The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is urging long-term care homes to give residents the booster immediately, as the Delta version breaks out in facilities nationwide.
The new guidance was issued on Tuesday after the committee reviewed the evidence about immunity from vaccines, the latest safety data and the spread of COVID-19 across the country.
The committee advises long-term care residents and people living in senior citizens’ homes to get another shot of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine — such as Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna — until six years after their last shot. It’s been months.
A booster dose of a viral vector vaccine, such as Oxford-AstraZeneca, is recommended only if Pfizer or Moderna Vaccines are unavailable or the person cannot have the mRNA vaccine for medical reasons.
“At this time, boosters are not necessary for most of the population, but we want to be sure to address the early signs of vulnerability among seniors living in these settings, where shared and close living space increases the risk of exposure, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tam wrote in a statement.
NACI says there are indications that vaccine protection may not provide long-term care for seniors such as those in other populations in Canada.
Canadian studies have suggested that even though people in long-term care had a good initial antibody response to two doses of the vaccine, most residents did not have detectable levels of antibodies against the delta variant after six months. Was.
“While the vaccines initially worked very well to protect this group, we are starting to see signs of outbreaks again in long-term care settings and we are trying to protect this population from the level of dire consequences experienced early in the pandemic. Looking to stop it,” NACI President Dr. Shelley Dix wrote in a statement.
Right now, 260 long-term care and retirement homes are battling an active outbreak of COVID-19 in Canada, according to a tracker developed by the National Institute on Aging.
This is up from just 201 long-term care outbreaks in the past week.
Half of those outbreaks are taking place in Alberta, which is dealing with a spiraling health crisis during the latest wave of the pandemic.
Long-term care has borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, where aging residents and collective life proved to be a tragic combination.
According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information, about 69 percent of Canada’s total pandemic-related deaths occurred in long-term care homes as of February 2021.
The new advice comes weeks after provinces such as Ontario announced they would expand eligibility for a third dose to long-term care residents.
Saskatchewan, Alberta, and most recently, Quebec have also been offering boosters to residents in care homes, while Manitoba has increased the third dose for long-term care residents in the First Nations.
The NACI has previously recommended boosters for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, as evidence suggests that some immunocompromised people have a lower immune response to COVID-19 vaccines than others. Is.