Supplies of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for second doses are scheduled to arrive at pharmacies in British Columbia on Monday.
Recipients who choose to get their second dose with the same vaccine should expect to get a notification to book their shot soon.
Earlier this week, the province announced it would allow people who had AstraZeneca as their first dose to choose between getting their second shot with the same vaccine, or to have either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead.
This came after Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance, recommending that approved COVID-19 vaccines can be safely mixed and matched in most scenarios.
Despite the updated guidance, it remains recommended for people to get a second dose of the same type of vaccine as their first.
Early results from a University of Oxford study published in May found mixing the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines could increase the frequency of mild to moderate symptoms, but found no serious safety concerns.
Anyone who would prefer one of the mRNA vaccines must make sure they’ve registered through the province to ensure they’re in the queue to get their shot at one of the province’s clinics.
“We know that one dose is very good, but we also know that two doses is better. And the real goal here is for everyone to get two doses of vaccine,” Dr. Manish Sadarangani, president of the BC Children’s Hospital Vaccine Evaluation Centre, told Global News.
“We also know we’re in the middle of a pandemic, supply is up and down, we’ve already seen that in some parts of the country, so as much flexibility as we can build into the vaccine schedule is important.”
British Columbia stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine for first doses last month, citing supply issues.
However other Canadian provinces such as Ontario also cited concerns about rare but potentially dangerous blood clots in their reasons for stopping first doses with the vaccine.
The province is also expected to begin sending out notifications to book second doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on Monday.
Those notifications will be sent to people in the same order that people were vaccinated with their first doses.
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