Health Canada has approved a widely anticipated fall COVID-19 booster shot in the aim of strengthening the country’s defence against the virus as the fall season approaches.
The health regulator authorized the revised Moderna vaccination for all Canadians aged six months and older today. The approval of the modified Pfizer vaccination under consideration has yet to be announced.
The revised mRNA vaccine is specifically designed for the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant that is currently circulating in the country. It also contains extra sequences that are directed at other Omicron variations.
The vaccine is expected to be available in most provinces and territories in early October, coinciding with the influenza vaccine, according to Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, during a press conference this morning.
Those aged five and up, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination history, should receive one dose of the vaccine, she advised.
Children aged six months to four years should receive two doses if they have not previously had a COVID-19 vaccine. If they have previously received one or more doses of vaccination, they should only receive a single dose.
The approval comes as two novel COVID-19 variations — BA.2.86 and EG.5 — circulate throughout the country, raising worries about the efficacy of existing vaccines and the necessity for sustained vigilance in public health measures.
This comes just one day after the US approved new COVID-19 vaccinations. Most people can get the Moderna and Pfizer doses, even if they’ve never had a coronavirus immunization. The immunizations must still be approved by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which is scheduled to happen on Tuesday.
In a preclinical investigation in mice, Pfizer’s novel COVID-19 vaccine generated a robust antibody response against the highly modified BA.2.86 strain of the coronavirus.
Moderna also stated that human clinical trial data suggested that its modified injection will most likely be successful against the variation.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) continues to advise that permitted age groups receive an updated COVID-19 vaccination dose this fall, six months following their previous vaccine dosage or infection.