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Coronavirus

NWT widens Covid-19 boosters to 50-plus in YK, 40-plus elsewhere


For the second time in a week, the NWT government has broadened the demographic that can access booster shots of the vaccine against Covid-19.

Yellowknife residents aged 50 and over can now receive a booster, down from 60-plus last week. In every other NWT community the booster is now available to adults aged 40 and over.

No other Canadian jurisdiction is currently understood to be offering boosters to 40-year-olds, or even close. However, the NWT’s chief public health officer argued forcefully last week that her data – from a population that received vaccination long before some southern regions – shows the need exists.

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Dr Kami Kandola said data in the NWT showed the initial two doses of Moderna’s vaccine were effective but not as strong as national data might suggest.

“Right now, the vaccine is protective against developing Covid, transmitting Covid, and severe outcomes, but the magnitude is smaller than what the national picture is showing,” said Dr Kandola at the time.

“The national picture would state that you’re 10 times more likely to be infected if you’re unvaccinated versus fully vaccinated. What we’re seeing is protection among the fully vaccinated, but the magnitude is two-and-a-half to three times instead of 10. The national picture says you’re 36 times less likely to be hospitalized, but we’re seeing a smaller magnitude.”

Last week, Kandola said those aged 60 and over were the key age group to boost. Thursday’s lowering of the age bar suggests she now believes there is cause to further immunize a larger number of residents.

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Health minister Julie Green had previously stated the NWT would “work our way through the rest of the population, as we did with the initial vaccines,” implying everyone will eventually be offered a booster shot.

Age eligibility works according to your age on December 31, 2021. If you’ll be 50 or older then in Yellowknife, or 40 or older elsewhere, you’re now eligible. At least six months need to have passed since your second dose.

You can get a booster shot and a flu shot at the same time if you wish. To find out more about getting either or both, head to the NWT health authority’s website.

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