COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility
Keep your COVID-19 vaccines up to date
The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and will continue to protect us against COVID-19. Please note: the Middlesex-London Health Unit follows the Ontario Ministry of Health guidance on eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario.
A primary series is the initial number of doses of a COVID‑19 vaccine that a person needs to develop a strong initial immune response. Most people need two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna) or Novavax (for those over 18 years of age) to complete their primary series. If you are immunocompromised, you may need a three-dose primary series. Each dose in a primary series should be given at an interval of eight weeks between doses.
Individuals aged 6 months and over are eligible for a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine
- Children aged six months to under five years can receive the paediatric Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. To receive the vaccine, children must be at least six months old.
- A booster dose is not available for children aged six months to under five years.
Recommended spacing between COVID-19 vaccine doses in a primary series
The Ontario Ministry of Health recommends an interval of eight weeks (56 days) between first and second doses instead of the minimum required for Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty (21 days) and Moderna Spikevax (28 days). There is emerging evidence that longer intervals between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines result in more robust and durable immune response and higher vaccine effectiveness.
Vaccines can be safely mixed
The mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) are interchangeable for those who are 18 years of age or older. Pfizer and Moderna are essentially different brands of the same vaccine and you will have the same protection against COVID-19 regardless of what you get for your first or second dose.
The interchangeability of mRNA vaccines has been supported by experts at both the Public Health Agency of Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Interchangeability means that you can receive either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine as your second dose, regardless of the type of vaccine you received for your first dose. Learn more →
Nuvaxovid (Novavax) COVID-19 vaccine
The Health Unit has a limited supply of the Novavax Nuvaxovid COVID-19 vaccine. If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, please call 1-226-289-3560 to be added to the waitlist. We will contact you when vaccine is available for you.
Booster doses are received after your primary series of COVID-19 vaccine (initial two doses). Protection after a primary series may decrease over time, especially against new variants. Booster doses help keep you protected from severe outcomes from the virus.
- Individuals aged 5 and over are eligible for booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, children between the ages of 6 months and under 5 years are not eligible for a booster dose.
When should you get your booster dose?
To see if you're eligbile for a booster dose, use the Ontario Government’s booster dose eligibility checker.
- Booster doses should be given at an interval of six months between completion of a primary series and a first booster dose or between booster doses. The six-month interval between booster doses provides optimal protection against the virus.
- The minimum interval at which a booster dose can be administered is three months after an individual completed their primary vaccine series or received their most recent booster dose.
- Individuals who have had COVID-19 should wait six months before receiving a booster dose. In consultation with your vaccinator, you may be able to receive a booster dose at a minimum of three months after COVID-19 infection.
Are you at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness?
The following individuals are considered high risk for severe COVID-19 illness and are recommended to receive booster doses at an interval of three months between completing a primary series and a first booster dose, between booster doses, or following a COVID-19 infection.
- Individuals aged 65 years and older
- Residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, Elder Care Lodges, and individuals living in other congregate settings that are 12 years of age or older
- Individuals 12 years and older with moderately to severely immunocompromising conditions
- Individuals 12 years of age and older with an underlying medical condition that places them at high risk of severe COVID-19 illness (NOTE: This may include those with cardiac or pulmonary disorders, diabetes mellitus and other metabolic diseases, cancer, renal disease, anemia or hemoglobinopathy, neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions, Class 3 obesity (BMI of 40 and over.)
- Health care workers (NOTE: Health care workers are not at a higher risk of severe illness, unless they belong to another high-risk group. However, patient-facing health care workers who care for high-risk patients are recommended to be vaccinated to protect their vulnerable patients and all health care workers are recommended to be vaccinated to ensure health system capacity.)
- Pregnant individuals aged 18 and older
- Adults who identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis and their adult non-Indigenous household members
- Adults in racialized communities and/or marginalized communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19
The following bivalent COVID-19 vaccines are available for booster doses.
- The Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is available for individuals aged 5 and over.
- The Moderna Spikevax bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is available for individuals aged 18 and over.
What are the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines in Canada?
Two bivalent COVID-19 vaccines are currently authorized by Health Canada.
- The Moderna Spikevax bivalent vaccine is an adapted version of the original Moderna vaccine and targets the original SARS-CoV-2 virus from 2019 and the Omicron (BA.1) variant. This vaccine triggers a strong immune response against both virus strains and generates a good immune response against the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
- The Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty bivalent vaccine is an adapted version of the original Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and targets the original SARS-CoV-2 virus from 2019 and the Omicron (BA.4 and BA.5) variant, producing a strong immune response against both virus strains.
To learn more, visit Health Canada’s website at www.canada.ca.
Three-dose primary series and booster doses
Some individuals who are immunocompromised are eligible for a three-dose primary series, which means that three doses of COVID-19 vaccine are received to complete an initial vaccination series. This is because underlying health conditions could put these individuals at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. A three-dose primary series enhances the immune response and establishes an adequate level of protection against COVID-19.
- Individuals aged 6 months and over who are immunocompromised are eligible for a three-dose primary series.
- Following a three-dose primary series, immunocompromised individuals aged 5 years and over are eligible for booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine at a recommended interval of three months since their previous dose.
- Immunocompromised individuals aged 12 years and over should receive bivalent booster doses at a recommended interval of three months since their previous dose.
You might be eligible as someone who is immunocompromised if you are:
- a transplant recipient (including solid organ transplant and hematopoietic stem cell transplants)
- receiving stable, active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy) for a malignant hematologic disorder or solid tumor
- in receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell
- an individual with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (for example, DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- in Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
- undergoing active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive or are taking specific immunosuppressant medications (PDF)
- receiving dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis)
Re-vaccination with a new COVID-19 vaccine primary series
The following individuals are eligible for a new COVID-19 vaccine primary series.
- Post-transplantation individuals who received hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT), hematopoietic cell transplants (HCT) (autologous or allogeneic), and recipients of CAR-T-cell therapy, due to the loss of immunity following therapy or transplant.
Last modified on: December 21, 2022