Ontario to go ahead with second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine

TORONTO – The Ontario government is proceeding with administering second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The decision was announced in a press release on May 21.

Provincial officials say Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, and other public health experts were consulted on this decision.

The first group of individuals eligible to receive their second dose of this vaccine are those who received their first dose between March 10 and 19.

The province also stated those individuals can opt for an earlier dose interval of 10 weeks with informed consent during the week of May 24.

“Choosing to receive the second dose of AstraZeneca at the 10-week interval is safe and provides strong protection against COVID-19. This opportunity is being made available to ensure every vaccine dose possible is used to protect Ontarians during the effective delivery period,” states a press release from the province.

Eligible individuals can contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose to book their second dose appointment beginning this week.

According to the press release, pharmacies and primary care settings may also be reaching out to those who are eligible for their second dose.

First doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were halted by the province on May 11 due to an observed increase in an adverse reaction, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia.

The increased supply of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and a downward trend in COVID cases in the province were also a factor in the decision.

“Ontario is working closely with health experts to continuously review the data for the use of AstraZeneca for first doses,” states the press release.

According to the province, nearly one million Ontarians over the age of 40 received the AstraZeneca vaccines as their first dose between March 10 and May 11.

The province has also committed to ensuring that those who received AstraZeneca as their first dose and do not receive their second dose at the 10-week interval this week will have the ability to receive their second dose within the recommended 12-week window.

More information on how to book a second dose appointment will be released by the province soon.

“When the time comes to receive a second dose, everyone who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will receive either an AstraZeneca or mRNA vaccine for their second dose,” states the press release.