Health officials in Manitoba now say those who received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for their first dose can get either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for their second shot.
In a release Monday the province said anyone who received a first shot of any vaccine on or before April 8 is now eligible to book for their second shot.
Those who got the AstraZeneca vaccine can get any mRNA vaccine, provided they meet provincial eligibility criteria, including that they got their first shot a minimum of 28 days previously.
Dr. Joss Reimer, who is leading the province’s vaccine rollout, says the decision around mixing AstraZeneca vaccine was made following the results of a study from Spain and seeing decisions made in Quebec and other countries.
“This is consistent with what we have seen in vaccines for other diseases as well.” Reimer said at a Monday press conference.
“We’ve seen that changing products in between doses for almost every other vaccine still results in good effectiveness.”
About 75,000 Manitobans received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose. Reimer said if those people hadn’t jumped on the chance to get vaccinated, it’s likely some of them would have ended up in hospital.
“You were protected from COVID weeks earlier than you otherwise would have been,” she said.
Reimer said roughly 3,700 shots of AstraZeneca shots remain at pharmacies and doctor’s offices in Manitoba that were set to expire Monday. Health Canada has said those doses can be used until July 1.
Reimer said they will be saved for the people who cannot have the other vaccines.
Health officials have said those making appointments need to know which vaccine they first received, and the date the dose was given. Personal vaccine information can be found on Shared Health’s website or by calling the local public health office.
Appointments can be made by by calling 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) or visiting the province’s website.
Those who received their first dose on or before April 13 will be eligible to book a second shot at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, the province said.
All Indigenous people and those with specific health conditions are also eligible to get a second dose.
All Manitobans 12 and over are eligible to book their first-dose appointments.
Appointments can be be booked at super sites in Gimli, Dauphin, Steinbach, Winnipeg (RBC Convention Centre, Leila), Brandon, Thompson, Selkirk and Morden.
Pop-up vaccination sites are also planned throughout the province in June. A list of where the sites will be set up is available on the province’s website.
According to provincial data, 852,094 vaccinations have so far been administered in Manitoba.
Officials say 953,290 doses of vaccine have been delivered to the province since December, including 654,030 doses of Pfizer vaccine, 215,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, and 84,260 doses of the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine.
Another 87,750 doses of Pfizer and 14,600 doses of Moderna are expected to arrive in Manitoba this week.
–With files from The Canadian Press
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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