COVID-19 vaccine boosters recommended for long-term care residents, national advisory committee says

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.”

Older people also may not mount as robust an immune response as younger people to the regular two-dose vaccination schedule, NACI said, necessitating a third dose. 

The amount of time passed since residents received their initial vaccinations is also a factor in the recommendation. 

“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. 

The updated guidance comes more than two weeks after the NACI recommended that moderately to severely immunocompromised Canadians should receive three doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

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