FALL RIVER/HALIFAX: Nova Scotia will begin to administer COVID-19 booster doses to more eligible groups by the end of November.
The province will accept all five recommendations announced on October 29 by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). This includes offering boosters to people with a higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness or decreased protection since vaccination.
“As we prepare to offer booster doses, our first priority will continue to be encouraging people who have one or no doses of COVID vaccine to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
“”Boosters may provide an added level of protection, but the best way to reduce the spread of the virus is to ensure that everyone has at least two doses of vaccine.”
NACI recommended that booster doses be offered at least six months after the primary series is completed. Groups who will be eligible for a booster dose in Nova Scotia include:
— anyone 80 and older, followed by anyone ages 70 to 79
— adult frontline healthcare workers who were double vaccinated with an interval of less than 28 days between their first and second doses
— people who received two doses of the AstraZeneca Vaxzevria/COVISHIELD vaccine or one dose of Janssen vaccine
N.S. is also engaging with Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities on the best way to offer booster doses in those communities.
Planning for the booster doses is underway, and updates to the vaccine booking system are being made. More information will be announced once booking for booster doses opens.
NACI also recommended last month that the optimal interval between first and second doses is eight weeks. Nova Scotians can still schedule their second dose as early as 28 days after the first but are encouraged to follow the NACI recommendation and wait eight weeks for their second dose.
— booster doses for people living in long-term care and other congregate settings that provide care for seniors became available October 25
— third doses for moderately to severely immunocompromised people or people who are taking medications that substantially suppress their immune system became available October 4
— people who are required to travel for work to a country that does not recognize a mixed vaccine series may be eligible for a third dose to meet entry requirements or to avoid isolation
Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan: https://novascotia.ca/vaccineplan
NACI’s October 29 interim guidance on COVID-19 booster doses: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/immunization/national-advisory-committee-on-immunization-naci/recommendations-use-covid-19-vaccines/statement-guidance-booster-doses/summary/summary.pdf