Get a COVID-19 booster

Booster doses help extend your protection against severe outcomes of COVID-19.

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Last updated: February 1, 2023

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Getting your first booster dose

For most people, their initial vaccination was 2 doses of vaccine. In 2021, this offered very good protection from severe illness related to COVID-19, but protection decreases over time. For new variants, 2 doses don't provide enough protection.

Even if you've had COVID-19, you still need a booster. With no booster doses, your vaccinations aren't up to date.


COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine invitations

For full protection, everyone 5 and older needs booster doses. Everyone can get a bivalent vaccine for their COVID-19 booster.

For most people, it's best to get a booster dose around periods of increased risk like the fall and winter months.

Get a flu vaccine at your booster appointment

To make it easier to keep your vaccinations up to date, you can now book a free flu vaccine at the same appointment where you get your COVID-19 booster. If you've recently had your COVID-19 booster, you'll get another invitation to book your flu vaccine.

Public health recommends that everyone gets a flu vaccine this year. It's important to get both your COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine, to protect yourself from respiratory illness during the fall and winter.

I want a drop-in appointment

Some pharmacies and clinics have drop-in flu vaccine appointments. Availability is not guaranteed. To make sure you get a flu vaccine, it's best to phone the call centre to secure the most convenient appointment.


Understand your vaccine options

The vaccine offered for your booster will depend on your age group.

18 and older

If you have not yet received a bivalent booster, you will be offered the bivalent Moderna or Pfizer vaccine for your next dose.

Bivalent vaccines provide better protection against the Omicron variants of COVID-19.

5 to 17

You will be offered the bivalent Pfizer vaccine for your next booster.

It doesn't matter what vaccine you received for your initial vaccination series.

For most people, this will be six months after your last vaccine. 

If you have already received a bivalent dose, you are still protected and do not need another dose at this time. 

I want a non-mRNA booster

mRNA vaccines are the best choice for a booster dose because they provide the most effective protection against COVID-19. 

If you're 18 or older and would prefer a non-mRNA vaccine, you can get the Novavax vaccine or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


Book an appointment at a location near you

You will receive a personalized booking invitation when it's time to book your dose.

Appointments are available in community pharmacies and health authority clinics at a time to fit your schedule. The appointment only takes 15 to 30 minutes. You can go alone or as a family.

Personalized information for:

Under the Infants Act, you can give consent as a mature minor to receive health care, like getting a booster dose. You can book for yourself or have a trusted adult make an appointment for you. Like your other appointments, you can go alone or with a trusted adult.

It's extra important to get a booster dose if you are clinically extremely vulnerable.

 

Youth who are clinically extremely vulnerable

If you are 12 to 17 and have any of the conditions listed below, it's important that you get a booster dose as soon as you are eligible.

Transplant

  • You’ve had a solid organ transplant (kidney, liver, lung, heart, pancreas)

Cancer

  • You’re having systemic therapy for cancer now or you have had it in the past 12 months. This includes chemotherapy, molecular therapy, immunotherapy, monoclonal antibodies, hormonal therapy for cancer
  • You’re having radiation therapy for cancer now or in the past 6 months
  • You’re having or had targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system such as CAR-T cell treatments in the past 6 months
  • You have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic disorders)
  • You have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine related to your transplant

Severe respiratory conditions

  • You have cystic fibrosis 
  • You have been hospitalized because of pediatric obstructive lung diseases or similar pediatric conditions in the last three years
  • You have been hospitalized because of asthma in the last three years or you are taking biologics for asthma
  • You have severe lung disease requiring at least one of the following:
    • You require long-term home oxygen
    • You have been assessed for a lung transplant
    • You have severe pulmonary arterial hypertension or have severe pulmonary fibrosis/interstitial lung disease similar pediatric conditions

