If you received Omicron after vaccination, medical experts advise you not to rush for a booster – .

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If you received Omicron after vaccination, medical experts advise you not to rush for a booster – .


In just a few weeks, hundreds of thousands of Canadians have likely been infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The unprecedented increase in cases has resulted in the cancellation of surgeries, staffing shortages in the healthcare system and record hospitalization rates, as well as many less severe illness episodes, including among those who have been entirely vaccinated against COVID-19.

If you are now one of the growing number of people who have been infected after vaccination, you may be wondering when it is appropriate to receive a booster – or if you need it.

“People should always be reminded,” Dr. Lynora Saxinger, infectious disease specialist and associate professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, told CBC News. “I think the hardest part is figuring out when is the best time to boost? “

Provincial guidelines on this schedule vary across the country, ranging from a Quebec suggestion to simply wait for your symptoms to go away, to a recommendation from Ontario’s best doctor to wait 30 days.

There is no magic number, but the science behind how our immune systems work means you may want to wait weeks or even months after an Omicron infection to reap the benefits of a booster.

WATCH | Mixed tips on when to recall after recovering from Omicron:

Mixed advice on when to recall after Omicron recovery

People who have recovered from the Omicron variant hear mixed reviews about when they should receive their COVID-19 booster shot – soon after recovery or several weeks later. 2:02

Do not get vaccinated when you are sick

In general, if you’re sick, you shouldn’t get any type of vaccine, said Alyson Kelvin, virologist and vaccine researcher at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

“Your body’s immune response to anything it’s fighting is going to be directed against this pathogen,” she explained.

At the same time, your body might not respond as effectively to a dose of the vaccine, which is believed to trigger your immune system by mimicking a threat like the coronavirus. “So that’s usually why we would have to wait awhile after getting infected to get a vaccine,” Kelvin said.

The perfect time to get a booster shot, she said, is when your immune system has calmed down.

Alyson Kelvin, virologist and vaccine researcher at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, says it’s important to wait until symptoms of the virus are gone before receiving a booster. (David Stobbe)

Kelvin compared what’s going on inside your body to the process of recruiting people for a job: you want highly qualified candidates for a specific job, which in this case means fighting the coronavirus.

“Say you send out a job offer, and you get a lot of people responding for that job. It’s like when you get an initial vaccine, or you get infected, and your immune response starts to recruit all of these different immune cells, ”she said.

It’s a busy time, but the bulk of those immune cells – or job applicants, shall we say – will eventually disappear. That’s when you want another boost in reactivating the immune system, or as Kelvin’s analogy says, another chance to regroup with the most suitable candidates for the job.

“So you definitely want to wait until your symptoms go away, and it’s probably beneficial to wait a month or a few more weeks after your initial infection, as you’ll get more benefit from that boost,” he said. she declared.

No need to rush to get a post-infection booster

Other immunologists agreed that there was really no urgent need for a post-infection booster.

“I think it’s a better idea to wait several months before getting a boost because the boost will be more effective then,” said Dr. Jamie Scott, molecular immunologist and professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby. , in British Columbia. even stronger effect because memory cells will be much more developed and antibody levels will drop. “

“I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to receive a booster soon after recovering from an Omicron infection,” said Deepta Bhattacharya, professor of immunobiology at the University of Arizona at Tucson.

Preliminary data suggests that infections with this variant also protect against infection with the once-dominant Delta variant, he said, which lowers your chances of being immediately infected with either version of the virus.

And Bhattacharya noted that not rushing and getting a booster soon after your recovery actually aligns with Canada’s unorthodox approach to vaccination – to space out doses – throughout the pandemic.

In just a few weeks, hundreds of thousands of Canadians have likely been infected with the Omicron variant. (Chris Young / The Canadian Press)

Canada known for spacing out doses

Before vaccine shipments began to surge, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued a bold recommendation to delay second doses well beyond manufacturing guidelines to a maximum of four months.

While the move was controversial at the time, vaccine experts told CBC News it was rooted in decades of vaccine science and might actually offer more protection than sticking to the tight schedule of clinical trials.

“One of the things Canada has taught us is spacing them out – spacing out your exposures – makes a big difference in the quality and magnitude of the antibodies you get,” Bhattacharya said.

The next phase of protecting people against Omicron and its future variants may require the development of vaccines tailored to these threats.

“At the moment, the boosters we have correspond to a strain that is long gone – and probably will never be seen again,” he said. “So hopefully we have better options on the road. “

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