A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for 2-dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

‘Realities on the ground’ means that provinces, territories will have difficult choices to make

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is still recommending that COVID-19 vaccines be given on manufacturer guidelines, but is now okaying an up to 42 day gap due to the “realities on the ground.”

Deputy chief medical officer Dr. Howard Njoo made the announcement during a federal technical briefing on vaccines on Thursday (Jan. 14).

“The supply is limited at the current time,” he said, at the same time as the country sees rates of infection, hospitalizations and deaths rise. Canada has seen an average of 7,727 new cases each day over the last week, with 4,509 in hospital each day, 839 of those in intensive care. The average daily death toll last week was 145.

Manufacturer guidelines recommend a 21-day gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine. However, NACI has allowed that on-the-ground-realities may lead provinces and territories to take a different tack.

“While efforts should be made to vaccinate according to the recommended schedules… some jurisdictions considering vaccine delivery logistics, current epidemiological status and projections, and healthcare system capacity may maximize the number of individuals benefiting from a first dose of vaccine by delaying the second dose, until further supplies of the vaccine become available, preferably within 42 days of receipt of the first dose,” NACI stated. The World Health Organization has provided a similar recommendations.

Neither NACI nor WHO recommendations are binding for the provinces, which are in charge of getting vaccines into their residents’ arms. B.C. has said it is going for an up to 42-day interval, citing clinical trial data.

Njoo said that the question broke down to whether it was better to protect more people with the level of immunity provided by the first dose or if it was better to get fewer people fully immunized.

“That question is not something that’s unique to Canada,” he added.

As to Quebec, which is reportedly planning for a 90-day interval between vaccine doses for some people, Njoo said they should monitor people who receive their shots more than 42 days apart.

Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, vice president of logistics and operations for the public health agency of Canada, said that Canada still expects to get six million doses by the end of March. Canada announced earlier this week that it had secured an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, bringing the country up to 40 doses of that vaccine.

Fortin said that Canada can expect to receive one million vaccine doses per week starting in April, for a total of 20 million in the second quarter of the year. The federal government said Canada has 80 million doses of vaccine scheduled to arrive in 2021, which will allow Canada to meet its pledge to immunize everyone who wants a COVID vaccine by September of this year.

Currently, Canada has received 548,950 doses, about two-thirds of that being the Pfizer vaccine. According to a shipment schedule posted on the federal government’s website, Canada is expected to 625,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 171,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine between the start of this week and the end of January.

The country is then scheduled to get 1.47 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 480,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of February.

More to come.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

we do have a limited supply

pandemic is getting worse – rates of infection are increaseing,d eaths as well

do you protect more people with an initial dose that provides some level of protectoin

that question is not somtehing that’s unique to canada

scarcity of vaccines in the first quarter

6M

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Chilliwack Search and Rescue truck heads down Vedder Road towards Cultus Lake to assist a dirtbiker with a broken leg. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Emergency crews, SAR busy with three separate outdoor recreation incidents in Chilliwack area

Calls in 1 afternoon include ATV collision, parachuter who fell from tree, dirtbiker with broken leg

Chilliwack’s historic Royal Hotel is offering COVID-style wedding packages for two weeks in June. (Facebook/ Royal Hotel Chilliwack)
Chilliwack hotel offers pop-up, COVID-style weddings for 2 weeks this June

‘Weddings can still happen, albeit in a different fashion,’ says Laura Reid of Royal Hotel

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

A man holds a child while speaking with RCMP following an erratic driving incident on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Friday, April 16, 2021. The child and a woman (but not this man) were in this Jeep Grand Cherokee which hit a barrier and a parked car on Highway 1 and continued driving. The vehicle finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Video image
UPDATE: Bridge traffic moving normally after high-velocity crash involving logging truck

Northbound crash occurred at approximately 2 p.m., involves 6 vehicles, north lanes shut down

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read