Brampton mayor wants province to shorten AstraZeneca vaccine interval

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Published June 11, 2021 at 1:24 pm

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has joined the chorus of those who are questioning Ontario’s decision to have a 12-week second-dose waiting period for people who initially got an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccination shot.

Ontario’s COVID-19 numbers are trending positively, and Brampton is one of seven delta variant hotspots where second doses are being pushed up for people aged 70 and over. Brown expressed his concern in a letter to Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.

“It is not fair that residents have to wait 12 weeks for a second dose (of AstraZeneca,” Brown wrote in an official correspondence.

“Most other provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec, have moved to eight weeks. We need to follow their lead.”

The mayor linked the change to AZ waiting period with the need to protect essential workers that he spoke about during a weekly COVID-19 update on Wednesday.

“The one caveat in the good news today from the provincial announcement focusing on #DeltaVariant hot spots was the odd decision to exclude those who got #AstraZeneca,” Brown wrote in a Twitter post.

“We have many vulnerable, essential workers who fall into this category. This should be adjusted immediately.

“The medical advice has been clear on this,” the mayor added. “Every infectious disease doctor I have spoken to in #Brampton has said make mRNA second doses available for those who stepped up and got their #AstraZeneca shot. The 12-week wait is not supported by science and is an unnecessary risk.”

Many AstraVeneca recipients in Ontario are people aged 40 to 54 who are not in a high-risk category and signed up for a first dose after becoming eligible on April 18. That cohort has been hash-tagged #GenXZeneca.

Essential workers in Brampton have an average age of 36, putting them in the middle to the 30-to-39 age group, whose vaccination rate is a relatively low 60 per cent.

Infectious diseases experts such as Dr. Isaac Bogoch, who serves on Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, have said expediency should be a high priority with the rollout of second doses. But available data has suggests people who receive two AstraZeneca doses 12 weeks apart will develop the greatest long-term immunity if they are spaced out by 12 weeks.

That might not cover the short term, since someone with only one dose can still contract COVID-19 and spread. They might also be asymptomatic.

At Wednesday’s COVID-19 update, Peel Region’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, also seemed to indicate that it would make a little difference whether an AstraZeneca recipient got a second dose of it or an mRna vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) for their second.

“Either way, a second dose will provide you with better protection against COVID-19 and the variants that are cropping up,” Dr. Loh said.

Brown concluded his letter to Ford and Elliott with an urgent plea.

“I implore the government to make second doses available immediately for those who got AZ. It’s supported by both the best scientific and medical advice. Help us crush COVID in Peel Region!”

With files from The Canadian Press

 

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