The Northwest Territories on Wednesday announced its rollout plan for Covid-19 booster shots, immediately opening the shots to all children aged five to 11.
The territory has been criticized in some quarters for the time taken to provide extra shots, having spent months holding off in the hope that boosters designed to tackle newer variants would become available.
At the start of this month, the NWT changed course and said it would rely on older, existing shots instead because of the wait to receive newer vaccines.
On Wednesday, the NWT said Covid-19 boosters are now available for all children aged five to 11, either by booking online in Yellowknife or contacting your health centre elsewhere.
Boosters and flu shots will be offered to “all eligible adults aged five-plus” from October 1, the territorial government stated.
The territory said the newer, bivalent vaccine boosters will be eventually rolled out in three stages:
Group one was defined as people:
- 65 years of age and older
- Who are residents of long-term care facilities
- 5-64 years of age, high risk and severely immunocompromised
Group two was defined as people:
- Over 50 years of age
- Aged 12-49 who have high-risk medical conditions
- With underlying medical conditions that place them at high risk of severe Covid-19
Group three is the general population aged 18 or over.
“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 territory stated.
The bivalent vaccine, approved by Health Canada, combines two types of vaccine that target the original Covid-19 strain and the Omicron variant.
“Both the traditional and updated vaccines are effective at preventing severe outcomes from Covid-19,” the territory sought to stress.
Healthy children and teens aged 5-17 can opt to receive a booster of the original vaccine at their discretion.
“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.”