Just like a battery that runs low, the immunity that protects you against COVID-19 also wanes over time. Your booster doses recharge your immunity and protects you from severe symptoms, including the need for hospital or ICU care.
Who should get a COVID-19 booster dose?
Based on risk of experiencing serious illness from COVID-19 infection, there are different recommendations for first and second booster doses.
All people in Manitoba aged 12+ can get a first booster against COVID-19.
A second booster is available to those who are at higher risk of experiencing severe illness from COVID-19:
- anyone aged 50 or older,
- First Nations, Inuit and Métis people aged 30 or older, regardless of where they live,
- individuals 18 to 49 years of age who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, or
- residents of personal care homes and elderly people living in group living situations such as assisted living, regardless of age.
Your booster doses should be Pfizer or Moderna and given at least four months after the last COVID-19 vaccine dose you’ve received.
For more detailed information about who should get a COVID-19 booster and when, visit https://manitoba.ca/covid19/vaccine/eligibility-criteria.html.
Why should I get a booster dose?
Evidence suggests that the protection provided by your primary COVID-19 vaccine series (two doses for most people) decreases over time. This means it has become less effective at preventing mild illness and provides reduced protection against severe illness, particularly for people who are increased risk of serious outcomes.
A booster dose can help restore this protection. If you’d like more information about booster doses, please review this fact sheet.
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I have had COVID-19. Do I still need a booster dose?
For those Manitobans who have contracted COVID-19, it is recommended that they wait to get their next COVID vaccine dose. Public health recommends the following intervals between infection and getting the vaccine:
- two months if you have not completed a two-dose primary series.
- three months if you have completed your primary series and eligible for a booster dose.
Recommendations may be different if you are moderately to severely immunocompromised. Please speak to your health care provider to get the best advice on when to get your next vaccine dose after a COVID-19 infection.
Where can I get my COVID-19 booster dose?
Booster doses are available at many locations across the province, including medical clinics, pharmacies and vaccine sites. Use the online vaccine finder to locate the one that’s right for you, then click on the icon on the map for more information, including how to book your appointment.
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose Finder
Whether it’s your first dose or your second booster, find out where to get your COVID-19 vaccine using this interactive map. Click the type of vaccine you’re looking for and any other details. When you find the location that’s right for you, click on the icon on the map for more information, including how to book your appointment.
How Does the Vaccine Protect
You from Variants?
While the Omicron variant looks different, it is still a version of COVID-19. When you get a booster dose, your body is flooded with antibodies—even more than what you had after your second dose.
Antibodies are proteins that your immune system makes to help fight infection and protect you from getting sick in the future. While fewer of the antibodies in your system may recognize Omicron, there are such large numbers of them that your body may be able to fight off the infection altogether, or you may experience milder symptoms.
It’s important to remember that antibodies are not the only part of your immune system that works against Omicron. T cells are also very good at preventing serious illness, and it appears that T cells are still doing a good job of recognizing Omicron in those that are vaccinated thus far. When you receive a booster dose, your antibodies and the other parts of the immune response, like T cells, all become more effective.
Be Getting a Fourth Dose?
People who are 12 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are recommended to get a total of four doses, with eight weeks between dose 1 and 2, at least 28 days between dose 2 and 3, and at least six months between dose 3 and 4.
Fourth doses can be given at provincial vaccine clinics, pharmacies, and healthcare providers. A prescription from a health care provider is required if the vaccine is being administered anywhere but in a physician’s office. Please bring your prescription with you when you go for your fourth dose.
How Contagious is Omicron?
The Omicron variant was first reported to the World Health Organization on November 24, 2021. Less than one month later, several jurisdictions in Canada, including Manitoba, began reporting Omicron cases.
The United Kingdom Health Security Agency reported that their Omicron cases were doubling every three days. Ontario began reporting the same. This data suggests that Omicron is more contagious than both the original virus and the Delta variant.
With the Manitoba health care system nearing capacity, it is in everyone’s best interest that we all do what we can to limit the spread of COVID-19. The most important tool we have to fight COVID is vaccination—whether it’s getting your first, second, or third dose.
Protecting our community works best when we all do our part.