COVID-19: new recommendations related to vaccination
It’s with a hollow cough that the national director of public health, Dr. Luc Boileau, brought good news during the first press briefing of 2023 on the state of infectious respiratory diseases in Quebec and recommendations to the level of vaccination, Thursday afternoon. As concerns arose shortly before the holiday season regarding the spread of the famous trio of respiratory viruses – respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19 – the Comité sur l’immunization du Québec (CIQ) is currently observing “a significant drop in the presence of these respiratory viruses”.
It’is accompanied by the pediatrician, microbiologist-infectiologist at the CHU Sainte-Justine and president of the CIQ, Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, that Dr. Boileau provided an update on the situation.
The decline in RSV infections in children offers some respite from pediatric emergencies. As for the flu, the positivity rate is less than 1.5%, “which is very low,” said Dr. Boileau.
Regarding COVID-19, the indicators of the last few weeks show that “everything is down”, he continues. Among adolescents and young adults, however, the trend is likely to reverse, warns the director of public health. The numbers of cases listed for this age group have stabilized, but “we must expect it to go up”.
He also warns of the arrival in Canadian territory of a new variant of the coronavirus, the XBB.1.5, from the United States. “For ten days, about 15 or 16% of our variants are now XBB.1.5 and this proportion should continue to increase over the next few weeks.”
Vaccination: new target groups
It emerges from the analysis of scientific reports drawn up in particular by the CIQ that the immunity induced both by vaccination and by an infection with the coronavirus would offer people “very good protection against the serious expression of the disease, whether this either hospitalization or, even worse, death,” explained the national director of public health.
The protection conferred by this hybrid immunity would therefore surpass that obtained only from a vaccination, which tends to diminish over time, or from the contraction of the virus.
Therefore, for During the winter and spring 2023 period, additional booster doses will only be recommended for people who have never had COVID-19, particularly targeting the elderly or vulnerable people who live in long-term care facilities (CHSLD) or in a residence for the elderly, those suffering from chronic illnesses, health care workers, pregnant women and residents of very remote areas.
In the case of immunocompromised people who have had COVID-19, however, it is still recommended that they receive an additional dose six months following infection.
Although this recommendation affects a more targeted group of people, Dr. Boileau specifies that no person wishing to obtain a booster dose will be refused by a vaccination center.