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Third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for more high-risk groups

September 29, 2021
Several additional groups qualify for an additional dose, eight weeks after their second dose.

Effective September 21, 2021, Alberta Health has expanded eligibility for an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to more immunocompromised Albertans based on recent recommendations made by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

While a complete two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series provides strong protection against COVID-19 infection and severe outcomes, including against the Delta variant, in the general population, immunocompromised individuals are more likely to have poorer immune responses after two doses of an mRNA vaccine, potentially increasing the risk of breakthrough infections.

Immunocompromising conditions that qualify for an additional dose at least eight weeks after a second dose now include

  • solid organ transplant recipients;
  • hematopoietic stem cell transplants recipients;
  • malignant hematologic disorders and non-hematologic malignant solid tumors;
  • chronic kidney disease on dialysis;
  • receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy;
  • primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
  • advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; and
  • active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies:
    • anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20, CD22 and CD52),
    • high-dose systemic corticosteroids,
    • alkylating agents,
    • antimetabolites,
    • tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, or
    • other agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.

Of note, in accordance with changes effective September 1, 2021, residents of seniors’ supportive living facilities continue to be eligible for a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least five months after their second dose has been administered, and third doses are being provided in these facilities. Also, additional mRNA doses will be made available at least 28 days after a second dose to Albertans who are travelling to a jurisdiction that does not accept visitors who have been vaccinated with Covishield/AstraZeneca or mixed doses.