Canada asks citizens to take Covid-19 booster

New guidance was issued by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on Friday strongly recommending that at least one booster shot should be offered to those aged 12.

Toronto: Canadian health authorities are asking citizens to get a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, amid an uptick in the number of cases of the Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.5.

NACI also said bivalent mRNA vaccines should be “the preferred booster products for all individuals 5 years of age and over”. Such vaccines target both the original Wuhan variety of coronavirus.

The recommendation to increase uptake of booster doses comes as the percentage of cases caused by the XBB.1.5 sub-variant is projected to rise to 7% of the total this month.

“While XBB variants are expected to increase in Canada, it is not known whether they will become the dominant lineage,” Canada’s chief public health officer Dr Theresa Tam said.

However, concern over a sharp rise in cases caused by Omicron as in early 2022, remains muted. As Tam said, “Nationally, the absolute number of cases is not surging at this time.

In 2022, the Omicron variant resulted in the highest numbers of infections in Canada to date. However, over time there has been a general trend towards decreased severe outcomes such as critical care.

She added it was “still too early to stop taking the personal protective measures that have helped us weather the Covid storm.”According to the latest update, Canada added 16,540 cases in the week.