New COVID Booster Guidelines To Be Released As Omicron Spreads

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is set to release new guidance this morning on the use of booster COVID-19 vaccine as public health faces the threat of the Omicron variant.

The new variant came to light late last week and has prompted tougher border measures around the world, as the World Health Organization warns that the large number of mutations could indicate that it is more transmissible than previous strains. .

The government issued an urgent request to the advisory committee for new guidelines on the eligibility criteria for boosters to protect Canadians against the new version of the virus.

“We know Canadians are increasingly asking whether they should … get reinforcements, and that question is obviously of greater importance now with the new variant,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told a conference on Tuesday. press.

“We are explicitly asking NACI to quickly present a revised vision of where, how and to whom these reinforcements should be administered.”

It was at the same press conference that ministers announced a series of stringent new tests and isolation measures for travelers entering Canada as part of an effort to ensure that no one unknowingly imports a box of the new variant. to Canada. The government has also banned entry to foreign nationals who recently transited 10 African countries.

Still, cases of Omicron have already appeared across the country. Although most involve recent travel, one case, reported in Alberta, involved home transmission.

On November 19, the advisory committee suggested that to date there is no evidence that protection against severe COVID-19 disease has decreased in the fully vaccinated general population.

Emerging evidence suggests that while the vaccine becomes less effective at preventing infection over time, protection against serious illness and death appears to be more durable.

The advisory committee has strongly recommended boosters for people who are immunosuppressed, living in long-term care facilities, and people over the age of 80.

#NACI to respond to the urgent request for reinforcement directives # COVID19 against #Omicron. #CDNPoli

The committee also recommended that boosters be offered to various other groups, including people over the age of 70, people who received a full series of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccine, people from or from First Nations communities, Inuit and Métis, and front-line health workers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that when it comes to reinforcements, the priority is to follow NACI’s advice on who should receive them and when, in light of the Omicron variant.

Vaccine supply will not be a problem, he said.

“We have a lot of booster shots in Canada, we’re getting more in the new year. We’re doing well in terms of quantity. The problem is what is the best recommendation for people to get those boosters and when,” he said. .

Despite NACI’s advice to date, many provinces have forged ahead with their own COVID-19 booster strategies and, in some cases, have pledged to offer them to any adult who wants one in the coming weeks.

NACI officials are expected to hold a media briefing at 11 am ET.

This Canadian Press report was first published on December 3, 2021.

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