Canada's vaccine advisory body strongly recommends boosters for all adults as virus resurges
Recommendation comes as country is seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is now strongly recommending that all adults and children aged 12 to 17 years at high risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19 be offered a first COVID-19 booster shot as Canada experiences a resurgence of the virus.
NACI previously said that boosters for those two groups should be considered discretionary. Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam said Tuesday that booster shots will offer stronger protection as caseloads increase.
"It doesn't matter where you are in Canada right now. I would advise getting that booster shot," Tam told a press conference.
WATCH: Tam encourages Canadians to get a COVID-19 booster dose
While NACI is "strongly" recommending that immunocompromised children aged 12 to 17 receive boosters, it's also now saying that all children aged 12 to 17 can be offered booster doses.
Dr. Tam said the recent surge across Canada has been driven by the Omicron variant and its BA.2 subvariant.
"We are seeing that resurgence, whether you call it the sixth wave or however many waves there is in your local jurisdiction, it is a resurgence," she said. "And that is why it's important to get that booster now."
Despite the fact that a number of provinces have lifted their mask mandates, Dr. Tam said Canadians should carry on masking in indoor settings — although she stopped short of saying mandates should be reinstated.
"Wear a mask anyways, whether the province ... [or] local jurisdiction is recommending it or not."
WATCH: Tam encourages mask-wearing as COVID-19 pandemic surges
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore told reporters Monday that while the province is in a sixth wave, the provincial government is not reinstating mask mandates.
Instead, the province is expanding access to COVID-19 antiviral treatments for high-risk people and officials are "strongly" recommending mask-wearing in all indoor settings.
Saskatchewan's largest city has seen a massive increase in the viral load detected in its wastewater.
On Monday, researchers from the University of Saskatchewan released their latest report showing a 742 per cent increase in viral load taken from sewage samples in Saskatoon.
In Nova Scotia, daily case counts from the highly transmissible Omicron and BA.2 variants have been rising since late February. They have accelerated dramatically since the provincial government lifted most public health restrictions on March 21, including gathering limits and mandatory masking in most public places.
Last week, NACI strongly recommended the "rapid deployment" of second COVID-19 booster shots for seniors aged 80 and up in the community and those living in long-term care and other congregate settings.
- This story has been updated from a previous version which incorrectly stated that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is strongly recommending all adults and children aged 12 to 17 years at high risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19 get a first booster vaccine. In fact, NACI's advice is that those two groups should be offered a first booster dose.Apr 20, 2022 10:41 AM ET