Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidelines, on March 3 recommending to extend the time between first and second Covid-19 vaccine doses to four months, from the originally mandated time of three to four weeks, due to vaccine shortages.
NACI said extending the dosing interval will help “opportunities for protection of the entire adult population within a short timeframe.”Many experts say that adults and younger population, who have a weaker immune system, should be exempted from this rule.
PaddieWalmsley and her husband, seniors from Albertagot their first shot of Covid-19 vaccine earlier this month, and soon after that the time of second dose were extended due to limited doses, for the age group of 60 to 64 years old. But the people are getting worried for the long wait to get the second dose.
Walmsley, a 60-year-old from Coaldale said “It is concerning. We would feel better protected and more confident if we were able to get the second dose sooner than the four months,”
The director of geriatrics at Sinai Health and University Health Network hospitals in Toronto, Samir Sinha said “Older people have the weakest immune systems amongst us and Covid-19 preys on that,” The approach to delaying the second dose of the vaccine by up to 16 weeks is not right for everyone, the seniors who need it the most must be vaccinated as per the original time span.
Jorgan Fritz, an immunologist at McGill University said that looking at the scientific evidence, the first dose decreases much faster compared to the second dose, and this process works even faster in the elderly and individuals with the low immune system.
Fritz said “The worry of the scientific community is that we are vaccinating without creating an efficacious immune response by doing this increased spacing of the two doses,”
An interval of 21 and 28 days was purposed by Vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, and for AstraZeneca was one month after the first dose.
An immunologist and professor at the University of Toronto, Tania Watts, said the delay in those aged 80 and above is “more risky” than the delay for younger people. The delay is more serious in those at greater risk, such as cancer patients, older people.
60-plus population accounts for more than 95 percent of Covid-19 deaths In Canada, if the goal is to save the most lives, then we would consider shortening that second interval, the elderly and vulnerable people should also get a booster shot starting in November to ensure “best immune protection” for the winter.
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