All Northwest Territories residents aged 18 or over can now receive a booster dose of vaccine against Covid-19, the territory’s medical director announced on Thursday.
Speaking to Loren McGinnis on CBC North’s Trailbreaker, Dr AnneMarie Pegg said: “All adults in the territory are now considered eligible.” Vaccine clinic information is available on the NWT health authority’s website (the information for Covid-19 vaccine and flu shot clinics is the same – you can choose to get either or both).
Dr Pegg told the broadcaster: “You can’t just walk in. There are vaccine clinic times listed by health centre and instructions for how to go about booking an appointment, but the eligibility for those opened up today.”
Dr Kami Kandola, the NWT’s chief public health officer, said at least six months must have passed since your second dose to be eligible for a booster.
Previously, adults aged 40 and over in most NWT communities or 50 and over in Yellowknife had been eligible.
In opening up boosters to all adults, the territory is significantly ahead of national guidance on booster shots, as has been the case for weeks. Dr Kandola has said the data available to her shows that while the vaccines work, their effects are not as strong or lasting as national guidance might suggest, meaning boosters are necessary.
The health authority posted more detail about the booster program to its website later on Thursday morning.
So far, booster shots don’t affect the definition of full vaccination. You’re still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you receive your second dose.
“It could provide long-lasting immunity. Time will tell. But this is what we need right now, so we will continue to monitor,” said the territory’s chief public health officer, explaining her rationale for broadening the booster shot’s availability.
Meanwhile, Kandola said Health Canada approval for the vaccination of children aged five to 11 was expected some time in November.
Children under 12 remain unvaccinated. Exposure to Covid-19 was reported at Yellowknife’s NJ Macpherson School on Wednesday, three days after students returned to class following more than a month of remote learning.