New Brunswick is preparing to roll out a second round of booster doses to residents aged 50 or older.
Earlier this week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said Canada should prepare for “the rapid deployment” of a second COVID-19 booster program over the coming weeks prioritizing adults 80 and over and residents of long-term care or other congregate settings.
The advisory body also advised that the aim be to provide a second booster dose six months after the previous booster dose.
In a Friday news release, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said expanding the eligibility for booster doses “will provide an extra layer of protection against the Omicron and BA.2 variants.”
The province is now “strongly recommending” a second booster dose to those aged 70 or older, as well as residents of long-term care.
Second booster doses will be available as of April 19.
Those aged 50 and up are also eligible as long as five months have passed since their last dose of the vaccine.
The province said First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members who are aged 18 and older are also eligible.
However, “anyone who has been recently infected with COVID-19 should wait three months before receiving a booster dose,” the province said.
Russell in the release that vaccination is “the key element in a layered approach to protecting yourself against COVID-19.
“It is important to continue to stay home when you are sick, get tested when you are experiencing symptoms, keep your number of close contacts low, and practise good hand hygiene.”
New Brunswick public health said it will continue to evaluate second booster doses for those under 50.
In addition, the province is making Paxlovid more accessible to COVID-19 patients.
As of next Monday, COVID-19 patients who at high risk of serious illness from the virus can ask to be assessed for a prescription for Paxlovid.
“Now we have a way to reduce the severity of the infection in high-risk patients,” said Russel in the release.
The antiviral treatment will be available at no cost.
— With files from Nicole Gibillini.
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