FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is lowering the age eligibility for the second COVID-19 booster shot to 18.

Booster doses are available at pharmacies. Public Health will also be offering clinics in some areas of the province to ensure access.

“The number of cases of COVID-19 is increasing and therefore the risk to New Brunswickers is going up,” said Dr. Jennifer Russel, chief medical officer of health. “Vaccines are our best defence against severe outcomes. Expanding booster eligibility will give people an extra layer of protection.”

The decision to make a second booster dose available is based on current trends within the province and across Canada that show increasing risk. Russell said there are indications that New Brunswick is at the start of a period of heightened activity of COVID-19, driven by Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

“Vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk,” said Russell. “It is also important to continue to stay home when you are sick, get tested when you are experiencing symptoms, and practise good hand hygiene.”

“Pharmacists continue to play a vital role in primary health care,” said Jake Reid, executive director of the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association. “As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread, we encourage New Brunswickers to check with their pharmacist to see if they are up to date with their COVID vaccines and if they are eligible, to schedule a next dose. You can visit any New Brunswick pharmacy offering appointments.”

You are eligible for a booster vaccine if five months have passed since your last dose.

New Brunswickers are encouraged to assess and manage their personal risk. When assessing personal risk, people should consider their own risk factors for severe illness and hospitalization as well as those of family members and friends, in addition to the settings in which they interact.

Personal risk factors for severe illness include:

  • being 50 or older;
  • being immunocompromised;
  • having chronic conditions; and
  • not being fully vaccinated and boosted, if eligible.

Those who have risk factors should consider additional preventive measures such as:

  • avoiding or limiting time spent in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor places;
  • minimizing close contact with anyone who has cold-like symptoms; and
  • continuing to use a mask, distancing and frequent hand washing.

More information about COVID-19 vaccines is available online.