WECHU looking at booster shots for high-risk population


Following news that Huron Lodge residents will be receiving their third shot of a COVID-19 vaccine next month, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is discussing next steps with healthcare partners. 

Nicole Dupuis, the CEO of WECHU, says those that are eligible come from a very specific group of vulnerable clients.

"In partnership with long term care and some of those high risk settings that are identified," she continued. "We've already started to contact individuals who are eligible and have a process for that."

A complete two-dose vaccine series offers protection against COVID-19 infection and severe outcomes, according to the Ontario Ministry of Health, including against the Delta variant in the general population but in some cases a third dose may be needed.

Dupuis says they're just preparing the most appropriate avenue for those eligible to receive that dose and the best process to reach everyone.

In terms of the why behind a third dose, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says the scientific community is looking at the data behind vaccine effectiveness.

"Based on all of that data the evidence clearly points out to the fact that individuals who are immunocompromised they need a booster dose. Their antibody response slows down or goes down after at least six months timeline," Ahmed said.

Ahmed says it's too early to discuss a third shot for people more broadly, as they lack data.

"Some countries have implemented it, such as Israel they're already going for a third dose booster. At this time not necessarily having the scientific data to back it up to say 'Yes, we need that'."

Dr. Ahmed says in the future we may have data to validate a booster for the general population, but as of right now, they have good evidence to recommend a third dose to those most vulnerable.