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Covid-19: Fourth shots for immunocompromised Albertans

Albertans who are immunocompromised now qualify for a fourth round of Covid-19 vaccination, starting Thursday.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, made the announcement during her regular Tuesday update.

“Given that immunocompromised individuals do not develop the same levels of immunity after vaccination, we are moving to make fourth doses available to these people,” she said.

The CMOH indicated that for these Albertans, getting the fourth dose would be equivalent to someone not-immunocompromised getting their third booster dose.

The fourth dose will be available to those aged 18+, and at least five months after their third dose, and meeting the booster criteria.

Conditions that would qualify someone for a fourth dose include recipients of CAR-T-cell therapy, stage 3 or advanced HIV, immunosuppressive therapies, transplant recipients, chronic kidney disease receiving regular dialysis, receiving active cancer treatment, or taking certain medications for autoimmune diseases.

A full list of conditions can be found on the Government of Alberta’s website.

National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended

Dr. Hinshaw said that there are approximately 80,000 immunocompromised Albertans. Many of whom will be reaching the end of their five-month waiting period after qualifying for third doses in September of last year.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued a statement on December 3, 2021, recommending that fourth doses be issued to Canadians who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

“While data on a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine after the recommended three-dose primary series in moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals are currently limited, many of these individuals are at a higher risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19 and also at increased risk of decreasing protection over time since vaccination.”

The Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization also recommended the change.

Dr. Hinshaw said that this new round of vaccinations would help to prevent the increased number of outbreak infections, and decrease the chances of severe outcomes.

Evan Whitmore, a Calgarian with an autoimmune disease who now qualifies for the fourth dose, welcomed the news.

“I assumed we’d be continuing to get boosters for a while, so I don’t have a problem getting it,” he said.