Ontario Moderna vaccines scaled up after Pfizer shipment delayed

Ontarians slated for a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine this week will be offered a Moderna vaccine instead due to a shipment delay, the government says.

Peel region announced Saturday that it would be offering Moderna only to adults as a result. In a news release shortly thereafter, the City of Toronto said it would also “scale up Moderna doses” starting Sunday.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott confirmed a batch of Pfizer doses slated to arrive on Monday have been delayed by two-to-three days. 

However, Elliott’s spokesperson indicated people should not reschedule appointments to try to get a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a later date because the province has “a large supply of Moderna doses” ready now.

“To ensure maximum protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, Ontarians should get vaccinated as soon as they can,” said Alexandra Hilkene with Elliott’s office in an email statement.

Earlier this month, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance to provinces and territories recommending the safe mixing and matching of second doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

However, Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for use in Canada for anyone under the age of 18. 

Despite the delay, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa reiterated the provincial call not to reschedule appointments.

 “We must not delay the quick administration of doses,” de Villa is quoted as saying in the Toronto news release. “With the Delta variant growing at an exponential rate in Toronto, vaccines are one of our key strategies to slow transmission.”

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