Third doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be available for a select group of immunocompromised Yukoners

Beginning Monday, September 20, Yukoners who qualify for a third dose of a COVID-19 immunization can make an appointment online through the CanImmunize page on Yukoners in rural communities can call their local health centre to find out when the next immunization clinic will be held.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended a third dose of an approved Health Canada vaccine for a select group of immunocompromised individuals. This decision has been made as some immunocompromised people are more likely to have had a less than adequate immune response to the first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This third dose for people with moderate to severe immunosuppression will complete their primary series, whereas those who are not immunocompromised require two doses to complete their primary series.

The third dose should be provided 28 days or more after the second dose.

A third dose of COVID-19 vaccine is different from a booster dose. A booster dose is used to boost the immune system when protection from a primary vaccine series shows signs of waning over time. The third dose is the completion of a primary series for people who meet specific criteria.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s definition of immunocompromised includes people with the following conditions:

  • Active treatment for solid tumour or hematologic malignancies.
  • Receipt of solid organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy.
  • Receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant within two years or taking immunosuppression therapy.
  • Moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency, for example. DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
  • Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infections and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • Active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies
    • anti-B cell therapies;
    • high-dose systemic corticosteroids;
    • alkylating agents;
    • antimetabolites;
    • tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors; and
    • biologics. 

It is important that Yukoners who are immunocompromised and vulnerable to COVID-19 have access to a third dose of the vaccine to protect their health. If you are immunocompromised, being fully vaccinated is the best way to protect you against the virus. In the Yukon, there about 200 to 300 people who have immunocompromised conditions and should have a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to be fully protected against the virus.  The guidelines laid out by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization for immunocompromised people are very specific and the Yukon is fortunate to be in a position to rapidly respond to protect Yukoners.

Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee

In order to ensure Yukoners who have moderate to severe immunosuppression are protected against COVID-19, a third dose of vaccine is recommended. This ensures that everyone has a fair opportunity to reach their fullest health potential and protection against COVID-19. It is strongly encouraged for individuals to speak to their health care provider if they are unsure if they meet the criteria.

Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott

Quick facts 
  • People who are immunocompromised are less likely to have a robust response to the COVID-19 vaccine and require a third dose to ensure they are fully protected.

  • All others have a more robust response and may require a booster rather than a third dose to offer further protection.  

Media contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications

Patricia Living
Communications, Health and Social Services

News release #: