across the country.

"The recommendations and the guidance won't change as often and I do think we'll get into more regular, updated recommendations and guidance and we're starting to settle into that," she said.

"I think we've been talking quite a long time about how we really are transitioning into a time where it's more endemic ... where there's a certain amount of COVID that will persist and we're hoping that it will stay low enough, and there may be a little bit of up and down, but hopefully it will be low."

Looking ahead to next fall and winter, Morrison said she thinks COVID will be part of the respiratory season.

"We may see an increase, but we're certainly continuing to watch for it and monitor it every day,"  she said.

People can book an appointment for their children aged 6 months to 5 years toll-free at 1-844-975-3303.

The spring booster campaign will continue until May 31.