A Covid-19 vaccine is not the same thing as a condom. If you can’t tell the difference between the two, stop having sex immediately and call you doctor. It’s better to put on a new condom sooner than later. Definitely don’t wait eight months. However, is it a good idea to get a Covid-19 vaccine booster sooner than eight months after you were fully vaccinated the first time around?
As Courtney Subramanian reported for the USA Today, the Biden Administration has unveiled plans to begin offering adults in the U.S. Covid-19 booster shots on September 20. Here’s a tweet from Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, the U.S. Surgeon General about the announcement:
As you can see, the recommendation is that people wait at least eight months getting fully vaccinated the first time around before getting a Covid-19 vaccine booster dose. This wasn’t a huge surprise. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already added a third dose to the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for specific groups of people with much weaker immune systems. Both France and Germany will be rolling out third doses for particular groups of older or more vulnerable people in September. And Israel has already been giving people third doses after they have already gotten two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. They began this at the end of July with those 60 years and older and last extended this to those 60 years and older. Close to a million people have received third doses so far.
Therefore, the third booster dose recommendation should apply to either the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech or the two-dose Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. It may eventually apply to the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well, although Johnson & Johnson is still conducting a two-dose clinical trial. Nursing home residents and health care professionals will most likely be first in line for the booster doses. Older folks will probably come next before the rest of the adult population. Again, based on studies, the magical duration for a booster shot seems to be eight months after being fully vaccinated.
But apparently people aren’t waiting for the eight month mark or for official word about getting boosters for that matter. As Daniel Arkin and Daniella Silva reported for NBC News, people are getting Covid-19 vaccine boosters early, even if they don’t fall under the FDA’s moderately to severely immunocompromised. They want to make sure that they are protected with the more contagious Delta variant spreading in the U.S. and Fall approaching. (By the way, what the heck happened to the Summer?) And according to an ABC News report from Anne Flaherty and Eric Strauss, an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) briefing revealed that around 1.1 million Americans have already gotten unauthorized booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
But is this wise? Or is this premature vaccination? At the moment, it’s not clear whether getting a booster much earlier than eight months after being fully vaccinated will offer the same protection as a getting a booster at the eight month mark or later. As with many things in life such as passing by a bathroom, timing may matter. Ideally, you want to get a booster before your protection starts waning but only after you’ve enjoyed the full duration of full protection. Getting a booster too soon could be like buying a car and then saying after one month, “I need to get a new car now before the other one runs out.” Also, you want your immune system to be most ready for a booster. Typically, it’s a bad idea to say “I love you” too early in a relationship as in “I love you. By the way, what’s your name again?” That sort of reduces the value or effect of saying, “I love you.” Similarly, your immune system may not react quite the same should a booster come too early. Remember the booster is essentially a reminder to the immune system to beware of anything carrying the spike protein.
Therefore, unless you have a much weaker immune system, it may be better to wait until you’re close to the specified duration of time before seeking a booster shot. And right now studies seem to be pointing to eight months as that specified duration of time. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your protection will run out immediately at the eight month-mark. Duration of vaccine protection is not the same as a laptop or smartphone warranty. You don’t start having problems immediately after the time period has elapsed. Instead it’s more like the “Sell By” date that you may see on food such as avocados, hummus, and cheese. As I described for Forbes previously, the actual duration of protection probably varies from person-to-person. Plus, immunity likely fades slowly over time rather than stopping abruptly like memories of that high school crush. When making a recommendation about boosters, officials typically choose the duration immediately before which some people’s protection may start waning.
Keep in mind too that the booster alone is not going to protect you against Covid-19 coronavirus like a full-body concrete condom would against sex. Even with the booster, being fully vaccinated is not going to provide 100% protection. Until enough of the population has been vaccinated to reach her immunity thresholds and the virus is contained, you’ll still have to maintain other precautions such as social distancing and face mask wearing.
Again remember, timing is everything in life. There is such a thing as premature vaccination.
BC College of Pharmacists investigate reuse of syringes for COVID-19 – BC News – Castanet.net
The Fraser Health Authority has confirmed that syringes were reused for COVID-19 vaccines at a B.C. pharmacy.
CTV News Vancouver is reporting that Fraser Health confirmed the information on Tuesday via email that – “the plastic tube which holds the vaccine solution, not the needles” – were reused.
Fraser Health did not indicate where in the region the pharmacy is located in. The Fraser Health Authority stretches from Burnaby to Boston Bar.
Fraser Health indicated the pharmacy was part of a provincial pilot program that was testing the ability of pharmacies to use a specific booking system. The location was suspended from the program once it the issue came to light.
Fraser health indicates the B.C. College of Pharmacists is investigating the but they confirmed the pharmacy is no longer giving out vaccines.
-with files from CTV News Vancouver
COVID-19 vaccine boosters recommended for long-term care residents, national advisory committee says – CBC.ca
Canadian seniors living in long-term care homes and other congregate-care settings should get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, Canada’s vaccine advisory body recommends.
