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Ontario asks Ottawa to work with WHO on ensuring mixed COVID vaccines recognized abroad

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. On June 1, NACI had said AstraZeneca recipients "could" get Pfizer or Moderna for their second shot if they wanted, but Thursday went further to say an mRNA vaccine was the "preferred" choice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ontario has asked the federal government to ensure Canadians who received mixed COVID-19 vaccines will be recognized for international travel as border measures lift.

Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones wrote to Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc about the issue on Sunday.

They are asking Ottawa to work with the World Health Organization to update guidance to international partners, recognizing mixed vaccines as an accepted, complete vaccine regimen.

Ontario and other Canadian provinces have offered residents the option of taking one shot each of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines orto take an mRNA shot after a first of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

The ministers say it’s critical for “the integrity and confidence” in Canada’s and Ontario’s vaccination programs that people who received doses of two different vaccines are considered immunized abroad.

They also argue that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Authority, should be seen as valid internationally.