Sask. will expand booster shot eligibility soon: CMHO
Saskatchewan could soon be expanding booster shot eligibility – as more people reach the six-month mark after their second dose.
The province’s chief medical health officer said eligibility could open up for more people in the coming days and weeks.
“Uptake for boosters has been fair but I would strongly encourage people as they become eligible to step forward and get their booster shot so that keeps it smooth for further age groups as they become eligible,” Dr. Saqib Shahab said.
Currently – health care workers – those who are immunocompromised – and people aged 65 and older can get their booster shot.
People 50 and older in the Far North and living on First Nations are also eligible.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends booster shots for everyone aged 70 and older.
However, both Pfizer and Moderna booster shots have been approved for people ages 18 and older.
“We were basing our booster recommendations on both NACI recommendations but even before that we were basing it on our own epidemiology,” Shahab said, adding that booster dose eligibility will likely expand similar to when vaccines were first rolled out.
Laveena Tratch, the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s vaccine lead for the Regina area, says evidence shows immunity starts to wane six months after receiving the dose of COVID-19 vaccine, which means a little less protection from the virus and its variants.
Tratch says booster shots are one of the best lines of defense against COVID-19.
“The importance of getting that booster dose is to really boost your immune system so it has that really high level of protection against those variants,” she said.
As of Tuesday, 93,243 “extra doses” have been administered across the province. That number is a combination of booster shots as well as third and fourth doses.
Tratch says vaccine fatigue is a risk as more people become eligible for additional doses. However, she says she has yet to see signs of it.
“This will become something within our community that people will start to accept as part of our need to stay healthy,” Tratch said.