The federal health agency gave the green light for the shot, also known as Spikevax, on Friday.
Health Canada said it received Moderna’s submission to approve its shot as a booster on Oct. 6.
“After a thorough, independent review of the evidence, Health Canada has determined that the Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine booster shot meets the Department’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements,” the agency said in a statement on Friday.
Moderna’s booster shot is to be used at least six months after an individual has received two doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Moderna’s booster shot is a half dose of the regular vaccine, according to Health Canada.
Pfizer’s vaccine was given approval as a booster dose for all Canadians 18 years or older earlier this week. Unlike Moderna, Pfizer’s booster should be offered as a full dose of the regular vaccine, Health Canada said.
While it varies by province, some have already taken up recommendations by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and have begun administering booster shots to certain groups, like adults 70 and older and front-line health-care workers.
“People in Canada should consult their local public health guidance, informed by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, for details on which individuals or groups of people are recommended to receive a booster dose at this time,” Health Canada said Friday.
Speaking at a COVID-19 update Friday, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public officer of health, told reporters that NACI is constantly monitoring immunity levels in the country in order to determine whether or not booster recommendations will be broader to other portions of the population.
“We know that in some groups, including those with suppressed immune systems, there is already waning immunity,” he said in French, however adding the country’s immune levels remain high.
“We need to do a risk-benefit or cost-benefit analysis because it would be a big decision to have a third dose for everyone,” Njoo said.
“We don’t want to administer third doses too early, but we also don’t want to wait too long to administer the third dose…. We don’t want to wait until such a time there are too many cases among vaccinated people.”
COVID-19 booster doses are an extra shot given after full vaccination and are designed to help people maintain protection from the virus.
New infections 11 per cent higher than week prior: Tam
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, told reporters Canada may be experiencing “a bit of turbulence” in new infections.
As more Canadians head inside with winter weather settling in, an average of 2,500 new cases were reported daily across the country last week, an 11 per cent jump from the week before.
“Currently, severe illness trends are stable, but we need to keep infection rates down to prevent increases,” Tam said.
“Over the past week, on average, over 1,800 people with COVID-19 were being treated in our hospitals each day with 528 in intensive care units and 22 deaths were reported daily.”
More than 28 million Canadians, or 85 per cent of the population 12 years or older, are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Tam said.
However, more than five million eligible people remain unvaccinated, as well as 4.3 million children under 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination.
Health Canada is in the process of reviewing Pifzer’s vaccine for children five to 11, and officials said a decision is expected in the next week or two.