Residents of such sites, including retirement homes and assisted-living facilities “are at increased risk for COVID-19 infection because of their daily interactions with other residents and staff,” said the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) in updated guidance released online on Tuesday.
“They are also at increased risk for severe disease because of their age and underlying medical conditions.”
The amount of time that has passed since residents received their initial vaccinations is a factor in the recommendation — given that older adults may “have a less durable response to vaccines and/or past infection compared to younger adults.”
“Older Canadians residing in congregate living settings were prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine when the vaccines were first authorized; therefore, many completed their COVID-19 vaccination series early in the vaccine roll-out, leaving more time for waning should it occur,” NACI said.
Many long-term care residents had their initial COVID-19 shots spaced out over shorter intervals based on the manufacturers’ guidance — 21 days between doses for Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) and 28 days for Moderna (Spikevax).
Current evidence now suggests that longer intervals between doses result in higher immune responses, NACI said, and therefore the original schedule may have contributed to “more rapid waning of protection, including against variants of concern.”
In its guidance, NACI noted that its booster shot recommendation for residents of long-term care homes is not the same as recommending a third dose as part of the initial vaccination schedule.
“The intent of a booster dose is to restore protection that may have waned over time in individuals who responded adequately to a primary vaccine series,” the advisory committee said.
That’s different than the recommendation NACI issued just over two weeks ago for moderately to severely immunocompromised Canadians. People who are immunocompromised should receive three doses of COVID-19 vaccine as part of the standard immunization schedule, NACI said, because they may not mount an adequate immune response to two doses in the first place.
North Bay–Parry Sound's COVID-19 vaccination rates rank near bottom-third in Ontario – BayToday.ca
The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is trailing the majority of the 33 other districts in Ontario when it comes to vaccination rates but officials are confident the mobile vaccination clinics held on a retrofitted transit bus can boost those numbers toward the 90 per cent goal.
According to COVaxON, the province’s vaccination reporting system, 78 per cent of eligible North Bay–Parry Sound residents age 12 and older have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s tied for 23rd out of 34 health units in Ontario.
The Health Unit also reports 84 per cent of eligible residents 12 and older in the district have received at least one dose, tied for 25th of 34 health units.
The recent introduction of the proof of vaccination program for Ontarians to gain entry to non-essential settings such as restaurants, fitness clubs, and cinemas is acknowledged by health officials as a means to encourage those who are not fully vaccinated to do so.
There was an uptick in vaccinations in the weeks following the announcement of the vaccine certificate program in Ontario. And, a boost in vaccinations followed locally, as well, in mid-September, as the Health Unit reported an increase, particularly among those aged 29 and younger. The Health Unit reported then a 128 per cent increase in first doses week over week.
The goal locally and province-wide is to have 90 per cent of the population vaccinated with first and second doses. As of Monday, that leaves 6,646 first and 14,680 second shots required. The Health Unit’s dashboard reports 692 doses administered over the weekend. It should be noted hundreds of third doses have been administered to eligible segments of the population over the past two weeks.
In North Bay–Parry Sound, the 30-39, 18-29 and 12-17 age groups all sit at less than two-thirds fully vaccinated, although the 12-17 category was not eligible for the vaccine for months following the initial local roll-out.
The Health Unit reports since June 1, 10 per cent of local positive cases have been detected in fully vaccinated people. Ontario reports 86 per cent of COVID-19 patients in ICUs are unvaccinated, while 72 per cent in hospitals (but not the ICU) are unvaccinated.
The Health Unit has consistently advocated for more people to roll up their sleeves and has gone to great lengths to achieve that goal by providing clinics in long-term care and retirement communities, mass immunization opportunities at Memorial Gardens, clinics focused on members of the vulnerable population, and now the mobile vaccination clinics that visit many of the underserved towns in the district.
Andrea McLellan, Director of COVID-19 Immunization Strategy, previously spoke about possible reasons for vaccine hesitancy.
“It may be a lack of confidence in immunizations overall, it may be a personal choice they are making at this time and waiting to receive further information,” she said, noting there are excellent resources out there for those who are hesitant. “We are providing as much information to the public as we can — our website holds a wealth of information, the Ontario.ca website has a lot of information about the vaccine, as does Public Health Ontario.”
“Some people need a familiar health care provider to really reassure them that the vaccine is right for them,” Dr. Carol Zimbalatti added, encouraging people to reach out to their trusted health care providers for guidance. “Definitely, primary care offices have the information available to counsel their patients.”
The Health Unit will continue to roll out the vaccine through mobile clinics. McLellan says some of the feedback from the public indicated people who weren’t thinking of getting their shot did so thanks to the convenience of the bus set-up.
“We believe the mobile bus has been exceptionally successful,” McLellan said last week. “We’ve done over 300 at a couple of clinics, 150-plus at other clinics, 50 to 60 in smaller communities. The bus has been helpful in getting our numbers up. A lot of people are getting their first doses. And, we’ve accommodated a lot of people eligible for their third doses.”
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