Ontarians who received a first shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can opt to stick with it or choose to get Pfizer or Moderna for their second dose, the province officially said Thursday.
The move was expected after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance earlier this week to allow for mixing and matching of vaccines.
“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 province said in a news release.
“These second dose options will be provided at the recommended 12-week interval.”
Starting tomorrow, June 4, individuals who received the AstraZeneca vaccine at least 12 weeks ago and wish to have a second shot of the same vaccine can contact the pharmacy or physician who provided it for their subsequent dose.
Or, if they choose to get a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, they can get a shot at a pharmacy that is offering those.
Beginning on June 7, those who got the AstraZeneca vaccine will be able to book their second of shot of either Pfizer or Moderna through the province’s central system or via their local public health unit, depending on where they live.
“Combining similar vaccines from different manufacturers in a series is not a new concept. Different vaccine products have been safely and effectively used to complete vaccine series for influenza, hepatitis A, and others,” the province said.
Officials in Ontario had already said they wanted to move ahead with mixing vaccines, but were waiting for NACI to revise its recommendations before going forward.
Ontario received a shipment of 254,500 doses of the AstraZeneca the week of May 18, and Health Minister Christine Elliott said this week that she expects they will be distributed to public health units imminently.
Officials also expect millions of doses of Pfizer through the month of June. The province is still awaiting a finalized delivery schedule for further shipments from Moderna, officials said at a briefing last week.
As of yesterday, more than 8,560,000 Ontarians, or about 58 per cent of the province’s total population, had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.