The National Immunization Advisory Committee (NACI) now recommends a COVID-19 vaccine booster for all adults 18 years of age and older, provided they received their full series of vaccines more than six months ago.
The advisory group especially strengthened its recommendation for people 50 years of age and older, as well as for those who have received a full series of doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. , and first line. Health workers.
The news was announced by Canada’s directors of public health, Drs. Theresa Tam and Howard Njoo, at a virtual press conference on Friday.
“In the context of the Delta variant, the evidence suggests that the efficacy of vaccines against infections and symptomatic illnesses decreases over time and that the efficacy of the vaccine against serious illnesses probably also decreases, especially in the elderly,” said Dr. Njoo.
Increase in the number of cases.
The new recommendations come as the number of new COVID-19 cases increases across the country. The Public Health Agency of Canada said there were 2,800 daily cases, on average, in the past seven days. As of Friday, the trend continued to rise, with Quebec registering more than 1,300 cases and Ontario, more than 1,000 cases per day.
Ontario has already announced plans to offer booster doses for people 50 and older starting December 13. Quebec could soon follow suit with its neighbor Ontario.
“We asked him [au Dr Horacio Arruda] for a response in the next few hours to make sure we have additional information from the CIQ (Quebec Immunization Committee). So, I hope I can tell you something early next week, “said the Minister of Health of Quebec, Christian Dubé, at a press conference.
Contrary to what the federal government had suggested, the arrival of the Omicron variant did not precipitate the disclosure of these NACI recommendations. The committee was already preparing to rule on booster doses this week, with the onset of cold weather prompting Canadians to flock inside.
“It was timely,” Dr. Tam dropped on Friday.
Canada has 11 cases of the Omicron variant so far, the Public Health Agency revealed. Although the variant is not yet widespread, Drs Tam and Njoo have continued to encourage Canadians to follow public health measures and protect themselves in the best way possible to counter the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
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“Now, and during the winter months, as the virus continues to circulate around the world and the importance and impact of the worrisome variant Omicron is assessed, further vigilance is still required,” reiterated Dr Njoo.
For adolescents and young adults 12 to 29 years of age, NACI now recommends Pfizer-BioNTech for the primary series of vaccines, due to the lower risk of myocarditis and pericarditis with this vaccine.
Purchase of anti-COVID medications
The federal government announced on Friday afternoon the signing of contracts for the purchase of oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19.
The two drugs are not yet approved by Health Canada. Ottawa has obtained one million of these oral treatments from Pfizer. Merck will provide 500,000 of its treatments, with the option to purchase another 500,000.
“As soon as the use of these drugs is authorized, our government will endeavor to send them to the provinces and territories as soon as possible,” promised Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.
“It is one more tool in our fight against COVID-19,” said the minister.
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