The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit says shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have been delayed.
The health unit says it was informed by the Ontario government on the weekend about the delay. 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.
However, the health unit says based on its current vaccine allocation, planned mass immunization clinics and appointments that have been booked will be kept.
The health unit says as of Monday, adults 18 years and older who have an appointment booked at one of its mass immunization clinics this week will be offered the Moderna (mRNA) vaccine.
Youth aged 12 to 17 will still receive the Pfizer vaccine as it is the only vaccine currently approved for that age group.
As per the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) guidance, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be interchanged for first and second doses, the health unit reports.
Based on the local vaccine availability, people may be offered a different brand of mRNA vaccine for their second dose.
“The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are both mRNA vaccines and the way in which they trigger an immune response is nearly identical,” stated Dr. Natalie Bocking, the health unit’s medical officer of health.
“Real-world evidence to date has shown that receiving a different vaccine for first and second doses is safe and does not provide any less protection.”
The Delta variant has been reported in the health unit’s jurisdiction (Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes) and Bocking says it is more transmissible compared to other variants, therefore, having two doses of a COVID vaccine offers increased protection.
“With the delay in delivery of Pfizer vaccine this week, it highlights the importance of being able to use either mRNA vaccine for second doses,” she said. “I would encourage people to continue to get their second doses so they have greater protection.”
On Monday afternoon, the health unit reported 21 active cases of COVID-19 in its jurisdiction.
— with files from The Canadian Press