Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shipping delay forces Waterloo Region pivot towards Moderna vaccine

Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire

A shipping delay for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has caused Waterloo Region’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force to put a pause on using the vaccine for anyone over the age of 17.

“If you have an appointment to get a first or second dose of the vaccine in the coming days, please keep it,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, medical officer of health.

Read more: Fully immunized long-term care resident dies of COVID-19 in Kitchener

The region’s task force said the province informed the region on Saturday that a delay in a shipment that had been scheduled to arrive early this week created the need to pivot toward the Moderna vaccine, of which there is ample supply.

A representative for Health Minister Christine Elliott told the Canadian Press that Ontario’s Pfizer delivery for this coming week is behind by two to three days.

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Elliott spokeswoman Alexandra Hilkene said Ontario received over one million doses of Moderna on Friday and will use them to supplement the delayed Pfizer doses around the province.

The region’s task force said it will offer the Pfizer vaccine only to those under 17 as that is the only vaccine that has been approved by NACI thus far for that age group.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccine tracker: How many Canadians are vaccinated?

It said the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both mRNA vaccines and are pretty much interchangeable.

“These mRNA vaccines are from different manufacturers but they are essentially identical twins. We want everyone to be protected from COVID-19 as soon as possible, and we need to halt the spread of the Delta variant in Waterloo Region,” Wang said.

— with files from the Canadian Press

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