Ontario says some AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered to Toronto pharmacies

A pharmacist administers the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine to man in London Ont

Second doses based on age will primarily be a factor for those 70 years old and up, unlike the strategy for first doses which was allocated based on age groups.

After May 31 (and the expiry of the oldest doses of AstraZeneca the province now has on hand), people who received their first dose of the AZ vaccine will be eligible to receive their second 12 weeks after they had their first, starting with those who received their first dose on March 21.

The Ontario Government's pharmacy locator website states that once supply is received, first doses of the Moderna vaccine will be available to those 18 and up at Hogan Pharmacy on London Road, Metro Pharmacy on London Road, Rexall on Cathcart Boulevard, the Wal-Mart Pharmacy on Quinn Drive, and Shoppers Drug Mart on Mitton Street.

The setback comes as the province tries to put about 55,000 doses of AstraZeneca into people's arms before the vaccine expires at the end of May. The province has already said that individuals who have received AstraZeneca for the first dose could potentially receive Pfizer or Moderna for the second dose. Ontario is also preparing to roll out the eligibility for accelerated second dose appointments starting with individuals aged 80 and over, beginning on May 31, 2021.

Advice for those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose remained status quo on Wednesday. This week, Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said he would like children back in school before the province starts reopening in mid-June. The province said it may also include other groups around that time, such as individuals with highest health risk conditions and special education workers. Earlier this week, health officials confirmed that those who had already received their first dose will soon be able to get their second.

The second injection AstraZeneca is now being offered to people who received the first shot between March 10 and March 19.

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There are some exceptions, mainly for people who are at high-risk of severe outcomes and where one shot of vaccine may not provide sufficient protection, as well as those who live or work in high-risk settings in terms of exposure.

Reimer said that lower efficacy has been shown when second doses come prior to 12 weeks.

Several of the local pharmacies have not yet received any doses of vaccine, and until they do, are not booking appointments. For those in public health units who use their own booking system, or who received their doses from their primary care provider or through a pop-up clinic, more information will follow on how and when second dose booking and rebooking will be available.

Ontario has reached a key milestone in its fight against COVID-19, having achieved its target to administer first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over ahead of schedule.

Some pharmacies in Toronto have received doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after an earlier delay due to quality control issues, Ontario's Ministry of Health said Thursday.

Meanwhile, second doses for AstraZeneca will proceed on a 12-week interval based on the "first-in and first-out" method, and a 10-week interval for doses that are set to expire on May 31.

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