Canada's Guidance On Booster Doses Could Change Because Of The Omicron Variant

Federal government officials are asking NACI to provide a quick update on the use of boosters.

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Canada's Guidance On Booster Doses Could Change Because Of The Omicron Variant

The guidance on Canada's use of booster doses could get an update soon, according to federal government officials.

During a press conference on November 30 about new travel restrictions due to the Omicron variant, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos revealed that the federal government is asking the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to give a quick update about the use of boosters.

"This call that we're making is to ask NACI to provide quick guidance on whether we should revise national standards, national attitudes and actions on the use of boosters in Canada in the context of the new Omicron variant," Duclos said.

Before this, the last update from NACI about booster doses was released on October 29 which was prior to the variant being discovered.

The committee recommended that people at the highest risk of waning vaccine protection and the highest risk of severe COVID-19 illness, including adults in long-term care or congregate living settings for seniors and adults aged 80 and older, should be offered a booster dose at least six months after the last dose of their primary series.

Also, another dose may be offered to adults from 70 to 79 years old, people who received two doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine or one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, adults in or from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and adults who are frontline health care workers who were vaccinated with a very short interval and have direct in-person contact with patients.

"There is a growing interest among Canadians from different provinces and territories on this particular issue," Duclos said.

That's one of the reasons why the government is asking for NACI to provide new guidance on boosters. The other reason is that the variant is "a source of concern" and officials believe NACI might want to take precautions.

Some provinces, including B.C. and Ontario, have already released plans to expand the eligibility for boosters to the general population. That could happen in early 2022.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

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