Experts believe a new vaccination strategy is needed

Experts say the arrival of the sixth wave of COVID-19 should prompt authorities to change their vaccination strategy.

According to them, it is time to adopt strategies to encourage the third dose, vaccinate children, and prepare for a larger campaign for the fourth dose.

The vaccination campaign was very successful in Canada for the first and second doses of the vaccine against COVID-19. However, the booster potion ran out of steam.

In Quebec, if 87% of people 5 years of age or older were vaccinated twice (or equivalent), only 53% of that population went for a booster dose.

In Ontario, the phenomenon is similar. The vaccination rate for those aged 12 years and over is 91%. It drops to about 60% for the booster dose.

“We put a lot of energy and creativity into the campaign for the first and second doses of the vaccine,” says Dr.s Fahab Razak, member of the Ontario COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Group.

According to him, the authorities will have to make sure to convince the population that the lifting of restrictive measures does not mean that the risk of infection has diminished.

Two doses of the vaccine are effective in preventing the most severe forms of the disease. Booster dose reduces disease risk, even with the Omicron variant, D . recallss Razak.

considered ds The situation is more reassuring than the data suggests, says Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert. He notes that two doses of the vaccine in addition to the infection provide the same protection as three doses.

With that, he adds, we can do better, especially with regards to a booster dose aimed at those who are more vulnerable. considered ds Bogoch regrets that Ontario authorities have not benefited more from behavior change experts in their vaccination campaigns.

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“When you stop looking at what you’re trying to do, you realize that you’re trying to change people’s behavior,” he says. It’s not enough to have a boring old doctor like me on TV to convince people to get vaccinated or for a public health official to announce a policy change at 3pm in the middle of the week. »

considered ds Razak suggests hiring more family doctors to encourage vaccination.

“Family physicians have been the most unused resource throughout the pandemic,” he says.

Going through family physicians will be beneficial insofar as it will not require the addition of new external infrastructure.

Of course, there is a time constraint. We can adopt a mass vaccination strategy, but we don’t have to do it every year. says ds Razak.

Get vaccinated at the library

The National Immunization Advisory Committee (NACI) is expected to release guidance on the fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in early April. Some are already preparing for it. considered ds For example, Paul Romelutis, medical officer of health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, is preparing contingency plans to redeploy staff to vaccination clinics.

The city of Toronto has already set up makeshift clinics in subway stations and libraries.

Quebec began offering its fourth doses this week to people over 80, immunocompromised people and residents of long-term care homes.

for ds rumiliotis, the main problem of vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 years is the fear of parents.

“It has nothing to do with accessibility, because they can come to any clinic at any time,” he says.

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Only 33% of children this age have been vaccinated twice in Ontario. Quebec performs 46% better, but that means less than one in two children has received an adequate dose of the vaccine.

The office is headed by Drs Rumiliotis tries to educate parents by answering all questions on this topic during public meetings and seminars at school, on social networks and on video clips.

Let’s see in the video

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