Prince Edward Island is now offering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to some islanders with weakened immune systems, the province has confirmed.
This includes transplant recipients and people undergoing cancer treatment.
The Chief Public Health Office posted information about the third doses on the provincial website late Wednesday afternoon.
It says Islanders who meet the definition of moderately to severely immunocompromised can now receive another shot of the vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic or, if they are 18 or older, at a participating pharmacy.
“A person should wait at least 28 days after receiving their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before receiving a third dose,” the advisory said.
On Friday, Canada’s national vaccine advisory body recommended that moderately to severely immunocompromised Canadians be vaccinated with a three-dose series of a licensed mRNA vaccine, which includes those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
For those who have already received two doses, NACI recommends a third dose, ideally an mRNA vaccine.
The committee stressed that this should not be seen as a “booster” for a healthy person’s naturally declining immunity, but as an essential step in building protection for the patients involved.
Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed in a COVID-19 briefing Monday that Prince Edward Island will follow national guidelines.
âPEI will implement NACI’s recommendation, said PEI’s chief public health officer. âWe have sent information to our vaccinators and to our doctors, nurse practitioners and vaccination clinics, and we can certainly have that information available on the website as well. ”
In the guidelines for its recommendation for a third dose in Canada, NACI said it was referring to moderately to severely immunocompromised people with the following conditions:
- Active treatment of solid tumors or hematologic malignancies.
- Receiving a solid organ transplant, taking immunosuppressive therapy.
- Receiving chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) -T cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within two years of transplantation or taking immunosuppressive therapy).
- Moderate to severe primary immune deficiency (eg, DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
- Untreated stage 3 or advanced HIV infection and people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
- Active treatment with certain immunosuppressive therapies.
For Islanders with weakened immune systems, Dr. Morrison’s announcement was welcome news.
Sarah Newman received a kidney transplant in 2017.
That kidney has started to fail, and she is now on the waiting list for a second kidney transplant, doing dialysis at home while juggling work and parenthood.
Before the province confirmed on Wednesday that people like her can indeed receive third doses from now on, Newman told CBC News she would be eager to roll up her sleeve.
“I have received two doses so far, only 21 days apart due to a weaker immune system, and it was discussed early on that if a third injection is approved, yes it will help. for me and for others in similar situations, “she said.
“I have gotten along really well from the first two, and if a third dose is an option, then I would definitely choose to have it.”
Some drugs suppress the response
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada recommends that people with inflammatory bowel disease who are given drugs that suppress their immune system have access to a third COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr Eric Benchimol is a member of the group’s COVID-19 working group and chairman of its scientific and medical advisory board.
âThere have been several studies now – and more recently in people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – that have shown that those people who take systemic immunosuppressive drugs do not respond as well as other people to it. first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, âhe said. noted.
“They seem to react quite well and become immune after the second dose of the vaccine, but their immunity wanes more quickly.”
Benchimol said other provinces, including Quebec and Ontario, are also adopting NACI’s recommendations for a third dose.
âI think getting that third dose is just a little bit reassuring for people who need itâ¦ We still don’t know how well the third dose will work in people who are immunocompromised,â he said.
“There have been studies in transplant patients and cancer patients that show that a third dose definitely helps, but there is still a group of people who are not immune even after a third dose.”
Meanwhile, a representative from the Canadian Cancer Society says it is monitoring emerging evidence related to the effectiveness of a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine in people with the disease.
The company tells patients to ask their healthcare team if the benefits will outweigh the risks and to determine the best time for the dose based on their treatment plan.
Hunter Guindon from Springfield, PEI. lives with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.
He said he would contact his doctors in Halifax to get their advice on a third dose.
âIf my doctors determined that a third dose was a good idea, I would definitely like to be eligible for a third dose,â Guindon said.
âPeople with cystic fibrosis are less ‘immunocompromised’ in this situation, but they are certainly at high risk of more serious results if we do get COVID, so I will take any additional protection I can get. “