Janet Lang got two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, but she still wears double masks every time she leaves her house.
That’s because Lange, 73, is taking oral chemotherapy to control a rare leukemia. Although the drugs helped prevent cancer, they also suppressed her immune system, leaving her constantly worried that despite her being fully immunized, it wasn’t enough to protect her from COVID-19.
“I feel very weak,” Lang told CBC News in an interview near her home in Waterloo, Ontario.
She said a booster dose would help ease her concerns, especially when it came to the delta formula.
“I would like to see it on the agenda [in Canada]Lang said.
The booster shots will be one of Canadian officials’ next big decisions, with the emergence of a more transmissible delta variant, lack of clarity on when boosters might be needed, and calls from the World Health Organization to pollinate the planet ahead of rich nations. Worry about the third dose.
In general, booster injections are used to increase the antibody response to the virus after “stimulating” the immune system with primary vaccination (eg, tetanus injection). Additional shots of the vaccine can also help the body fight different types of virus (such as the annual flu shot).
Vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer and Moderna, are working to develop and test the safety and effectiveness of booster shots against Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – and potential new variants.
At this point, Canadian experts say, the current COVID-19 vaccine schedule offers excellent protection, including against the delta variant. But they say it is not yet known how long this protection lasts in different populations – and thus when or whether a booster dose is needed.
However, Lang may get her wish in the coming months if Canada follows in the footsteps of the British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), which is already issuing guidance on possibly starting a booster-dose campaign in about two months’ time.
“The JCVI interim advice is that if a booster program is needed, a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to the most vulnerable groups, starting in September 2021 to increase individual protection and protect the NHS. [National Health Service] Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, said: In a press release.
The British commission recommends that those who are immunosuppressed, those living in long-term care or retirement homes, people aged 70 and over, and front-line health workers, should be the first to receive a third dose of the COVID vaccine, or booster dose.
Dr Alison McGuire, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said the UK’s targeted approach to booster doses was “immediate”.
“People who live in long-term care facilities, people who are immunocompromised, generate lower levels of antibodies and they decline faster over time,” McGuire said.
“There will probably be some people who won’t be well protected in October or November who might be better protected if they get an extra dose of the vaccine.”
Watch | COVID-19 vaccine boost is being considered for the most vulnerable
Andre Villette, an immunologist at the Montreal Institute for Clinical Research and a member of the Canadian COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, said that although vaccines are doing an excellent job of controlling COVID-19 in Canada at the moment, he believes it would be wise to advance Booster shots for vulnerable populations in the fall.
“[In] In light of the fact that in Canada we’re likely to get more and more of this delta variant, I think it’s reasonable to start thinking that we’ll also need a booster dose or a third dose,” Villette said.
McGeer and Veillette agree that the booster injections should go to people in long-term care, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems first
WHO chief criticizes booster shots
But some experts, including the World Health Organization, say policymakers need to look at the broader picture when they consider whether to introduce booster doses – including the fact that many people in the world have not yet been able to get their first dose. COVID vaccine dose.
“Some countries with high vaccination coverage are now planning to roll out booster doses in the coming months,” said Dr. In a press briefing on Wednesday.
“Vaccin-related nationalism, with a handful of countries taking the lion’s share, is morally untenable and an ineffective public health strategy against a respiratory virus that is rapidly mutating and becoming increasingly effective in human-to-human transmission,” he said.
Some Canadian doctors, including Dr. Caroline Quach Thanh, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and medical microbiologist at Chu Ste. Justin in Montreal, shared that concern — and argued that one of the best ways to protect people at risk from COVID-19 is to vaccinate as many people as possible to build herd immunity.
“If you give those [third] The doses are here, it means you don’t give it anywhere else, you know, all over the world. And at this point in time, what is absolutely required is to vaccinate the entire planet, because if we want to stop the emergence of all those worrying variables that we see day in and day out, we absolutely need to vaccinate everyone.”
However, Veillette and McGeer said that by the fall, everyone who wants to vaccinate in Canada will likely have their doses, and there should be plenty of supply to allow for boosters, especially if it is limited to only the elderly and those who are immunocompromised.
NACI monitors to see if reinforcements are needed
The Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is watching the scientific data as it develops as it considers whether or when booster shots are needed — Anna Madison, a spokeswoman for Public Health Canada, said in a statement emailed to CBC News.
“Based on previous evidence, booster vaccines may be needed when immunity drops below protective levels and if there is an increase in disease prevalence,” Madison said.
“Boost vaccines may also be needed if, due to variables of concern, the virus is no longer effectively recognized by the natural immune system or the vaccine is developing.”
Villette said that even if all the data for the boosters isn’t there yet, Canada should be prepared to use it as a proactive measure.
“I think the science may not exist موجود [yet] To prove that seniors need a third dose, but at the same time, do we need to go through what we’ve been through before? I mean, you know, outbreaks in old people’s homes and then people get really sick, and people die? ”