VACCINE UPDATE FOR JUNE 4
NACI releases new statement on interchangeability of vaccines
On Tuesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) released its statement on the Interchangeability of Authorized COVID-19 Vaccines. It includes recommendations for a series when the first dose is:
- mRNA COVID-19 vaccine: NACI recommends that, if readily available, the same mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product should be offered for the subsequent dose in a vaccine series started with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. However, when the same mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product is not readily available, or is unknown, another mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product recommended for use in that age group can be considered interchangeable and should be offered to complete the vaccine series. The previous dose should be counted, and the series need not be restarted.
(Strong NACI Recommendation)
- AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine: NACI recommends that either AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine or an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be offered for the subsequent dose in a vaccine series started with an AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine. The previous dose should be counted, and the series need not be restarted. The recommendation to offer mRNA as the second dose is based on expert opinion and on the following elements:
- The risk of VITT after the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine
- The possibility of increased short-term reactogenicity with a mixed schedule
- Emerging data on immunogenicity of a mixed schedule of the AstraZeneca followed by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
(Discretionary NACI Recommendation)
First-dose AstraZeneca recipients get a choice for their second dose
Following the release of the recommendations, yesterday Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that people who got the AstraZeneca/COVIDSHIELD vaccine will have a choice for their second dose – get AstraZeneca again, or an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). Those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine at their local pharmacy will be contacted by the same pharmacy about booking a second dose of it. Those who received AstraZeneca through their employer or at a VCH clinic will be contacted the same way for a second dose. If they prefer to get an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for a second dose they can book an appointment through a provincial clinic using the Get Vaccinated booking system.
Reminder: everyone must be registered in the provincial Get Vaccinated system to be notified when it’s time to book for Dose 2.
All eligible people in B.C. will be offered a second dose by the end of summer
Dr. Henry also said yesterday that there is enough vaccine supply coming to British Columbia that everyone who is eligible will be offered a second dose by the end of summer, and likely even sooner than that.