With more than 300,000 doses of Moderna expected to arrive in the province over the next two weeks, options are wide open for people who received their first dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca to get a second shot of Moderna.
Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the vaccine implementation task force, said both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are viewed as equivalent and are available to be mixed and matched if people meet the 28-day interval between their first and second doses and want to improve their second-dose date.
The province will receive just over 100,000 doses of Moderna by the end of this week and another 200,000 doses next week, task force officials confirmed on Wednesday.
“You do not have to wait to get the same vaccine as your first shot,” Reimer said during her weekly news conference alongside logistics lead Johanu Botha, on Wednesday. “This shift will help us fully protect more Manitobans sooner.”
Reimer allayed fears to other countries requiring both doses of the same branded vaccine to gain entry, suggesting that several European countries — Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Denmark, among others — have been dose mixing as well.
Ultimately, she said, it will be up to individuals countries on who they allow in for travel, but said she hasn’t heard of a case where someone, fully vaccinated, has been turned away because the first and second doses are different.
Reimer also said the National Advisory Committee on Immunization indicated that information received from other countries to date has been supportive of considering a mixed dose schedule as being seen as a full vaccination.
“The information we have received from (NACI) is reassuring,” she said.
The minimum interval between first and second doses for all three of the approved vaccines is 28 days. For those who received AstraZeneca as their first dose, the province is recommending a gap of at least eight weeks before the second dose, and up to 12 weeks to ensure the best efficacy. That said, it is not a rule and someone who received AstraZeneca can get their second shot 28 days after if they choose.
The province is also finalizing details on how they plan to roll out a shipment of AstraZeneca that was received last week and earmarked for those who want their second shot to be AstraZeneca as well as those who cannot get an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) as their first dose.