Nearly 255K doses of AstraZeneca to arrive in Ontario next week, to be used as 2nd shots

Click to play video: 'Ontario waiting on determination from NACI, Health Canada on 2nd AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot: Elliott' Ontario waiting on determination from NACI, Health Canada on 2nd AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot: Elliott
WATCH ABOVE: Ontario waiting on determination from NACI, Health Canada on 2nd AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot: Elliott – May 12, 2021

The Ontario government says 254,500 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered to Ontario the week of May 17.

Officials said Wednesday the AstraZeneca doses will be used as second shots.

AstraZeneca was primarily administered in Ontario pharmacies. The government did not elaborate on booking details for the second shot.

On Tuesday, Ontario paused the use of first shots of AstraZeneca in the province due to safety concerns and supply issues.

Read more: Ontario pausing use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine due to safety, supply concerns

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution because of increased instances of an extremely rare and potentially fatal blood clotting disorder, vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), linked to the shot.

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However, Williams also said data from the U.K. suggests there is much lower risk of blood clots in second doses of AstraZeneca.

In Canada, at least 12 VITT cases have been confirmed out of more than two million doses given and three women have died. In Ontario as of May 8, there were eight VITT cases reported after approximately 901,800 AstraZeneca doses were administered.

Alberta and Saskatchewan have also said they will stop offering AstraZeneca as a first dose option.

The government has previously said that Ontario will likely mix and match vaccine doses for recipients who got a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. Those people may receive Pfizer or Moderna, which are mRNA vaccines, Health Minister Christine Elliott said earlier this week.

Ontario is waiting for results from a U.K. study on mixing different vaccines and on advice from a federal immunization panel.

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Read more: COVID-19: Ontario likely to mix 1st, 2nd vaccine doses amid lack of AstraZeneca supply

When it comes to second COVID-19 vaccine shots, currently, high-risk health care workers and at-risk patients, as well as urban Indigenous people, will be able to book an appointment as early as May 14.

“The ministry is working with public health units and hospitals on a plan to ensure all health-care worker second doses are completed as soon as possible, while ensuring that already-scheduled first dose appointments are respected,” the government said.

Last week, Health Canada authorized the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15. Ontario said it is planning on vaccinations for those children with a target of June.

So far, 50 per cent of adult Ontarians have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Ontario said its May vaccination target is to get 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and older inoculated by the end of the month.

On Wednesday, it was reported that nearly 6.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario so far. The province has been vaccinating an average of 100,000 people a day over the last several weeks as supply increases.

— With files from Global News’ Nick Westoll & The Canadian Press

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