The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is urging jurisdictions to deploy the latest series of booster shots against COVID-19 in time for fall.
NACI is “strongly” recommending additional shots for Canadians older than 65, residents of long-term care, those older than 12 with medical conditions that put them at “high risk of severe” COVID-19 as well as people from Indigenous communities and racialized communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, all other Canadians between 12 and 64 are being given a discretionary recommendation for the latest series of booster doses.
NACI said Wednesday it will be given recommendations at a later date for the specific types of booster vaccines as new COVID-19 vaccine formulations more adept at fighting prevalent strains become available.
“The likelihood, timing, and severity of a future wave of COVID-19 is uncertain,” NACI said in a Wednesday statement.
“However, the later fall and winter months are expected to be associated with a resurgence of SARS-CoV-2 community transmission due to indoor and seasonal gatherings … Fall and winter is also a time when the incidence rates of other respiratory diseases are elevated, which leads to increased pressure on health systems.”
The province embarked on offering second booster shots this past spring to British Columbians deemed most at risk. That includes those 70 and up, residents of long-term care homes and Indigenous people over the age of 55.
A second booster dose would be the fourth overall dose for the vast majority of Canadians who received two jabs as part of their primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
Most British Columbians have not been eligible to receive that potential fourth dose.
NACI said previously provinces should aim to have those second booster doses in the arms of recipients six months after their previous shot. B.C. provided most booster doses to the general population in January and February, while those considered to be more at risk received their first booster jabs in the weeks prior.