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Alberta 'looking closely' at whether to offer third doses: Shandro

Last Updated Jul 28, 2021 at 12:26 pm MDT

The Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday, June 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

EDMONTON – Alberta’s health minister says there’s been no decision yet on if the province will offer a third dose to people whose vaccination status may not be recognized in other countries.

Earlier this week, Quebec announced that fully vaccinated people who received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine or mix-and-match doses will have the option to get a third shot of either Pfizer or Moderna.

READ MORE: Quebec offering third doses to travellers not based in evidence: expert

The Quebec government is offering an extra dose of an mRNA vaccine to people who need to travel internationally and face being barred from entering countries where their vaccination status is not recognized.

Tyler Shandro says Alberta is still considering its options.

“Dr. Hinshaw has advised that there is limited evidence at this time and Quebec is the only province currently issuing a third dose for travellers,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We are looking at this closely. The Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization has been asked to discuss this issue and to make a recommendation for individuals with mixed doses travelling to a country that requires two doses of a specific vaccine.”

Shandro goes on to say that regardless of which vaccine Albertans got, they can feel good knowing that they’re protected from COVID-19.

No evidence showing third booster beneficial: epidemiologist

Epidemiologist Dr. Craig Jenne says there’s no evidence pointing to the third dose providing any benefit right now.

“These guidelines are continually evolving,” Jenne said.

“We’re not seeing a signal yet that a third dose is needed, but as these studies continue, as we move further and further into the future, we may get that signal at some point recommending a booster.”

There are ongoing studies on how quickly the immune response is fading in those who are vaccinated.

Jenne explains that if there’s a strong signal of immunity dropping in groups where they are below the threshold of protection, then we could see a booster shot recommended.

“At that point, recommendations may change, and that’s not a bad thing, that is not a sign of confusion, that is not a sign of indecision,” Jenne added.

“That is a sign of using the real-world data, using the evidence, to make accurate health recommendations rather than simply jumping on bandwagons.”

-with files from Caryn Ceolin