'I’m not willing to wait and give expired vaccine': What will Ontario do with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses?
Ontario is dropping the vaccine age to 18 years or older on Tuesday, but questions remain about what will happen to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses in the province.
At a press conference on Monday, Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, said it was very rare for someone who didn't react negatively to their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to get one after the second shot. However, he indicated that some might prefer the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine as a second dose.
"At the moment we don't know the actual effectiveness of the vaccine or the immunological level of the two hybrids," said Dr. Williams. "We hope to have an answer soon with a few studies in early June."
The Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health added that people get a "major effect" from the vaccine when the doses are given every 12 weeks. As a result, the province is trying to get people who received their first AstraZeneca shot 12 weeks later to get their second dose. or beyond.
"At the same time, I'm not willing to wait and give anyone in Ontario an expired vaccine. That would be completely wrong," said Dr. Williams.
He added that if the length of time between the two doses is too short, the overall immune response "may be below the maximum" and realized that some people at risk might be okay and want their second dose sooner.
Another factor that Dr. Williams is being considered is where these doses are located and whether they can be given without moving them too much.
Could there be more outdoor activities?
As the weather warms up, Dr. Williams said that while Ontario continues to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, hopefully outdoor restrictions can be relaxed "fairly soon," which becomes more "optimistic" for outdoor activities.
"It is a matter of whether some of them can be done and still maintain adequate public health measures to avoid gathering or close activities," he said. "I think some of them have a way of doing that."
Dr. Williams added that before and after activities like golf, there are specific concerns about individual actions, not the sport itself.
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