COVID-19: What you need to know about booster doses

The government is launching a “mass vaccination campaign” against COVID-19 to prepare for a possible new wave this fall, but Quebecers are divided on the relevance of booster doses.

The booster dose is not yet popular among the general population. The proportion of Quebecers over 5 who received their third dose remains at about 56%, although 88% of people over 60 received it. Are these numbers related to pandemic fatigue? At a press conference, Minister of Health and Human Services Christian Dube instead attributed them to the large number of people who have recently contracted COVID, especially among young people.

It is important for public health officials to seek recall in order to maintain the level of protection. “We need to remind our immune memory of what it is supposed to do,” said Caroline Kuah-Tan, president of the Committee for Immunization of Quebec (CIQ), infectious disease microbiologist, specifying that currently available messenger RNA-based vaccines provide 6 -8-week protection against infection and 5-6 months protection against hospitalization with Omicron sub-options.

Recommended Intervals

No more counting doses! Now you must take into account the time since the last injection to determine if it’s time for a new one. All adults who received their last dose five or more months ago should receive a booster dose.

What if you are one of the many Quebecers who have contracted the disease in recent months? “If you have had COVID, we recommend waiting three months,” Minister Dube said. Consider the most recent event so you know when to vaccinate.

Suggested vaccination schedule

Autumn vaccination, carried out from August 15 in subsidiaries and private nursing homes (RPAs), should end on September 25. People aged 60 and over, as well as medical staff, can make an appointment at Clic Santé. Those over the age of 18 will be able to imitate them from August 29th.

In addition to pharmacies offering this service, about 150 vaccination clinics have been established. The campaign will lead to the opening of major centers such as the Olympic Stadium clinic in Montreal. According to Minister Dube, the health network has about 300,000 vaccines per week. “We have the opportunity to vaccinate everyone,” he says.

Next Generation Vaccines

The peculiarity of the “bivalent vaccine” is that it targets both the original coronavirus strain and the Omicron BA.1 subvariant. Developed by Moderna, it has recently been approved in the UK, where it will be used for booster doses in adults. In comparison, currently available vaccines are monovalent and match the original coronavirus.

Should you wait until next generation vaccines are available here to lend a helping hand? No, according to health authorities, which point to uncertainty surrounding the date of approval by Health Canada and the number of vaccines available. Health Canada is currently considering licensing applications for Moderna’s bivalent vaccine and Pfizer’s updated vaccine.

What about those under 18?

With a new school year that will be accompanied by an increase in the number of contacts, the question arises of updating the vaccination of younger children.

All adolescents aged 12 to 17 years are already eligible for a booster dose, with a minimum period of five months following the last main dose. So far, less than 20% of them have received it. It is recommended for young people with a high risk of complications, which includes certain diseases, as well as the fact of living in a closed collective environment.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) authorizes a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine approved as a booster dose for this age group.

For babies aged 6 months to 4 years, vaccination began in July, so there is no talk of revaccination yet. According to the Ministry, less than 10,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to about 400,000 children in this age group. Only Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine is approved by Health Canada for use in children aged 0 to 4 years. CIQ also recommends this vaccine.

>> Read also: COVID-19: what to expect this fall?


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