Ontario is shortening the second-dose interval of the COVID-19 vaccine starting next week, as it looks to have as many youth fully vaccinated ahead of classes resuming in September.
According to the province, a majority of individuals in the 12-17 age group are expected to receive their first dose in June with second doses anticipated to start in early August.
The province also said Ontario residents aged 80 years and older will be able to book appointments to receive their second dose starting next week.
The second-dose plan will be based on the “first-in, first-out” method, to ensure the highest-risk groups get the doses first.
Below is the second-dose eligibility schedule for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, as outlined by the province:
- 80+ starting the week of May 31
- 70+ starting the week of June 14
- Those who received first dose March 8-April 18 starting the week June 28
- Those who received first dose April 19-May 9 starting the week of July 19
- Those who received first dose May 10-30 starting the week of Aug. 2
- Those aged 12-25 starting the week of Aug. 9
- Those who received first dose May 31 onwards starting the week of Aug. 9
Ontarians who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine March 10-19 are able to book their second-dose appointment this week. Starting the week of May 31, everyone who got their first dose from March 10 onwards is eligible to book their second dose.
“Everyone in Ontario who wants a vaccine can be fully vaccinated by the end of August,” Premier Doug Ford said on Friday, adding that the plan is based on what is currently known about upcoming vaccine shipments.
“We want to ensure you’re fully immunized as soon as possible … It means more protection from this horrible virus sooner. It means we can begin getting back to doing the things we love, and it means we’re all getting one step closer to returning to normal.”
The provincial booking system will allow Ontarians to book second-dose appointments. For those who already have a second-dose appointment, they will have to rebook their appointment when eligible to do so.
Ontarian residents will be encouraged to go back to the same location they received their first dose, but will be able to book at another site if needed.
When asked about those who received their vaccine from a pop-up clinic and did not get a second dose appointment, Health Minister Christine Elliott assured residents they will allowed to book when you become eligible and all the information about your vaccine is in the COVax provincial system.
The province said the dosing interval should be “as short as 28 days, where local appointments and supply are available.”
Officials said those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine “will ideally receive the same vaccine for their second dose unless extraneous circumstances arise” and that those who got AstraZeneca could get either Pfizer or Moderna.
However, Ontario said it is waiting guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization about administering two types of a vaccine.
The province said the second-dose plan is based on confirmed vaccine supply and does not include the anticipated Moderna shipments in June, adding that the timing “may vary based on local considerations, vaccine supply and the date of the first-dose appointment.”
The federal government is scheduled to receive 4.7-million doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines in June.
Last week, the Ford government released its three-step reopening strategy when the province’s stay-at-home order ends on June 2. Public health measures would gradually lift based on provincewide vaccination rates and improvements in key public health and health care indicators.
The first stage, which is expected to begin June 14, will happen when 60 per cent of adults in the province have been vaccinated with one dose.
So far, more than 15 per cent of those aged 12-17 have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 65 per cent of adults have received their first doses.
As of Friday, more than 8.6 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administrated, and over 624,000 Ontarians have been fully vaccinated.
Below is the province’s updated COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan: