Well being officers hope new Omicron vaccine will enhance uptake of COVID-19 boosters – Quesnel Cariboo Observer


Well being Canada authorised on Thursday using the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster vaccine that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the Omicron variant.

The vaccine, which is authorised for folks a minimum of 12 years outdated, might be given three to 6 months after a second dose of the first vaccine sequence, or the latest booster shot.

Well being Canada stated the bivalent booster has already been given to almost 5 million folks in the USA and there have been no new security issues.

“Canada could have sufficient provide of the Omicron-targeting bivalent vaccines to cowl the anticipated demand for fall boosters,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public well being officer, stated on Thursday.

Njoo stated individuals who already had a booster shot of the unique mRNA vaccines don’t have to get a bivalent booster.

“Proof continues to indicate that unique mRNA vaccines present good safety towards severe sickness and hospitalization,” he stated.

It’s the second mixture vaccine greenlighted by Well being Canada’s vaccine assessment staff, however the first that targets the virus strains that at the moment are commonest in Canada.

The Moderna mixture shot authorised 5 weeks in the past targets the unique virus and the primary Omicron variant, whereas the Pfizer shot targets the BA.4 and BA.5 strains. The Moderna vaccine is authorised for people who find themselves 18 and older.

Well being Canada stated 88 per cent of the COVID-19 circumstances recognized in mid-September have been BA.5 and 9 per cent have been BA.4.

“We’re beginning to see a rise in circumstances, we’re heading into the autumn season, there’s a variety of gatherings and festivals which can be taking place as nicely, so we all know that there’s going to be growing circulating virus,” stated Dr. Supriya Sharma, Well being Canada’s chief medical adviser.

If it has been lower than three months since a COVID-19 an infection or a booster, the brand new bivalent vaccine isn’t advisable as a result of it is not going to be as efficient, Sharma stated.

Well being Canada was already reviewing a BA.1 vaccine from Pfizer, however stated it selected to prioritize the newer vaccine as a result of it was anticipated to be in greater demand.

Officers say at this stage of the pandemic it’s difficult to know what variants could also be rising subsequent, however that Omicron appears to have probably the most endurance.

“There’s a little bit of a variant soup on the market proper now,” Sharma stated.

Uptake of booster vaccines has not been wherever close to as excessive because the preliminary vaccines. About 82 per cent of Canadians acquired two doses of a vaccine as of Sept. 11, however simply shy of fifty per cent have a minimum of one booster.

“We’ve plenty of consultants behind the scenes taking a look at what alternative ways or what methods we will reinforce when it comes to giving the correct data, not simply to the common Canadian to be fairly sincere, but in addition to health-care suppliers and neighborhood leaders utilizing a number of platforms, so that individuals on the finish of the day could make an knowledgeable resolution,” Njoo stated.

He acknowledged there was vaccine fatigue over the previous two years, however stated he believes folks will begin to consider updating their COVID-19 vaccines in an analogous approach to the annual flu shot.

“We definitely anticipate that we are going to enhance and enhance uptake.”

—Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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