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Ontario’s urban Indigenous communities, dialysis patients now have shorter COVID-19 vaccine intervals

Click to play video: 'Canadian Health officials recommend 4-month interval between 1st and 2nd COVID-19 doses' Canadian Health officials recommend 4-month interval between 1st and 2nd COVID-19 doses
WATCH ABOVE: Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Njoo announced federal authorities have agreed with a National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendation that the time between first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can be extended up to four months – Apr 8, 2021

The Ontario government has adopted recommendations from an advisory group to shorten the COVID-19 vaccine intervals for those in the province’s urban Indigenous communities and those undergoing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.

The guidance was recently updated on the provincial government’s website and came into effect immediately. Officials told Global News more information will be released soon.

Those undergoing the blood-filtering procedures of hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis will be able to get vaccinated at their clinics or request a letter from their nephrologist or unit.

Read more: Ontario may shorten COVID-19 vaccine interval, looking into mixing 1st and 2nd doses

Currently in Ontario, most people are receiving vaccine doses 16 weeks apart in line with recommendations made by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and adopted by the provincial government in an effort to provide partial protection to more people amid supply issues.

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However, transplant recipients and those with certain cancers are among the groups of people who can receive their second doses in accordance with the vaccine makers’ recommended intervals.

Pfizer recommends a 21-day interval between its two shots, while Moderna recommends four weeks and Oxford-AstraZeneca advises between four and twelve weeks.

Read more: Questions mount over lack of COVID-19 vaccination plan for Ontario’s urban Indigenous communities

Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald praised the government’s move on Twitter Friday afternoon.

“I’m grateful to many other advocates and supporters who recognized the need to protect the vulnerable,” she tweeted.

“The #science tells us that those living in urban cent[res] are at even greater risk for hospitalizations and death from #COVID19. I am certain that changing the dosing interval will prevent hospitalizations and save lives.”
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Meanwhile, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Monday that added vaccine supplies might allow the province to shorten the current four-month interval between the first and second shots.

“We expect that with the much larger quantities of the Pfizer vaccines that we’re receiving throughout the month of May, that we may well be able to shorten the timeline for people to receive their second doses,” she said.

If that happens, Elliott said people will be contacted to arrange a new time for their second appointment, adding that the new interval would be closer to the original timeline for vaccinations.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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