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Ontario planning on shortening COVID-19 2nd dose interval for residents 80+

Last Updated May 27, 2021 at 11:50 am EDT

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The Ontario government is planning to shorten the second dose interval of the COVID-19 vaccine for residents 80 years of age and older, according to York Region’s Medical Officer of Health.

During Thursday’s York Regional Council meeting, Dr. Karim Kurji said the province has given the region a “head’s up” that they will be shortening in the interval as of next week before moving down to the over 70 years old age group.

The Ford government is expected to provide a vaccine update Friday and will provide more details on the next steps of the rollout, sources tell CityNews.

Currently, the province is using a four-month interval between shots, with a few exceptions, in order to allow as many people to get their first dose of the vaccine.

The Ontario government is planning to shorten the second dose interval of the COVID-19 vaccine for residents 80 years of age and older, according to York Region’s Medical Officer of Health.

Medical experts have been calling on the government to shorten the interval for those most at risk of serious illness and death.

CityNews was told earlier this week the vaccine task force is meeting this week to discuss the interval for second doses.

Elderly people living in retirement and long-term care homes were already fully vaccinated as part of the province’s blitz earlier this year.

Pfizer recommends a 21-day interval between its two shots, while Moderna recommends four weeks and Oxford-AstraZeneca advises between four and twelve weeks.

The government has allowed a select group of those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine to receive it at the 10-week interval due to expiring vaccine.

High-risk health care workers in Ontario are also eligible to receive their second shot on a shortened timeline.

As of Thursday, 8,530,698 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered and 594,854 residents have been fully vaccinated.