Canada Expands Booster Dose Recommendations for COVID-19


OTTAWA – As COVID-19 progresses, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization now strongly recommends booster shots for adults over 50, anyone who has received the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccine as a series primary, front-line health workers and those in Indigenous communities.

The advisory committee also said adults between the ages of 18 and 49 “may be offered” a booster dose, although this recommendation has not been so strongly supported.

In all cases, booster doses of an authorized COVID-19 mRNA vaccine should be given at least six months after a person has completed their primary vaccination series.

NACI’s expanded recommendations come after it first recommended booster shots for people over 80 and seniors living in long-term care homes and other collective settings.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the science behind it, has changed rapidly since the advisory committee first issued its interim recall guidelines in late October.

Friday’s guidelines – which are up to provinces and territories to implement – were announced after the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were approved for use as booster doses.

The number of COVID-19 cases is increasing rapidly in many parts of the world and there has been a slight increase in some Canadian jurisdictions.

Studies now show that protection against the coronavirus decreases in some populations after the initial doses.

There are no safety concerns with the boosters, beyond what has already been reported after receiving a primary series of vaccines.

But there are still unanswered questions about the Omicron variant, which was first detected in Canada on November 28.

“Information on this (worrying variant) is still emerging, including its impact, if any, on the effectiveness of the vaccine,” notes the new report from NACI.

Chief public health officer Dr Theresa Tam said Friday’s recommendations were already underway and would have been released whether or not a new variant was discovered.

“Right now the Delta variant is the most dominant variant. It’s like 99.8 percent of what we have in Canada, ”Tam told reporters. “I believe the extent of protection against Omicron for the primary and booster doses remains to be seen. And we’ll learn a lot about it in the days to come.


Raisa Patel is an Ottawa reporter who covers federal politics for The Star. Follow her on Twitter: @R_SPatel


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