Third doses for immunocompromised and specific frontline workers

Staff at Stanton Hospital after receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Supplied by Health and Social Services Authority.)
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Third doses of the Moderna vaccine can now be booked for immunocompromised and specific frontline workers in Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀.

The two communities are being prioritized because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the areas, according to a statement from Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer for the NWT.

The GNWT announced the move, more than eight months after the first vaccines were put into the arms of NWT residents. 

Back in January, elderly residents and those who were immunocompromised, plus front line workers, were the first to receive doses of the vaccine. 

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“Because we were privileged to get the vaccine first, we unfortunately are going to be the first one to experience the waning immunity, which we’re seeing in our own case numbers,” said Kandola in an interview with CBC. 

She said the NWT is following the guidance of Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization. The organization recommended third shots for the immunocompromised population last week.

Several countries in Europe and the United States are implementing similar programs.

The committee notes that third vaccines for immunocompromised people shouldn’t be considered as booster shots, rather as part of the normal vaccine dosage.

“Recent studies have demonstrated that some people who do not respond after two doses, particularly those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, develop antibodies after a third dose of an mRNA vaccine; and that there are increases in antibody titres following a third dose for some of those who do respond to an initial primary series,” the committee wrote in a statement, explaining the decision making behind recommending third doses.

Vaccine rates have continued to climb throughout the territory. 

Several communities have now exceeded the 75 per cent fully vaccinated rank: Kakisa, Sachs Harbour Yellowknife, Ndilǫ, Dettah, Fort Simpson and Norman Wells. 

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