New Brunswick plans to expand eligibility for COVID-19 booster injections


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HALIFAX –

As Ontario, Alberta and the United States lower the age of eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots, New Brunswick plans to do the same. The province says how much the age will drop depends on the supply.

“As soon as we learn from the federal government that our other expedition is on its way, we’ll be ready to go,” said Dorothy Shephard, Minister of Health.

Ontario on Wednesday announced recall plans for anyone aged 50 and over. In Alberta, all adults will soon be eligible – starting with the oldest.

New Brunswick’s current criteria mean that people 65 years of age and older, as well as high-risk groups, such as those living in long-term care facilities, healthcare workers, and First Nations communities, may benefit from a recall. People who have received one or two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as school personnel, are also eligible.

Nova Scotia’s criteria for recalls mirror NACI’s recommendations – which include recalls for high-risk groups such as those aged 70 and over, healthcare workers, and those 30 and over who are members. First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities.

In all cases, people should wait six months after their second dose to get a booster.

When asked if NACI would expand its criteria, Health Canada said NACI is actively reviewing the available evidence in Canada and other countries and will provide updated advice on booster doses.

“NACI is factoring in variations of concern throughout its deliberations, and that will be a consideration for its advice on the recall program,” a Health Canada spokesperson said Thursday.

“Should each person get a booster dose just because we are entering a Delta dominant respiratory season and it’s been six months?” I don’t think the data is there, ”said infectious disease specialist Dr. Lisa Barrett.

The emerging variant of Omicron has created questions but so far few answers.

“It’s totally different to wanting something that protects us from Omicron because we don’t have that data yet,” Barrett said.

Arthur Schafer teaches ethics at the University of Manitoba. He believes provinces should provide reminders if it means protecting health care systems.

“But we must insist that intellectual property laws be changed so that South Africa and other countries can manufacture the vaccines without having to pay big bucks,” Schafer said.

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