Nova Scotia

N.S. recommends additional COVID-19 shots for some children, teens

Nova Scotia announced Wednesday it is recommending additional COVID-19 shots under certain circumstances for people between the ages of five and 17.

Recommendation follows guidance from National Advisory Committee on Immunization

Mae Smith, 13, gets her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic held in Etobicoke, Ont., on May 19, 2021. Nova Scotia released new guidance Wednesday relating to COVID-19 shots for children ages five to 17. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Nova Scotia announced Wednesday it is recommending additional COVID-19 shots under certain circumstances for people between the ages of five and 17.

The recommendation is based on guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

For people ages 12 to 17, a booster dose is recommended for:

  • People who have an underlying medical condition that places them at a high risk of having severe illness if they contract COVID-19. This includes people who are immunocompromised and who have already received a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, making the booster their fourth shot.
  • Residents of congregate living settings, such as shelters, group homes and jails.
  • People of colour or people who come from marginalized communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who do not meet the guidelines can still get a booster dose. To do so, they must review information during the booking process and provide informed consent. The information includes the rare risk of myocarditis and pericarditis following a dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.

COVID-19 booster shots for teens haven't yet been approved by Health Canada, but Nova Scotia said NACI has indicated that so far the safety concerns are no different than with two doses in parts of the world where adolescents have been given boosters.

"The majority of adolescents 12 to 17 in Nova Scotia do not need a booster dose as they are at low risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes if they are fully vaccinated," Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.

"However, for some, the benefit of receiving a booster dose ahead of further approvals outweighs the risk of getting COVID-19."

The province said about 98 per cent of people 12 to 17 have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine or have a second dose appointment scheduled.

Third dose for children 5 to 11

Nova Scotia said it's also following NACI's guidance on third doses for children ages 5 to 11 who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. They are now eligible for a third dose of vaccine to complete their primary series. A third dose can be booked 56 days after the second dose.

Vaccine timing for people who have contracted COVID-19

Based on NACI's guidance, the province is providing recommendations on vaccine timing for people who have tested positive for COVID-19:

  • Unvaccinated people are advised to wait at least two months to get a first or second dose of vaccine.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals are advised to wait at least three months to get a vaccine dose, provided they have been fully vaccinated for at least 168 days and are eligible for a booster.