Ontario accelerates second dose of AstraZeneca to eight weeks

Many health experts, politicians have urged province to shorten 12-week dosage interval

Individuals who got an AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab won’t have to wait 12 weeks for a second dose.

The Ontario government announced Saturday afternoon that the second dose interval for people who received their first dose of an AstraZeneca shot is being accelerated to eight weeks, with informed consent, from three months.

“This decision is based on emerging clinical evidence about the administration of two doses of different vaccines, as supported by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI),” the government said in a statement.

“Evidence from multiple studies indicates that mixing of COVID-19 vaccines (receiving an mRNA vaccine after an AstraZeneca vaccine) at dosing intervals between eight and 12 weeks is safe and demonstrates a beneficial immune response.”

Starting on Monday, individuals who got a first dose of AstraZeneca will be able to book a second shot of the same vaccine or choose a mRNA vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna.

Individuals who wish to receive an mRNA vaccine for their second dose can book an appointment through the provincial booking system, through public health units that use their own booking system, or a participating pharmacy. For individuals who wish to receive second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, individuals can contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose.

The Ford government has been fielding calls from public health experts and politicians to cut the 12-week dosage interval so more people can get fully vaccinated, as there is growing concern about the spread of the Delta variant.