As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have begun planning to give second doses in the coming weeks.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Friday that more than 22 million people across Canada have now had at least one dose of a vaccine.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says by the summer, Canada will have enough vaccines so that every eligible resident will have gotten their first dose, and by September, it will have enough doses for everyone to be fully vaccinated.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended that Canada turn toward the ultimate goal of fully immunizing the population, now that supplies of COVID-19 shots are increasing.
The advisory panel said those at highest risk of dying or becoming severely ill should be prioritized for second shots, either after or alongside first doses for anyone else who is eligible for a vaccine.
Since the novel coronavirus is still circulating in Canada, NACI is still recommending that the second dose be received up to four months after the first dose, in order to maximize the number of people who get at least one shot.
“The 16-week interval was the upper limit and provinces and territories should aim to start administering second doses as quickly as regional logistics allows it,” Dr. Caroline Quach said in a statement Friday.
“First doses have been a highly effective starting point from a population immunity perspective, and we now need to move towards our second doses to provide more complete long-term protection.”
Here’s a list of the inoculation plans throughout Canada:
Newfoundland and Labrador
All people in the province aged 12 and older can now book an appointment for a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
So far 2.13 per cent (11,161) of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Health Minister John Haggie says the province has 1,480 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine set to expire by the end of the month.
He says if the province cannot use them in time, they’ll be sent off to join the federal vaccine supply chain.
Appointments for an initial COVID-19 vaccine shot are now open to people 12 years of age and older.
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for use in children aged 12 and up. The Moderna vaccine is only available for those 18 and older.
Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout is ahead of schedule and should see second doses being administered two to four weeks earlier than originally planned, officials said Tuesday.
Under the province’s accelerated plan, someone who received their first dose of vaccine on March 22 and is due for a second dose on July 5 will now be able to reschedule their second appointment for as early as the week of June 20.
The province has stopped the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine as a first dose.
The Health Department says the decision was based on “an abundance of caution” due to an observed increase in the rare blood-clotting condition linked to this vaccine.
The department also says it will reschedule anyone who was to receive AstraZeneca to instead be inoculated with Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna “in a timely manner.”
Prince Edward Island
In Prince Edward Island, residents as young as 16 can book a COVID-19 vaccine.
People 16 years and older who have certain underlying medical conditions, pregnant woman and eligible members of their household can also get a vaccine.
So far 8.11 per cent (12,868) of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Residents in New Brunswick aged 12 to 17 are now eligible to book an appointment for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Officials also say residents 55 and older who received an Astra-Zenaca vaccine for the first dose at least eight weeks ago can now get a second dose of the vaccine with informed consent.
In Quebec, all residents 12 and older are able to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
The province’s health minister says Quebecers 12 to 17 years old will be fully vaccinated by the time they return to school in September.
Quebec also says it will shorten the delay between first and second doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to eight weeks from 16 weeks.
The province says more than 5.3 million doses of vaccine have now been administered, with about 58.1 per cent of the population having received at least one dose.
All adults in Ontario can now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
People turning 18 in 2021 can book Pfizer-BioNTech shots.
Youth aged 12 and older can also book appointments across Ontario.
They can book through the provincial online portal, call centre and through pharmacies offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only shot authorized by Health Canada for use in youth aged 12 and older.
Ontarians, meanwhile, are getting the option to shorten the interval between COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Most people are being scheduled for doses four months apart, but officials say the new interval could be as short as 28 days.
The plan will start with seniors aged 80 and older next week and the province will later offer second shots based on when people received their first.
People will keep their original appointments if they don’t re-book.
The province aims to see all eligible Ontarians fully vaccinated by the end of September.
Ontario is also resuming use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine but only as a second dose.
Dr. David Williams, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says those who received the first dose of AstraZeneca between March 10 and March 19 during a pilot project at pharmacies and some doctor’s offices in several Ontario communities will be first in line to receive their second dose.
Ontario says more than 8.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered across the province.
Manitoba is using the Pfizer vaccine for everyone aged 12 and up, and the Moderna vaccines for people aged 18 and up These are available through a few channels including so-called supersites in larger communities.
The province is also allowing anyone 40 and over to get an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through pharmacies and medical clinics, subject to availability. People 30-39 can get a shot if they have certain underlying health conditions such as chronic liver failure or severe obesity.
The province has opened up second-dose appointments to all Indigenous people aged 12 and up, to people with certain medical conditions such as severe heart failure and Down syndrome, and anyone who received their first dose on or before March 29.
Provincial health officials say they now expect 70 per cent of Manitobans aged 12 and older to get a dose by the end of June.
