Starting Monday, eligible Manitobans can book appointments for new vaccine that protects against Omicron

The first group of Manitobans eligible for the new Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine will be able to start booking appointments early next week.

Health Canada approved the new vaccine earlier this month. It’s designed to protect against the original strain and Omicron variant of coronavirus.

The online government scheduling system will open at 9 a.m. Monday for Manitobans 65 and up, Indigenous people over 18, people 18 or older who are at higher risk of severe outcomes, health-care workers and long-term care residents, the province said in a news release Friday afternoon.

Appointments will be available as early as Wednesday, Sept. 14. Vaccine location providers can be found through the vaccine finder map, which the province says will be updated next week.

The first shipment of 27,650 bivalent doses arrived on Friday. Another shipment of 77,600 doses is expected to be delivered next week.

Also starting Monday, anyone 12 and up becomes eligible for a booster of the monovalent, or original, COVID-19 vaccine. 

The province does, however, advise Manitobans eligible for a booster at this point wait for access to the bivalent vaccine, as it gives the most robust defence against Omicron variants.

Eligibility for the bivalent vaccine is expected to expand to Manitobans 18 and up in the coming weeks, as incoming shipments allow.

The province is also closing down walk-in appointments at the RBC Convention Centre immunization supersite after Saturday. The final day to get any vaccines by appointment there is next Saturday, Sept. 17.

Instead, the vaccine supersite hub in the city will move to 1680 Notre Dame Ave. First appointments are expected to be available there Sept. 20, though walk-ins won’t be available.

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