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GNN Monthly Update: November 2021

Please find below the GNN monthly update for November 21:

NITAG publications and updates:


COVID-19 additional and booster Doses:

  • NACI (Canada) strongly recommends that populations at highest risk of waning protection following their primary series and at highest risk of severe COVID-19 illness should be offered a booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after completing their primary series. These populations include:
  • Adults living in long-term care or other congregate settings that provide care for seniors (as recommended by NACI on September 28, 2021)
  • Adults 80 years of age and older

Summary of the Interim guidance on booster COVID-19 vaccine doses in Canada can be found here.


  • JCVI (UK) advises that all adults aged 40 to 49 should also be offered a booster vaccination with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, 6 months after their second dose, irrespective of the vaccines given for the first and second doses. See statement here. *JCVI has previously advised booster vaccination for all adults aged 50 years and over, and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group.


  • The working group on COVID-19 of the Spanish NITAG updated its recommendations, including:
  • advice on a booster dose of mRNA vaccines (0.3 ml Comirnaty or 0.25 ml of Spikevax - half the usual dose in primary vaccination-) to people aged 70+. This booster dose will be administered from 6 months after having completed the primary vaccination. People vaccinated with Janssen or Vaxzevria should be administered as a booster dose an mRNA vaccine (0.3 ml of Comirnaty or 0.25 ml of Spikevax). People aged 70+ who have already received a booster dose of 0.5 ml Spikevax (100 µg mRNA) are considered well vaccinated.
  • Advice on a booster dose with an mRNA vaccine (0.3 ml of Comirnaty or 0.25 ml Spikevax) to people who received a dose of Janssen. This dose will be administered at least three months after the administration of the vaccine.


  • CoNaIn (Argentina) recommends an additional dose for:
  • Immunocompromised people who have received a primary series with any COVID-19 vaccine
  • People aged 50 or older who have been vaccinated with an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine

The recommendation note also include distinction between additional dose and booster dose. It is available here.


Priority Groups: Children and Adolescents

  • ACIP (USA) now recommends that children between the ages of 5 and 11 years receive the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine. Get more information and read CDC’s media statement.
  • NACI (Canada) also recommends that a complete series of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (10 mcg) may be offered to children 5-11 years of age who do not have contraindications to the vaccine, with a dosing interval of at least 8 weeks between the first and second dose. Access the English and French full document here.
  • ATAGI (Australia) has previously noted the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) registration of Pfizer and Moderna for use in children from 12 years of age and supports COVID-19 vaccination in all adolescents from 12 years of age.


Adverse events following immunisation:

  • ATAGI (Australia) notes evidence from some international safety surveillance systems suggesting that the risk of myocarditis may be higher, albeit still rare following Moderna compared with Pfizer (<2 excess cases per 100,000 second dose vaccine recipients younger than 40 years). There is no evidence to suggest more severe disease with either vaccine. While data on myocarditis following booster doses of Pfizer vaccine is limited, preliminary data from Israel on the use of Comirnaty as a booster dose suggests the risk of myocarditis with the booster dose is not increased, as compared with the risk after second doses of vaccine. Source.
  • STIKO (Germany) recommends only the mRNA vaccine Comirnaty from BioNTech / Pfizer for the COVID-19 primary vaccination in children under 30, as the risk of myocarditis in this age group after vaccination with the mRNA vaccine Spikevax from Moderna is higher than with Comirnaty . The 13th update of the COVID-19 vaccination recommendation published in Epidemiological Bulletin 46/2021 also recommends that people under the age of 30 who have already received a 1st dose of Spikevax should be vaccinated with Comirnaty at the 2nd vaccination. More information here.


WHO global guidance resources:

  • the GACVS COVID-19 subcommittee, published updated guidance regarding myocarditis and pericarditis reported with COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

The statement can be accessed from the WHO website.


Upcoming events:

  • The SAGE extraordinary meeting is planned for December 7th. Topics for decision include: heterologous schedules and J&J. Evidence on waning or lower vaccine performance and impact of third dose will be presented.  
  • The next ADVAC alumni meeting is scheduled for December 8th from 3 to 5pm and will be on the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines. Click here to register.
  • The GNN webinar is scheduled for December 15th. Agenda will be sent nearer the time.


The GNN initiated a survey that will be sent to each Secretariat and Chair with the following objectives:

  1. Assess usefulness of the SAGE recommendations and guidelines for national COVID-19 vaccine policies and identify their uptake among NITAGs
  2. Identify guidance and policy challenges facing NITAGs and National Immunization programs.

We are counting on your participation to help WHO/SAGE and the GNN to tailor support and document the great role of NITAGs during this pandemic!


Did you know?

The recording of the ADVAC alumni webinar on the following topic “Will the success of mRNA vaccine development platforms for COVID-19 lead to new platforms for old vaccines?” is freely accessible here.