Summary of National Advisory Committee on Immunization statement of July 11, 2023: Guidance on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the fall of 2023
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- On July 11, 2023, the Public Health Agency of Canada released guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the fall of 2023. This guidance is based on current evidence, vaccine principles and NACI expert opinion.
- Beginning in the fall of 2023:
- NACI recommends a dose of the new formulation of COVID-19 vaccine for people in the authorized age groups who have previously received a COVID-19 vaccine, if it has been at least 6 months since the last COVID-19 vaccine dose or known SARS-CoV-2 infection (whichever is later).
- Immunization is particularly important for those at increased risk of COVID-19 infection or severe disease, for example:
- Adults 65 years of age or older
- Residents of long-term care homes and other congregate living settings
- Individuals with underlying medical conditions that place them at higher risk of severe COVID-19
- Individuals who are pregnant
- Individuals in or from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities
- Members of racialized and other equity-deserving communities
- People who provide essential community services.
What you need to know
- Although seasonality of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has not been established, other respiratory viruses such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) typically increase in the fall and winter months. COVID-19 vaccination can help increase protection and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the health system while these other viruses are circulating.
- Vaccine manufacturers are developing updated formulations of COVID-19 vaccines to provide better protection against currently circulating variants. These vaccines are expected to be available in the coming months.
- An additional dose of vaccine starting this fall is also particularly important for those who have not been previously infected and have protection from vaccination alone.
- COVID-19 vaccines may be given concurrently (i.e., same day), or at any time before or after, non-COVID-19 vaccines (including live and non-live vaccines).
- Vaccination of health care providers and others who provide essential community services is expected to be important in maintaining health system capacity.
- NACI will review available information on updated vaccine formulations expected for the fall and will update recommendations as needed.
For more information on recommended vaccine products and dosages per age group, please see NACI Statement: Guidance on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the fall of 2023.
For more information on NACI’s recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines, please refer to the COVID-19 vaccine chapter of the Canadian Immunization Guide (CIG), as well as additional statements on the NACI web page.
“NACI anticipates that new COVID-19 vaccine formulations could be available this fall, and the committee is recommending that jurisdictions plan to offer a dose of the new vaccine if it has been at least 6 months since a previous dose of vaccine or a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
While we have seen that COVID-19 can peak at any time of year, we typically have a very strained health system during the respiratory virus season, which typically occurs during the fall and winter months. Offering another dose of COVID-19 vaccine starting this fall is expected to increase protection, and will be particularly important for those at increased risk of COVID-19 infection or severe disease. This will benefit individuals and also may help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the health system.”
“I thank NACI for their timely advice on COVID-19 vaccination for this upcoming fall. An additional dose using the latest vaccine formulations will be an important tool to not only build back protection against severe disease that wanes over time, but also protect against currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. This additional dose is especially important for those at increased risk of COVID-19 infection or severe disease. Keeping up Canadians’ protection against COVID-19 through vaccination, layered with personal protective practices, will be vital this fall when we expect other respiratory viruses, including influenza and RSV, to be co-circulating in our communities and adding stress to our healthcare system.”
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