COVID-19: How to stay safe this fall

September 1, 2022

With fall and the return to school upon us, health experts are reminding us all about the importance of continuing to take precautions to protect ourselves against COVID-19 and other seasonal viruses.

Take precautions

The COVID-19 virus can spike at any time and with more people returning to in-person work and children returning to the classroom, it’s important to prepare for an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the months ahead, along with the potential for new variants. One way to prepare is to follow the same precautions that have been in place since the start of the pandemic, to help reduce the risk of infection and the potential for spreading the virus:

  • Limit the size of indoor gatherings and/or socially distancing when possible
  • Wear a mask or double-layer masks to provide more protection
  • Frequently wash your hands

The best defense is vaccination

While the above precautions are important, the best defense is vaccination. That’s why experts are urging people to remain diligent when it comes to getting themselves and their loved ones vaccinated and boosted. And Health Canada just authorized the use of Moderna's Omicron-targeting bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for those 18 years and older.

The "Spikevax Bivalent" booster dose is an adapted version of the original Moderna mRNA vaccine, and targets both the original strain of COVID-19 as well as the Omicron variant – essentially making it two vaccines in one. More than 10 million doses will be coming to Canada by the end of September; however, those who are eligible for a booster now and those who are at highest risk should not delay their planned vaccination or boost in anticipation of the bivalent vaccine.

Don’t forget about the flu

With fall also comes flu season. To help prevent putting extra burden on our already overwhelmed healthcare system, Canadians are also being urged to get the flu shot which not only protects against the influenza virus, but also helps reduce an individual’s chances of being infected with COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.

Combining COVID-19 vaccinations with the flu shot

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, it is safe for people aged 12 or older to get the flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine, though the National Advisory Council on Immunization recommends children aged five to 11 have a 14-day interval between a COVID-19 shot and other vaccines.

COVID-19 continues to circulate worldwide and it’s important we all remain diligent in doing what we can to protect ourselves and those around us. For more information, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 resource page.