Rare blood diseases

  • You have homozygous sickle cell disease
  • You have highest risk thalassemia, meaning you have thalassemia and two of the following:
    • You are transfusion dependent
    • You are receiving iron chelation therapy
    • Your pre-transfusion hemoglobin level are less than 70 in the last 2 to 3 years
    • You have iron overload
    • You have had your spleen taken out as treatment for thalassemia or have other significant health conditions
  • You are 12 or older, with Atypical Hemolytic Uremia Syndrome (aHUS) or Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria

Other rare diseases

  • You have a condition that means you need a metabolic (biochemical diseases) specialist and you have certain metabolically unstable inborn errors of metabolism:
    • Urea cycle defects
    • Methylmalonic aciduria
    • Propionic aciduria
    • Glutaric aciduria
    • Maple syrup urine disease
  • You have a condition known as a severe primary immunodeficiency. This means you have combined immune deficiencies affecting T-cells; familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis or you have type 1 interferon defects

Splenectomy

  • You have had your spleen removed or have been told you have a spleen that doesn’t function (functional asplenia)

Diabetes on insulin

  • You are currently taking insulin for diabetes (by injection or pump)

Significant developmental disabilities that increase risk

  • You have Down Syndrome
  • You have Cerebral Palsy
  • You have an intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)
  • You are using or receiving supports from:
    • Nursing Support Services program for youth 12 and older
    • The At Home program

Kidney/renal disease

  • You are on dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis)
  • You have stage 5 chronic kidney disease (your eGFR is less than 15 ml/min)
  • You have glomerulonephritis and are receiving steroid treatment

Neuromuscular/neurologic or muscular conditions that require respiratory support

  • You have significant muscle weakness around your lungs and need to use a ventilator or Bi-level positive airway pressure (Bi-PAP) continuously

People whose immune system is affected by immunosuppression therapies they take

You are taking high dose steroids or other medicines known to suppress your immune system. There are many chronic conditions that might require you to take these medications. You may be taking these for one of the conditions listed, such as a transplant, lung disease or for additional conditions such as rheumatology conditions, neurological conditions, or additional autoimmune conditions. The timing of when you last took the medication is important, so consider the timing (or dates) carefully when reviewing the list. ​
 

  • Biologics taken in the last 3 months:
    abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, benralizumab, brodalumab, canakinumab, certolizumab, dupilumab, etanercept, golimumab, guselkumab, infliximab, interferon products (alpha, beta, and pegylated forms), ixekizumab, mepolizumab, natalizumab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab, omalizumab, resilizumab, risankizumab, sarilumab, secukinumab, tocilizumab, ustekinumab, or vedolizumab
     
  • Biologics taken in the last 12 months:
    alemtuzumab, rituximab
     
  • Oral immune-suppressing drugs taken regularly (usually daily) in the last 3 months:
    azathioprine, baricitinib, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, leflunomide, dimethyl fumerate, everolimus, mycophenolate, sirolimus, tacrolimus, tofacitinib, upadacitinib, methotrexate, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, prednisone, methylprednisolone, or teriflunomide 
     
  • Steroids orally or by injection on an ongoing basis for a chronic disease in the last 3 months:
    dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, or prednisone 
     
  • Immune-suppressing Infusions taken in the last 3 months:
    cladribine, cyclophosphamide, glatiramer, methotrexate

Pregnant people 12 or older can get a booster dose 3 months after their initial vaccination series. You can be at any stage of your pregnancy. 

Call 1-833-838-2323 and self-identify as pregnant. We’ll book you the next available appointment. 

If you live in an independent living facility or receive long-term home support, you can get a booster dose from a health care worker who visits you. 

If you live in a rural or remote Indigenous community, you can get a booster dose in your community from your local health authority.


I don't have my invitation

You must be registered with the Get Vaccinated system to get an invitation. If you haven't yet received or can't find your invitation:

I need help booking an appointment

Phone the call centre if you need help booking an appointment. Phone agents can't answer questions about the best timing for your next dose. 

Call: 1-833-838-2323Seven days a week, 7 am to 7 pm. Translators are available.

Outside Canada and the USA: 1-604-681-4261

Telephone for the Deaf: Dial 711

Video Relay Services (VRS) sign language interpretation is free for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired.