FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers currently eligible to receive a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are strongly encouraged to immediately book their appointment.

“Due to Omicron’s high transmissibility, getting a booster shot of vaccine is especially important as it gives you an added layer of protection,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “With lots of vaccine and appointments available for booster doses, I urge everyone eligible to get their dose as soon as possible.

The following groups can book an appointment for a booster dose if at least five months has passed since their second dose:

  • people 50 and older;
  • members of First Nations communities; and
  • residents of nursing homes and adult residential facilities.

And the following groups, including immediate household family members 18 and older:

  • health-care personnel – including those working in long-term care facilities;
  • school personnel; and
  • early childhood education and daycare staff.

People who are immunocompromised can book a booster dose if at least five months have passed since their last mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

“Very soon, we will be expanding the eligibility for booster doses so it is imperative those who are high risk who can get their dose now, book an appointment at a regional health authority clinic or reach out to a participating pharmacy,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “New Brunswickers eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose can book their appointment online.”

Registration now required for rapid-test kits

People with COVID-19 symptoms are required to register online for a PCR test or rapid test under the provincial government’s new testing strategy.

By completing the online form, people can determine which type of test they are eligible to receive.

Those with symptoms, and who are aged two to 49 and otherwise healthy will be advised to take a rapid test. After registering their information, people can book an appointment to pick up a rapid-test kit at a hub or mobile-site location. Anyone picking up rapid tests must present an email confirmation of their appointment.

PCR tests are reserved for people at the highest risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19. These include:

  • Health-care workers and those who live or work in long-term care facilities, homeless shelters and correctional facilities.
  • People who are symptomatic and aged 50 and over.
  • People who are symptomatic and immunocompromised.
  • People who are symptomatic and pregnant.
  • People who are identified as a priority by Public Health.

People who need a PCR test for travel, residents of First Nations communities and children under two are also eligible to receive a PCR test.

People who are isolating because of their symptoms are permitted to leave isolation to attend a test appointment.

Moderna vaccine available

To preserve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine supply for future booster clinics for those aged 12 to 29, current eligible groups will be offered Moderna at booster clinics, regardless of which vaccine was administered for previous doses.

“Moderna is a safe and effective vaccine, and as the number of COVID-19 cases rise due to the Omicron variant, it becomes increasingly important for people to get their booster of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Russell said.

Russell said that mixed doses of Moderna and Pfizer are now considered to be acceptable for most international travel including to the United States.

Hospitalizations and case numbers

Public Health reported there are 19 people in intensive care and another 44 in hospital for a total of 63 people hospitalized. Of those in hospital, 46 are over 60 and 11 people are on a ventilator. No one under 19 is hospitalized. Hundreds of health-care workers across the province continue to isolate at home due to the virus. The seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated. Information about the rates of cases and hospitalizations based on vaccination status, the age and origin of new cases, and additional information, is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Based upon information available from PCR tests, Public Health is reporting 227 recoveries and 672 new cases of COVID-19 today. Effective Saturday, Jan. 8, PCR-confirmed test numbers and other data updates will be available only on the dashboard and will not be included in future news releases.

Of the new reported cases, 135 are in Zone 1 (Moncton region), 323 are in Zone 2 (Saint John region), 85 are in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), 65 are in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), six are in Zone 5 (Campbellton region), 43 are in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) and 15 are in Zone 7 (Miramichi region).

One person has died as a result of COVID-19. A person 30-39 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region).

As of today, 83 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 90.5 per cent have received their first dose of a vaccine and 22.6 per cent have received a booster dose.

Learn more

All of New Brunswick is in the Level 2 phase of the winter plan to manage COVID-19. More information on the COVID-19 alert system, including guidance on public health measures, restrictions and the mandatory order, is available online.

Other useful links: