A fourth Canadian province will lower the eligibility for a second COVID-19 booster shot to those 50 years of age and over.
Next week, Nova Scotia joins Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and New Brunswick in permitting adults in this age range to increase their immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the second booster (i.e. their fourth dose of a vaccination after the initial two-dose regimen of either Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines that were given earlier).
B.C., Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador are the only remaining provinces that are restricting second boosters to almost everyone who is 70 years of age or older. Indigenous people in B.C. can receive a second booster if they're 55 years of age or older.
In Quebec, the age limit is much lower—anyone 18 and over can get a second COVID-19 booster.
Ontario and Prince Edward Island have limited second boosters to those who are 60 years of age and older.
Citing data from the U.S., health researcher Eric Topol recently reported that those 50 years and older who received a second booster had a significantly lower rate of death from COVID-19 than those who had only received one booster.
Despite this information, Nova Scotia public health officials are encouraging residents to hold off until the fall to receive their second booster. That's "because the ideal timing for a booster dose is closer to an increase in virus activity – that best protects people from infection".
“Our advice is to wait because the first booster still offers strong protection against severe disease for most people in this age group," deputy chief medical officer of health Dr. Shelley Deeks said in a news release. "COVID-19 activity is currently relatively stable, but we expect that we will have a resurgence later this fall or winter when we typically see surges in respiratory viruses. The ideal timing for a booster dose is in close proximity to the next surge of disease to best protect people from both infection and severe disease.”
The Nova Scotia government news release noted that "the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended a second booster be administered to adults 70 and older to increase protection during the spring Omicron wave".
This recommendation came before U.S. data became available showing that a second booster saved more lives of those over 50 than receiving only a single booster.