Is it time for your COVID booster? New federal guidelines tell you IG News

IG news Update,

For those wondering if and when they should get their next COVID-19 booster shot, federal health officials have issued new guidance.

In early spring, an additional booster dose is recommended for adults 80 and older, or who live in long-term care homes or assisted living arrangements, either for seniors or For those in need of complex medical care, according to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) issued guidance Friday.

The NACI also recommends that people 18 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised due to an underlying condition or treatment, as well as those between the ages of 65 and 79 if they do not have COVID-19 If so, look for a booster.

“I think it’s smart policy because if you look at who’s most likely to end up in the hospital or have worse outcomes, it’s this group of people,” said Dr. Former Director Dr. Fahad Razak said. Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table.

For individuals who do not fit those categories, at this time the NACI is only recommending one more dose if they have not already received the recommended dose – their initial two or three vaccine doses and any boosters at this time. last fall.

NACI said they expect an adequate supply of COVID-19 bivalent boosters will be available for the recommended groups.

Vaccine protection against infection and symptoms has been shown to wane over time with the original monovalent COVID-19 vaccines, although protection against severe outcomes lasts longer than protection against symptomatic disease, according to the NACI.

“The effectiveness of vaccines against severe disease is generally greater and more lasting than against infection,” the NACI said.

The committee’s guidance said some Canadian data suggests vaccine safety may reach a plateau for adults with hybrid immunity — those who have had at least one exposure to COVID-19 and at least one vaccine. It was a dose.

NACI noted that people with hybrid immunity demonstrated little benefit from booster shots of the original mRNA vaccines under certain circumstances – health care workers found little additional protection against infection/symptomatic disease from the Omicron subvariant BA.2; and the non-institutionalized elderly population was found to have little protection against hospitalization due to Omicron subvariants BA.1, BA.2 and BA.4/5. (Current epidemiology suggests that the Omicron sublineage remains the dominant strain of the virus.)

Razak said that testing is no longer widespread and routine, with researchers relying on waste data to determine how much the virus is spreading. This data shows a possible increase in infections in Ontario over the past few weeks.

“It has now remained relatively high since Omicron first emerged – it hasn’t really gone down to very low levels like we saw between waves before,” Razak said. 2 and XBB.1.5 are each triggering a new wave of infections.

The good news, Razak said, is that there hasn’t been a “meaningful increase in hospitalizations” yet. Razak attributed this to prior infections and vaccinations, which created some degree of durable immunity against severe disease throughout the population.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician, called the guidance a reasonable approach and said we may see changes to the recommendations over time.

“We know that there are different groups that are at very low risk for severe COVID-19 that have already had two or three or more vaccine doses and maybe those groups would really benefit a lot from a vaccine at this point in time. Not going to happen. Bogoch said, reiterating that this could change.

To help prevent the infection and spread of COVID-19, Razak said it makes sense for the general population to wear masks in crowded indoor settings like transit and grocery stories.

“Even if you are not at high risk of ending up in the hospital, infection can be very disruptive. It can be missed work, it can be missed family events, it can be missed school,” Razak said.

NACI said it will continue to monitor COVID-19 across the country as well as new evidence on vaccines, and update recommendations if necessary.

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