Ontario shortening interval between COVID-19 vaccine doses

Japan is considering supplying a portion of its Astra Zeneca vaccine stock to Taiwan to help the island tackle a surge in coronavirus infections. | REUTERS

Japan is considering supplying a portion of its Astra Zeneca vaccine stock to Taiwan to help the island tackle a surge in coronavirus infections. | REUTERS

Second doses based on age will primarily be a factor for those 70 years old and up, unlike the strategy for first doses which was allocated based on age groups. Appointments at this time will also open to those with highest health-risk conditions and special education workers.

As a result of shortening the dose interval, officials expect that all Ontario residents 12 years and up who want to be vaccinated will receive their second dose by the end of August.

Officials announced that the dose interval has been amended from four months to as short as 28 days, depending on supply, which has been steadily shipping into the country over the past few weeks.

Again, individuals who were diagnosed with or are being treated for cancer and those who have received solid organ transplants will get a letter of eligibility in the mail that will allow them priority access to a second dose.

Residents can also keep their original appointment date if they want.

At the moment, everyone will receive the same type of COVID-19 vaccine as their first dose.

That has left some who received that vaccine as a first shot wondering what drug they'll receive as a second dose.

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However, the vaccine will not be immediately used in the country amid lingering concerns over rare cases of blood clots being reported overseas, according to the health ministry.

In a letter to her provincial and territorial counterparts, federal Health Minster Patty Hajdu encourages provinces that aren't able to get their AstraZeneca doses into people's arms by the end of the month to give them to provinces that can.

Moeti added that the continent requires additional vaccine doses as a matter of urgency amid supply crunch that has stalled inoculation targeting high-risk groups.

Second dose appointments are now open for anyone who received their first dose between March 10 and March 19 with informed consent due to the 10-week interval. It already has an agreement with AstraZeneca to secure enough doses for 60 million people.

Approximately 31,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine are set to expire after May 31, however all AstraZeneca doses distributed to pharmacies will undertake quality assurance reviews prior to being administered.

After May 31 (and the expiry of the oldest doses of AstraZeneca the province now has on hand), people who received their first dose of the AZ vaccine will be eligible to receive their second 12 weeks after they had their first, starting with those who received their first dose on March 21.

This is a breaking news story.

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