COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Update

The Covid Chronicle

**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Update
More Nova Scotians will soon become eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster dose.

The Province has accepted all of the new booster recommendations announced on December 3 by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Specific dates for implementing the following will be announced soon:
— expand eligibility for a booster dose to include people who are 60 and older and then work backward in descending age groups
— allow all frontline healthcare workers, including community providers like dentists and pharmacists, to schedule a booster dose regardless of the interval between their first two doses
— increase the minimum interval between first and second doses from 28 days to eight weeks; any second dose appointments currently scheduled on a 28-day interval will be honoured.

Booster doses are administered at least 168 days after the primary series.

“While we will gradually roll out booster doses to more Nova Scotians, our first priority continues to be vaccinating people who have one dose or no doses of vaccine,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. “It is important that everyone gets at least two doses of vaccine.”

Some people at greater risk of severe infection are already eligible for more than two doses. People who are 70 and older should get a booster dose and people who are immunocompromised should get a third primary series dose. Anyone who is immunocompromised will also become eligible for a booster dose 168 days after their third dose.

The Province will also make viral vector vaccines available this month for people who cannot get vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine. There will be limited doses of Janssen vaccine available at select clinics next week. Appointments can be booked online. A shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine is also expected later this month and information about where it will be offered will be released when available.

People who choose to receive a viral vector vaccine should be aware that:
— they must be 18 or older to receive one of these vaccines
— these vaccines are less effective than mRNA vaccines
— there are no viral vector booster doses at this time; booster doses must be an mRNA vaccine
— there is a risk of a serious but rare blood clotting disorder – vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) – up to six weeks after vaccination.

NACI also recommends that people under age 30 receive the Pfizer vaccine because the rare risk of myocarditis and pericarditis associated with mRNA vaccines appears more common after Moderna than Pfizer vaccine. Nova Scotia has not made Moderna available to people 17 and under. Anyone 18 to 29 in Nova Scotia is strongly encouraged to receive the Pfizer vaccine for their first, second or booster doses.

Quick Facts:
— there are about 65,000 children ages 5 to 11 who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine
— since December 1, almost 29,000 appointments have been scheduled for this age group
— since November 22, there have been about 39,700 booster doses scheduled or administered

Additional Resources:
Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan:

NACI guidance on booster COVID-19 vaccine doses in Canada – Update December 3:

Rapid response: Updated recommendation on the use of authorized COVID-19 vaccines in individuals aged 12 years and older in the context of myocarditis and pericarditis reported following mRNA COVID-19 vaccines:

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