Do I or my loved one need a booster dose?

The World Health Organization has officially announced that the COVID-19 global emergency is over [1], but that the virus is still a global threat to health and safety. Not only are deaths and severe illness still being recorded, but there are a lot of people who are living with post-COVID-19 effects. It’s still incredibly important for people to take safety precautions. This includes vaccinations.

You’ve probably heard or read about COVID-19 vaccine boosters, but you may not be sure what it is or if it’s something you or your loved one with a brain injury should get.

What is a booster dose?

A booster dose is a vaccination you can receive after your first two shots (the primary series). Booster doses give you more protection against severe illness. As the name suggests, it gives your immune system and your primary vaccinations a boost.

Should I or my loved one get a booster dose?

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that anyone 18 years and older should receive at least one booster dose after getting their primary series of vaccinations [2]. Adults 18+ with higher risks of severe illness from COVID-19, as well as people aged 65+, should be able to access a booster dose from the start of fall 2022.

As of spring 2023, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended that the following groups be eligible for an additional booster dose [3]:

  • Adults 80 years and older
  • Adult residents of long-term care homes and other congregate living settings for seniors or those with complex medical care needs
  • Adults 18 years of age and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised (due to an underlying condition or treatment)
  • Adults 65 to 79 years of age, particularly if they haven’t had the virus before

If you or your loved one fall into one of those categories, you can talk to your doctor or look into your province/territory’s vaccination clinics.

More information on COVID-19 booster doses by province/territory

You can learn more about what vaccination doses you are eligible for from your province/territory.

[1] The World Health Organization, “WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing – 5 May 2023”, 2023

[2] The Government of Canada, “COVID-19 vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide“, 2023

[3] National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), “Guidance on an additional COVID-19 booster dose in the spring of 2023 for individuals at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19“, 2023