York Region’s medical officer says province considering shortening vaccine interval

Move could come as early as next week for the 80+ crowd

Word from out of York Region indicates the Ontario Government is planning to shorten the second dose interval between COVID-19 vaccines, starting with those aged 80 and above.

Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s medical officer of health, indicated during Thursday morning’s council meeting that the province has informed health units to prepare for the shortening of the interval, starting as early as next week. “They have given us the heads up, that they hopefully will move in that direction as of next week with the over 80 group, and then subsequently moving down to the over 70 age group,” said Kurji during Thursday’s meeting. “We are currently working through the logistics of this particular move. And with the objective of being fair, and causing minimal confusion, at this point in time, we’re still studying over different options, and haven’t quite landed on how we will be doing this.”

Currently, there is a four-month interval between shots, with exceptions. The move was made when vaccine supply was in high demand, so as to make sure everyone could have access to a first dose.

With the steady ramping-up of vaccine supply in Ontario, there has been a push from some to reduce the interval. Dr. Kurji points out not all have seen that rise in vaccinations yet. “There are pockets within the province that haven’t been doing as well, largely, they believe it’s because of vaccine supply issues. So even when it comes to the shortening of the intervals for the second doses, there are others in the province that believe that vaccines should be routed to those particular health units to enable them to deliver vaccines first.”

There has yet to be any official communication to the public from the Government of Ontario on the shortening of vaccine intervals. During a Thursday media briefing, Public Health Ontario’s Dr. Dirk Huyer said further details can be expected during a vaccine update on Friday.