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COVID-19 vaccine booster eligibility by province and territory in Canada

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TORONTO —
Although booster shots and third doses of COVID-19 vaccines aren’t currently recommended for most Canadians, additional doses are being made available to certain populations or those who need to travel for work based on their province or territory of residence.

Health experts and federal agencies are debating the need for booster shots across the general population, saying that a primary vaccine course still provides good protection against COVID-19.

CTVNews.ca has reached out to Health Canada for an update on its position on booster shots. This story will be updated with their response.

In early September, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended third vaccine doses be administered to certain immunocompromised individuals at least 28 days after their previous dose. Each province and territory has enacted a third-dose policy for immunocompromised people.

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A few weeks later, NACI recommended booster shots for all long-term care residents and seniors living in other congregate settings at least six months after the primary vaccine course.

Third doses are considered part of a primary vaccine course, while booster shots are meant to be given when vaccine effectiveness wanes and often contain a smaller dosage.

Public opinion on the matter appears to sway in favour of booster shots. The vast majority of Canadians have expressed interest in one, according to a survey commissioned by CTV News, with 69 per cent of respondents saying they were interested and 15 per cent saying they were somewhat interested.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has started giving booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to anyone aged 65 and up.

Moderna has asked Health Canada to authorize its half-dose booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel endorsed the same shot last week.

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ELIGIBILITY FOR ADDITIONAL DOSES BY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY

British Columbia: People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised may be able get a third dose four weeks after their second one. Those who are eligible will be contacted by the province’s Get Vaccinated system. Residents of long-term care and assisted living centres are also being offered an additional dose six months after their second dose.

Alberta: Those who are eligible for an additional dose include Albertans aged 75 and up at least six months after receiving their second dose. First Nations, Inuit and Métis people aged 65 and up can also receive a third shot six months after their second dose. Immunocompromised individuals 12 years and older with specific conditions may be eligible for a third dose eight weeks after their second one. Residents of seniors’ supportive living facilities can get a third shot five months after their second one. Finally, travellers to places where the AstraZeneca vaccine or mixed doses aren’t recognized can get a third shot four weeks after their second dose.

Saskatchewan: Residents 80 years and older can receive an additional dose six months following their second dose. Certain immunocompromised and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can receive a third dose 28 days after their second one. Long-term and personal care home residents are also eligible. Those who are eligible for medical reasons will receive a letter from the ministry of health or their physician. A third or even fourth dose is also available for those who may require it for international travel.

Manitoba: Additional mRNA vaccine doses are recommended for those who have only received a viral vector COVID-19 vaccine, as well as health-care workers who have direct contact with patients, personal care home residents or clients, six months after their previous dose. Third doses are also permitted for people who may be moderately to severely immunocompromised, as well as people who have received one or two doses of a vaccine not approved by Health Canada, at least four weeks after their last shot. Residents of personal care homes and residents and staff of First Nations personal care homes can also get a third shot six months after their previous one.

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Ontario: A third dose is currently recommended for people who may be moderately to severely immunocompromised, eight weeks after their previous dose. Residents of long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes, First Nations elder care lodges and elderly people living in other congregate settings may also be able to get an additional dose five months after their second one. In a similar category, individuals with proof of immunization who underwent a one- or two-dose course of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada may receive an additional mRNA vaccine dose at least 28 days after the preceding one.

Quebec: An additional mRNA vaccine dose is recommended for people on dialysis, certain individuals with weakened immune systems, residents of residential and long-term care centres and intermediate and family-type resources and people living in private senior residences. These doses can be administered four weeks after the second dose.

New Brunswick: Moderately to severely immunocompromised people may be eligible for an additional mRNA vaccine dose four weeks after their second dose.

Nova Scotia: Starting Oct. 19, moderately to severely immunocompromised people may be eligible for an additional mRNA vaccine dose at least 28 days after their initial vaccine course. People who require an extra dose in order to meet the vaccine requirements needed to travel for work can apply for approval of a third dose by email.

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Prince Edward Island: Moderately to severely immunocompromised islanders may be able to receive a third dose 28 days after their second one.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals may be eligible to receive an additional mRNA vaccine dose four weeks after the second one. Those who underwent a mixed vaccine course and need to travel for work or a medical procedure outside of Canada or attend school outside of the country are also eligible for a third dose.

Yukon: Third doses are only available to those who may be immunocompromised, 28 days after their second vaccine dose.

Northwest Territories: As of Oct. 15, residents in Yellowknife aged 60 and up have been able to receive a booster shot if their previous dose was administered at least six months prior. The following week, residents of N’Dilo, Dettah, Hay River, Inuvik and Fort Smith who are 60 and up will be able to get a booster shot, as well as residents of all other communities who are aged 50 and up, six months after their previous dose. People who are severely immunocompromised, as well as front-line health-care workers in Yellowknife and Behchoko, are eligible for an additional mRNA vaccine dose.

Nunavut: An additional mRNA vaccine dose may be given to immunocompromised individuals 12 years and over at least four weeks after their second dose.

With files from CTVNewsVancouver.ca reporter Alyse Kotyk

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