The province is updating the guidelines for Ontarians who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday (June 3).
In accordance with the recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) made earlier this week, Ontario will allow those still waiting for their second dose to mix vaccines.
“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 Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, in a press release.
“We are 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.”
Starting Friday (June 4), residents of Ontario who have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can choose to either receive a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, or an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine for their second dose.
“Both second-dose options available to individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are safe and provide strong protection against COVID-19 and will count as a completed series,” the release said.
“These second dose options will be provided at the recommended 12-week interval.”
The province said 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.
Those 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.
Starting Monday (June 7), individuals 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 province said in the release.
NACI updated their recommendations on Tuesday amid growing concerns over AstraZeneca’s link to a very rare blood clotting condition that has affected 41 people across the country.
These suspected cases of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) have lead to five deaths across the country, one in Ontario.
Current supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine are dwindling and some Canadian health experts believe the federal government will eventually phase out the brand and move forward with just Pfizer and Moderna.
— with a file from Steve Pecar