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Ontario looking at delaying 2nd COVID-19 vaccine dose to 4 months after 1st shot

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Ontario is looking at possibly delaying second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to nearly four months after a person receives their first shot.

In a joint statement issued Monday, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said there is “growing evidence” that suggests the interval between the first and second doses can be safely extended to four months “while maintaining a strong and sustained level of protection from COVID-19.”

The statement cited a move by B.C. that extended the intervals between first and second doses to 112 days.

Read more: B.C. says all eligible adults should get first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by end of July

“Our government is keenly interested in doing everything possible to get as many vaccines into arms as quickly as possible,” the statement said.

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“To that end, Ontario continues to be actively engaged with the federal government and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization on potential updated direction on second dose intervals, with the goal of pursuing a similar direction to British Columbia.”

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Elliott and Jones said the move would allow more at-risk Ontarians to be reached faster and possibly allow the general population to receive a shot “much earlier” than expected.

Read more: AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine not recommended for people in Canada over age 65: NACI

“We also remain steadfastly committed to ensuring everyone who receives their first dose is provided maximum protection by receiving their second dose as informed by scientific knowledge,” the statement said.

Elliott and Jones said once more details are received from the federal government regarding delaying second doses, and after more details are received on the AstraZeneca vaccine, Ontario will provide an update on rollout plans.

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, Ontario had administered 704,695 COVID-19 vaccine doses with 263,214 people having received both shots.

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