Why you probably don’t need a spring COVID booster

We have shared our planet with SARS-CoV-2 for over three years, but the science and recommendations on how to best protect against the virus and its variants are still evolving.

in the Latest major update In response to these recommendations, the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) last week launched a follow-up COVID-19 booster for people at intermediate or low risk of developing the disease. Said it would no longer be “regularly recommended”. Severe illness caused by virus. Canadian health authorities, for the most part, echo that message.

“The roadmap, updated to reflect that much of the population has been vaccinated and/or has previously had COVID-19, remains at risk of severe disease. It reemphasizes the importance of vaccinating people,” said SAGE Chair Dr Hanna Nohinek in a media release issued March 28.

“When countries decide whether to continue vaccinating low-risk groups such as healthy children and adolescents, without sacrificing routine vaccination, which is so important for the health and well-being of this age group, In addition, we have to take into account the specific circumstances.”

SAGE has defined three priority use groups (high, medium, and low) for COVID-19 vaccination based on the balance between cost-effectiveness and risk of serious illness or death.

Priority groups include the elderly, young adults with significant comorbidities such as diabetes and heart disease, immunocompromised adults and children over 6 months of age, pregnant women, and frontline health care workers. includes persons.

According to Canadian immunologist Matthew Tunis, the new SAGE guidance will: Spring booster recommendations Public Health Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) created a few weeks ago.

NACI Executive Director Tunis told, “There is a gap between what the WHO recommends that all countries consider and what the NACI recommends for COVID-19 boosters. We assess that there is a high degree of match or overlap.” Phone interview on Tuesday.

NACI recommends that high-risk Canadians get a booster dose this spring, even if they received it in the fall.

This group includes all adults over the age of 80. From age 65 he is an adult aged 79, especially if he has never had COVID-19. Adults living in long-term care facilities and other multi-family housing for older adults and those with complex medical needs. Her 18 years or older who is moderately to severely immunocompromised due to an underlying medical condition or ongoing treatment.

Healthy, fully vaccinated individuals who have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine booster can skip the spring vaccination campaign. Anyone who has received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine but has not received the first booster dose should get a booster dose as soon as possible.

As for when low-risk Canadians should get their next boost, Tunis said they could technically do it six months after their last dose. Canadian Immunization Guide, However, it is better to wait for further guidance from NACI or refer to state booster recommendations first.

For now, the committee is trying to decide whether COVID-19 boosters for the general population should be rolled out in the future as seasonal, annual, or as-needed programs.

“What we are seeing is … the hybrid immunity achieved by vaccination, even in people with a history of infection, has proven to be very stable in preventing severe disease. “But everyone is watching closely how long this immunity lasts, and if it continues to wane, continued boosters may be needed.”

Despite the continued spread of the highly contagious Omicron subspecies in Canada, hospital admissions, ICU admissions and deaths have so far remained stable.during the federal government COVID-19 update On March 10, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Teresa Tam said the virus had reached a relatively stable state in Canada.

“Uncertainty remains about the seasonal pattern of COVID-19, but current trends suggest that we may not see a large wave in the coming months as we prepare for a possible fall and winter surge. “Together with our international partners, we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

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