Canada: Authorities recommend 2nd Covid booster shot for vulnerable groups

Several provinces in Canada have relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, including dropping mask mandates or doing away with vaccine passports for certain activities.
A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine at the Decarie Square vaccination site in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Bloomberg)
A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine at the Decarie Square vaccination site in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Bloomberg)
Published on Apr 06, 2022 10:51 AM IST
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TORONTO: Canadian health authorities have recommended a fourth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, or a second booster, for vulnerable demographic groups.

Guidance released by the National Advisory Committee on Immunisation (NACI) on Tuesday said that in the “context of protection against severe disease potentially decreasing over time following the first booster dose, and/or risk of immune evasion by highly transmissible variants of concern which can cause severe disease”, it has recommended that “jurisdictions prepare for the rapid deployment of a second Covid-19 vaccine booster dose program over the coming weeks”.

The target groups to be prioritised will include adults over 80, seniors living in long-term care facilities or congregate settings. NACI also said jurisdictions could use their discretion to offer the second booster to those in the 70 to 79 age bracket.

“Covid-19 epidemiological indicators vary across Canada, with some areas seeing an increase in Covid-19 activity. An increase in Covid-19 activity is expected as public health measures are lifted and the highly transmissible Omicron BA.2 variant spreads,” NACI noted.

Nearly 85% of Canadian above the age of five are considered to be fully vaccinated, having received the primary series of two jabs. In addition, nearly 57% of those above 18 have received a booster.

Several provinces have relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, including dropping mask mandates or doing away with vaccine passports for certain activities.

The second booster may be expanded in the months ahead, as NACI co-chair Dr Robyn Harrison said, “Broad deployment of a second booster dose to the general population is not necessary at this time to support the core program goal of preventing severe disease. However, future planning should take into account that additional boosters may be required in the fall of 2022 or earlier in other groups if close monitoring suggests more concerning trends in the Covid-19 pandemic.”


    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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