Saskatchewan says it reached the step two threshold of its reopening roadmap released earlier this week, with over 70 per cent of residents age 30 and older having received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
That means restrictions will begin to be relaxed June 20, which includes easing capacity limits on retail, personal care services, restaurants and bars, although they must still maintain physical distancing among occupants or have barriers in place.
The rules also raise caps on private indoor gatherings to 15, while capacity limits jump to 150 for both public indoor gatherings and all outdoor assemblies, whether public or private.
Premier Scott Moe says once 70 per cent of the entire adult population is vaccinated, Saskatchewan can move to the third step of its plan and remove almost all of the remaining public health orders.
Saskatchewan residents aged 12 and older are now eligible to book their first COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
A school immunization program for those aged 12 to 18 will be introduced in June, but eligible residents of that age can also be immunized at clinics offering the Pfizer vaccine.
Anyone 85 and older or anyone who received their first vaccine dose before February 15 can now book their second dose.
Anyone diagnosed with cancer and solid organ transplant recipients will be receiving a letter of eligibility in the mail which will allow them priority access to a second dose.
There are drive-thru and walk-in vaccination clinics in communities across the province.
The province says as of Friday, 64 per cent of all Saskatchewan adults had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Forty-nine per cent of those in the 80-plus age group are fully vaccinated.
Every Albertan aged 12 and older is now eligible for a vaccine.
As of May 27, 60.3 per cent of Albertans over the age of 12 had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The milestone means the province’s second stage of easing restrictions could begin on June 10. It is subject to hospitalizations being below 500 and trending downwards. Some of the restrictions that would be lifted include allowing outdoor gatherings ? including weddings and funerals ? with up to 20 people. Restaurants would be allowed to seat tables with up to six people, indoors or outdoors. Retail capacity would also increase, and gyms could open for solo or drop-in activities with three metres of distancing.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, has said people who are immunocompromised can book a second dose three or four weeks after their first shot. All other Albertans are eligible to get their second dose three to four months after the first.
For the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the province lowered the minimum age to 30. They are, however, reserving the remaining supply for second doses when people are eligible.
More than 250 pharmacies are offering immunizations. A total of 80 physicians’ clinics across the province will soon join the vaccine rollout after a successful pilot project.
British Columbia is setting an end-of-summer target for everyone in the province to receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has also announced a decrease in the time between the first and second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, cutting the interval to eight weeks from 16 weeks.
But the interval for people who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as a first dose and are waiting for their second AstraZeneca shot may take longer. Henry said the province is waiting for results from international data on AstraZeneca, including the effectiveness of mixing vaccine shots and ongoing concerns about rare blood clots.
Henry said the rollout of second doses will be similar to the first dose, with those at the greatest risk at the top of the list. Seniors, Indigenous people and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be getting their invitations to book a second shot by the weekend.
The province will try to ensure that everyone gets the same vaccine they were first administered, but a shortage of the Moderna vaccine may mean people will have to substitute it for a Pfizer shot. Henry said the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has reviewed the evidence on using different vaccines and has updated the guidance, confirming that while it is preferable to have the same product, it’s not always possible.
Pfizer and Moderna are the same type of vaccines.
Families can get vaccinated together in B.C. as the government allows youth between the ages of 12 and 17 to get their COVID-19 shot.
The shots will be administered at community clinics instead of in schools based on feedback from families, with 310,000 children in B.C. eligible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved for that age group.
As of Friday, about 3.1 million doses of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines had been administered in B.C., which means about 63 per cent of those eligible have got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Nunavut has placed an order for doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with the federal government to vaccinate people ages 12 to 17 in the territory.
The Moderna vaccine is currently the only one available in Nunavut.
Nunavut has opened vaccinations to anyone 18 and older.
It is also offering shots to rotational workers coming from Southern Canada.
The Northwest Territories is now offering vaccinations against COVID-19 to young people between 12 and 17.
The territory, which has only been using the Moderna vaccine, recently exchanged some of that for doses of the Pfizer product, which Health Canada has now approved for anyone as young as 12.
The territory is now vaccinating children aged 12 to 17.
The government says clinics in most communities will be held in schools, while those in Whitehorse can get their shot at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre. The children will be getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The territory says because of limited supply and stricter handling requirements, the vaccine will only be available for a short time.
It says second doses for those 12 to 17 will start on June 23 and medical travel will be supported for youth who aren’t able to make the clinic date in their community.
The Moderna vaccine is available to adults 18 years of age and older.
The government says 59.34 per cent (24,763) of the population has now been fully vaccinated.
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