The booster dose may be offered to young people aged 12 to 17
Following its approval by the Committee on Immunization of Quebec (CIQ) , a booster dose may be administered to young people aged 12 to 17 who wish to obtain it, announces the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS). They will be able to make an appointment on the Clic Santé platform from Saturday, February 19.
In view of the current data available, and “in coherence” with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the CIQ recommends that a booster dose be given to young people aged 12 to 17 years “presenting a higher risk complications related to COVID-19”. Young people living in closed collective settings should also get this booster dose given the particularly high risk of transmission, it adds.
The CIQ specifies, however, that the booster dose can be offered to all young people aged 12 to 17 who do not have any contraindications and who would like to have this additional dose.
Like those in adults, studies in adolescents show a decrease in protection against infection over time, according to the Quebec committee. “It is expected that a booster dose will bring about greater vaccine efficacy in young people aged 12 to 17, and this, in the short term, against new variants, including Omicron”, mentions the MSSS.
The CIQ nevertheless recommends administering the booster dose at least three months after the last dose of vaccine received against COVID-19. It also maintains its recommendation to use the Pfizer vaccine in this age group, due to a slightly lower risk of developing complications (myocarditis) after vaccination.
Data on vaccination
According to data updated on February 17, nearly 86% of the Quebec population has received at least one dose, 81% received two doses and 47% received three.
While the number of vaccine doses administered daily has dropped significantly in Quebec, the vaccination campaign has slowed considerably. So much so that the vaccination site at the Palais des congrès de Montréal will close its doors on February 24.
While 87% of people aged 60 and over rolled up their sleeves for a third time, only 29% of people aged 18 to 24 got their booster dose, and this, one month after the opening of the third dose for their tranche of ;age. Over the past seven days, 165,524 people have been vaccinated, for a daily average of 23,646 people vaccinated.
However, Public Health estimates that at least two million Quebecers, or nearly half of the province's population have contracted COVID-19 since last December. For these people, it is best to wait a period of three months after infection before being vaccinated.
Indeed, a person who has already had COVID-19 can choose to receive two doses of vaccine and a booster dose, even if this dose is not necessary, indicates the government of Quebec on its site. “This choice is safe. It is preferable to wait a period of three months after infection before being vaccinated,” it says.
In its revised roadmap of January 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the vaccination of healthy children and adolescents is the lowest priority because of their relatively low risk of serious disease, hospitalization and death. “The decision to vaccinate healthy children and adolescents should take into account prioritization to first fully protect high priority groups (e.g. the elderly and health workers) through primary vaccination and then, as the effectiveness of the vaccine declines over time, with booster doses”, can we read.
Last December, the director general of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had called a moratorium on booster vaccinations for healthy adults until the end of 2021 to address the persistent and deep-seated inequality in access to vaccines around the world.
In January, WHO reiterated the importance of vaccine equity around the world to end the pandemic. According to her, some low-income countries have achieved vaccination coverage of less than 5% and only 9% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
The organization has now as objective of vaccinating 70% of the population of all countries by July 2022, a deadline first set for the first quarter of the year. However, at this rate, 1009 countries would miss the complete vaccination of 70% of their population by the beginning of July 2022, estimates the organization.