Since last week Public Health is no longer recommending boosters for the general population. The pharmacies still do, as I found out today. So I left them a printout...
It keeps me wondering how certain information is propagated widely and expediently, while some other is not. But this is something where we all can help, can't we?
Disclaimer: As always, I’m serving here solely as a messenger of new positive information and good will, not representing any organization, in effort to help our communities, while also promoting critical thinking and appreciation for the democratic foundations of our country.
The exact recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), which was published last week is quoted below:
NACI now recommends that:
o Starting in the spring of 2023, an additional booster dose may be offered 6 or more months from the last COVID-19 vaccine dose or infection to the following individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19: (Discretionary NACI recommendation)
Adults 80 years of age and older
Adults 65 to 79 years of age, particularly if they do not have a known history of SARS-CoV-2 infection
Adult residents of long-term care homes and other congregate living settings for seniors or those with complex medical care needs
Adults 18 years of age and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised due to an underlying condition or treatment
Additional quotes from the new NACI statement, entitled “Guidance on an additional COVID-19 booster dose in the spring of 2023 for individuals at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19” further clarify the new recommendations:
Spring 2023 COVID-19 booster dose recommendations have a focus on populations who are at increased risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes, including hospitalization and death.
Age is a very important risk factor for severe disease. The risk of hospitalization and intensive care admission increases with age.
So, does the provided quote from Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer:
“…Given the current COVID-19 epidemiology, including the relatively stable disease activity we have observed in recent months, and generally high levels of antibodies against COVID-19 from vaccines and/or infection among Canadians, NACI is currently not recommending an additional bivalent booster for the general population this spring. However, individuals at highest risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19, including older adults and individuals considered immunocompromised, may be offered a spring bivalent booster dose… “
When however I went to the local pharmacy today, they appeared not to be aware of this new guidance from our Public Health agency. When I asked them if they still offer boosters children (I am a father of four), the responded without much hesitation that they do…
So, this is where I saw a problem… In fact, for better or worse, I was expecting them to respond this way, which is why I printed this four-page NACI statement, and left a copy with them. I also did mention to them that I was a bit concerned that the same recommendations were given to children and elderly, for those who was already sick with covid and those who were not, and that - thanks to this new Guidance - this is no longer the case.
I know people who work in our local pharmacy for many years, so we had a nice chat after that, joking on how some information seems to be circulated much faster and wider by our main stream channels than other, like the other quotes from the same document: for example,
Saying that “Booster doses help to build back protection against severe disease”, without saying that “[it] wanes over time after COVID-19 vaccination or infections”, or
Saying “high levels of antibodies against COVID-19 from vaccines”, but not saying the second part “from vaccines and/OR infection among Canadians”.
Anyway, if you wish, you can do the same. Print this NACI statement (or this newsletter :) and share it with your friends and neighbours.
On my part, I will be seeing my family doctor next week - looking forward to find out how fast this new guidance is circulated over there.
Again, here’s the 4 -page summary: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/publications/vaccines-immunization/national-advisory-committee-immunization-summary-guidance-additional-covid-19-booster-dose-spring-2023-individuals-high-risk-severe-illness-due-covid-19-march-3-2023/summary.pdf. And here is the full document (linked from the summary): https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/canadian-immunization-guide-part-4-active-vaccines/page-26-covid-19-vaccine.html