Manitoba Gears Up for New COVID-19 Vaccines, Upgraded Moderna Targets Omicron Derivative

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Manitoba is on the brink of receiving new COVID-19 vaccines in the upcoming weeks, according to a recent announcement from the province. The general populace is set to have access to these vaccines by the early or mid-October. Priority will be given for administering the freshly produced vaccines to those belonging to high-risk categories, which includes individuals residing in personal care homes, hospital patients, communities of First Nations, and health-care workers.

The upcoming vaccines, designed to offer enhanced protection against XBB.1.5 – a derivative of the omicron variant, are projected to be available this fall. Health Canada has confirmed approval of an upgraded version of the Moderna vaccine for use in individuals aged six months and above, while it is still assessing the revised Pfizer and Novavax vaccines.

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The recent announcement strongly encourages those who have previously been vaccinated against COVID-19 and are aged six months and above to take the updated vaccines this fall. The advice is to administer it six months subsequent to the individual’s last dose or infection, depending on which occurred later.

The emphasis remains on advocating the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone who lacks previous immunization, as per the public health advisory.

The announcement also indicated the availability of the influenza vaccine this fall, encouraging people to ensure protection against the flu as well. On the prospect of the respiratory virus season, Manitobans have been warned about the expected strain on the health care system as COVID-19, the flu, and other similar viruses could result in serious and potentially fatal illness for some people. The province continues its contingency planning to cope with potentially heightened health threats from a new variant or pathogen.