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Immunocompromised should receive 3rd COVID-19 mRNA vaccine: immunization panel

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are shown to have a weaker response to vaccinations

OTTAWA — A national advisory panel recommends people who are immunocompromised receive a third vaccine dose against COVID-19. 

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization released the advice today saying people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are shown to have a weaker response to vaccinations. 

It recommends those who are not yet vaccinated to receive three doses of an mRNA vaccine. 

It says an additional dose of an mRNA vaccine should be provided to those who are fully vaccinated, including those who received mixed doses. 

"This is not unusual for immunocompromised groups, where we often recommend different vaccine schedules to help them achieve better protection," Dr. Shelley Deeks, committee chair, said in a statement. 

"This is different from a booster dose, which would be used to boost an immune response that has waned over time."

Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the advice applies to people 12 and older whose immune systems are compromised for a variety of reasons like being treated for a tumour or having an untreated HIV infection that has advanced. 

The advisory body says giving those who are immunocompromised a third dose is different than offering a booster shot to the general population because for most two doses of vaccine protects against COVID-19. 

The panel says it continues to study the need for booster shots for specific groups, like those in long-term care. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2021.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press


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