2-dose vaccine series may be offered to those previously infected with COVID-19: NACI

Canada’s vaccine advisory committee has recommended a complete two-dose series of an approved COVID-19 vaccine for individuals who have been previously infected with the coronavirus.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its recommendations Thursday, saying that “a complete series of a COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to individuals who have had confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

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In making the recommendation, the advisory panel took into consideration data from real-world studies. Some of those included the protective immune response that previous coronavirus infections provide against re-infection; how individuals that have been previously infected with the virus responded after one and two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and “the safety of offering two doses” of an approved vaccine to them.

In a statement released Thursday, NACI Chair Dr. Shelley Deeks said, “The latest evidence and our understanding of immunology tells us that individuals who have been previously infected have adequate protection for several months after the infection, which is improved after the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

While it is “not clear how this protection will translate against new variants” of the novel coronavirus, Dr. Deeks said that there are “many reasons that jurisdictions may offer, and individuals may choose, a complete series of two vaccines even after a previous infection, including [for] participation in activities or travel.”

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Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam reiterated the same.

“At this point, those who have been previously infected do have an immune response that is enhanced by one or two doses of the vaccine,” Dr. Tam said.

However, the advisory panel also recommended that those who have been previously infected should wait “to receive a vaccine until they no longer have acute symptoms of COVID-19 and are no longer infectious to others.”

Other factors, such as the extent of COVID-19 transmission in the community, the circulation of variants of concern and an individual’s risk of exposure to the coronavirus and severe illness, should also be taken into account when deciding when to vaccinate, NACI said.

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