A federal advisory committee yesterday said Canadians may consider getting a COVID shot every 90 days. The Department of Health only weeks ago said a booster every nine months was sufficient.
“I understand that people can feel overwhelmed,” said Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical advisor to the health department. “There’s a lot of information and the messaging has changed a little bit from the pandemic.”
“We were at the beginning, you know, ‘Run, don’t walk, get your first vaccine, get the first vaccine that’s available to you,’” said Sharma. “It was really straightforward in terms of that initial messaging. But it does get more complicated, right, because we are in a different situation.”
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said shots “may be warranted” every 90 days, the tightest deadline discussed to date.
“A shorter interval of at least three months may be warranted in the context of heightened epidemiological risk as well as operational considerations for the efficient deployment of the COVID-19 vaccination program,” said a Summary Of National Advisory Committee On Immunization Statement Of September 1.
Current recommendations state boosters should only be required for Canadians over 65 and younger patients with underlying health issues. “Informed consent should include discussion regarding what is known and unknown about the benefits and risks of providing a booster shot,” said Summary.
Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, said a booster every six months “is not enough” due to waning effectiveness. “If you’ve had a previous booster dose, whatever number you’ve had before, or infection, you should wait six months, but certainly based on local circumstances, other considerations, that interval may be decreased down to like three months or so,” said Njoo.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos earlier told reporters a shot every nine months was sufficient. “Nine months is very clear,” Duclos said June 30.
“‘Fully vaccinated’ makes no sense now,” said Duclos. “It’s about ‘up to date.’ So am I up to date in my vaccination? Have I received a vaccination in the last nine months?”
“Are you setting the stage for the return of vaccine mandates in the fall?” asked a reporter. “We must continue to fight against COVID,” replied Duclos.
“We will never be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Duclos. “Like the virus, our immunity also evolves.”
“Two doses are no longer enough,” said Duclos. “We must keep our vaccination up to date.”
“‘Up to date’ means you have received your last dose in the past nine months,” said Duclos. “If you’ve already received a first booster that’s great. Please see if you’re eligible for a second or third booster to remain up to date.”