Biontech Stock – Over 80% within EOHU have first COVID-19 vaccine dose
As the number of people within the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region who’ve received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose exceeds 80 per cent, some delayed shipments will result in changes to what’s on-hand in the coming weeks.
Medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis confirmed Monday the region has not yet received this week’s allotment of Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine, and as a result, it will be offering only the Moderna vaccine to adults at its clinics. The stock of Pfizer–BioNTech currently on-hand and received later this week will be reserved for those aged 12 to 17, as no other vaccine has yet been approved in Canada for this age group.
“This is nothing new to us,” said Roumeliotis. “There is data that supports interchangeability moving forward, just like other vaccines (for other illnesses) we’ve been routinely using.”
He said the health unit will be pushing out this messaging — the first such one sent out Monday afternoon — reassuring people who may have received Pfizer, or AstraZeneca, that receiving Moderna for their second dose isn’t a problem. This mix has been happening across Ontario, and the data to-date shows the vaccines’ effectiveness is unchanged once a second dose is received, regardless of which one.
He also spoke to any Moderna resistance, given reports from elsewhere of people having a stated preference for the Pfizer vaccine and refusing a Moderna dose when offered. So far, this hasn’t been happening within the EOHU region.
“It’s the same type of vaccine, so there’s not a problem— but I can understand there’s resistance,” Roumeliotis said, in response to a question asked in French. “However, we’ve had a few exclusively Moderna clinics and we haven’t had any problems.”
Those administering vaccines at EOHU-led clinics this week have been given some additional information to share if someone is hesitant, and Roumeliotis said if this type of resistance becomes an issue within the region the health unit would re-assess. He said to-date, this issue, or no-shows for second-dose appointments, have not led to any vaccines being wasted due to an effective same-day standby list process.
Roumeliotis referred to data on variants of concern, noting that so far, the approved vaccines are effective against reducing transmission of COVID-19 variants, and more importantly reducing the severity of the illness itself for those who are vaccinated and still contract it. In a recent Delta-variant outbreak in Waterloo Region, he said 80 per cent of those who were infected hadn’t received any vaccine, and the other 20 per cent had received a first dose, but caught COVID-19 before that dose had its full effect.
“We know that one first dose, will prevent 85 per cent or more (transmissions)… and over 85 to 90 per cent against hospitalization,” he said. “We want to ensure that second dose to prevent infections from spreading easily.”
The EOHU reported 11,431 vaccine doses administered since Friday, a record number since the start of the local immunization campaign on Jan. 12. Roumeliotis said that translates to over 80 per cent of those over 12 having received at least one dose, with the number having received two doses approaching 20 per cent. Based on a target of 180,000 people at two doses each, the campaign sits at 44.42 per cent of its goal.
The total number of vaccines administered so far within the EOHU lies at 159,905.
To those struggling with getting appointments, Roumeliotis urged patience and perseverance. Some 24,000 appointments are in the system for the next month or so, and new appointments are being added as available; with the proviso the EOHU is not adding as many until the shipments of Pfizer return to their expected level.