Canada’s national advisory body on vaccines now recommends giving third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to certain immunocompromised individuals, but still hasn’t reached a decision on whether to provide additional shots to the broader population.
Released on Friday, the new recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) stipulate that moderately to severely immunocompromised Canadians should be vaccinated with a primary series of three doses of an authorized mRNA-based vaccine, which includes those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
For those who’ve already had a two-dose series, NACI recommends providing a third dose, ideally of an mRNA vaccine — but the committee stressed this should not be considered a “booster.”
Dr. Shelley Deeks, NACI’s chair, explained in a statement that the goal is providing an extra shot to people who “may have somewhat lower responses to their first vaccinations.”
“This is not unusual for immunocompromised groups, where we often recommend different vaccine schedules to help them achieve better protection,” she continued. “This is different from a booster dose, which would be used to boost an immune response that has waned over time.”
The committee is also looking at whether additional doses might be needed for other groups, “but it is too early to comment on the state of the evidence for general boosters at this time,” Deeks said.
More to come.