Quebec Standard

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thoughts on Booster shots with the new COVID-19 strain “Omicron”

A nurse preparing vaccines in the Wizink Center, which is currently being used for COVID-19.

The first examples of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Canada were discovered more than a week ago. While the authorities have reacted quickly, there is still a lot of important information regarding the new strain, such as its transmissibility and disease seriousness.

Further, there are doubts about the usefulness of immunizations, especially booster doses, in protecting against Omicron. However, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam cautions against waiting until additional information or possibly a new vaccine becomes available.

“The level of Omicron protection from the primary series and booster dosage remains to be evaluated, and we’ll learn a lot more about it in the days ahead,” she stated at a press briefing on Friday. “However, it is still prudent to maximize the chance of vaccine safety by, first and foremost, making the vaccine available to anyone who has not had their primary dosages.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization declared on Friday that it highly advises persons older than 50 years to get a COVID-19 booster vaccine. The group also made a voluntary recommendation for booster injections for Canadians aged 18 to 49, stating that they “may” be administered the third dosage depending on their personal risks and where they reside. These suggestions would have been made whether or not the Omicron variation was present, according to Tam.

The incidence of Delta cases in Canada, according to Tam, is one of the main reasons for this advice. This variation has accounted for the majority of daily new cases across the country for months. Delta is also the most common COVID-19 variation worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Another factor to consider, according to Hota, is how long it might take to develop a new vaccination that precisely targets the Omicron form. If a completely new formula is required, Hota estimates that it will take many months for the world to see a new vaccine due to development, testing, regulatory clearances, and manufacturing.

Pfizer and BioNTech, for example, have stated that developing and shipping a new vaccine would take roughly 100 days.

Source: CTV News

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