Covid, new vaccines approved. “We recommend everyone to get one”

TORONTO – Health Canada has approved the use of Moderna’s Spikevax XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccine for all Canadians over the age of six months. Officials from Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization discussed details of the approval during a technical briefing today. 

“The vaccine was authorized after an independent and thorough scientific review regarding safety, efficacy and quality, and this included a review of data from several studies in the primary series of booster doses of the Spikevax vaccine collected over the last two years,” Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical advisor, said during the briefing. “After evaluating all the data we concluded that there is strong evidence demonstrating that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the potential risks.”

Sharma, according to CTV, said the recommendations include one dose for people aged five years and older – regardless of their Covid-19 vaccination history -, one dose for children under four and two doses for children aged aged between six months and four years who have not been vaccinated against Covid, while children aged six months to four years who have received a previous dose of a vaccine should receive a single dose of the updated vaccine.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said that each Province and Territory will provide further information on the regional availability of the COVID-19 and influenza vaccine, but that “we will have a sufficient supply of anti-flu vaccines COVID-19″ COVID-19 updates to support immunization programs around the world”.

Health Canada is also reviewing Pfizer-BioNTech’s application for approval of its Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine for use in people aged six months and older, as well as Novavax’s application for its Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine for people aged 12 years and older. Last fall, Canada experienced an early start to the flu season and high numbers of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections. Subsequently, 2023 saw Covid-19 indicators fall to low levels, but Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks.

“The Omicron variant continues to evolve with XBB subvariants such as EG.5 continuing to circulate in Canada and around the world,” Tam said, adding that Canada has recorded 11 cases of the Omicron BA.2.86 subvariant. “It is difficult to predict what will happen this fall and winter regarding the circulation of influenza, RSV and COVID-19, given that it is still early in the season,” he added. “But the good news is that we can prepare and protect ourselves in case simultaneous waves of respiratory viruses occur. This is why receiving a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine this fall is especially important.”

Therefore, anyone who has not been infected with Covid-19 or has not received a Covid-19 vaccination in the last six months is encouraged to get vaccinated with the latest version of the serum. Furthermore, Tam herself stated that it is safe to receive the flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine at the same time.

Meanwhile, the US government approved updated versions of COVID-19 vaccines on Monday in an effort to strengthen protection against the latest strains of coronavirus and mitigate any spikes in infections in the fall and winter. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not call them a booster shot, but rather an updated vaccine. Health Canada uses the same expression.

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