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Ontario to offer mRNA vaccines as second dose option for AstraZeneca recipients

Thursday, June 03, 2021 @ 1:52 PM | By Amanda Jerome


On June 3, the Ontario government announced that people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose can chose between receiving the AstraZeneca shot or an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine for their second dose to protect against COVID-19.

According to a release, the government consulted with the “chief medical officer of health and other health experts” and its decision is “in alignment with updated guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendation.”

Dr. David Williams, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement that the government is “providing individuals who have received only their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine with two recommended options based on the available data and evidence and will continue to work with Health Canada to monitor the quality and efficacy of all COVID-19 vaccines being used in Ontario.”

The release noted that both second-dose options “are safe and provide strong protection against COVID-19 and will count as a completed series.”

“Beginning June 4, 2021, individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine 12 weeks ago and who would like their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, can contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose to book an appointment. Individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and are opting to receive an mRNA vaccine have the option to schedule their second dose appointment at a participating pharmacy where the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are administered,” the release explained.

According to the NACI, the government release noted, Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines “can be safely interchanged for first and second doses if the original mRNA vaccine is not readily available. Ontarians who received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine should be offered the same mRNA vaccine for their second dose. If the same mRNA vaccine is not readily available, another mRNA vaccine can be offered instead to complete the vaccine series.”

The release noted that, likely starting the week of June 7, people who “received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and who choose to receive an mRNA vaccine for their second dose can register for a ‘second dose only’ at a 12-week interval through the provincial booking system.”

“Eligible individuals will also be able to schedule their second dose appointment directly through public health units that use their own booking system,” the release added.

“Nothing is more important than the health of Ontarians, and for the best protection against COVID-19 it is vital that everyone who received the AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose receives a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Williams.

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily please contact Amanda Jerome at Amanda.Jerome@lexisnexis.ca.