Ontario is proceeding with second dose administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, beginning with those who received their first dose of the vaccine between March 10 and March 19, 2021.
For a limited time during the week of May 24, individuals who received their first dose of AstraZeneca during the period of March 10, 2021 to March 19, 2021 may opt for an earlier dose interval of 10 weeks with informed consent. An Ontario government release says choosing to receive the second dose of AstraZeneca at the 10-week interval is safe. There are about 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Ontario refrigerators right now that will expire by the end of the month. More AstraZeneca shipments are expected this month.
Eligible individuals are encouraged to contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose and can book an appointment beginning the week of May 24. This will begin in the regions where the AstraZeneca vaccine was initially launched in pharmacies and primary care settings in March 2021. Primary care settings and pharmacies may also be reaching out to eligible Ontarians.
The province paused the rollout and administration of first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier in May due to an observed increase in an adverse reaction, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Nearly one million Ontarians aged 40 and over received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose between March 10, 2021 and May 11, 2021. Data from the UK strongly suggests a much-reduced risk of VITT in second doses of AstraZeneca – one in 600,000. Based on this evidence, the province is committed to ensuring Ontarians who received the AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose, and who do not receive their second dose at the 10-week interval during the week of May 24, will have the ability to receive a second dose of AstraZeneca within the recommended interval of 12 weeks
As of May 20, 2021, at 8:00 p.m., over 7.7 million vaccine doses have been administered across the province, with more than 93 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and over and more than 89 per cent of residents aged 70 to 79 having received at least one dose. More than 59 per cent of the population aged 18 and over have received at least one dose and more than 495,000 Ontarians are fully immunized, including 96 per cent of long-term care residents.
In May, Ontario expects to receive approximately 4.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 254,500 doses of AstraZeneca. Approximately 4.7 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected in June. Vaccine allocations for July have not been provided at this time.
Visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a pharmacy offering a COVID-19 vaccine and to book an appointment.