Moderna to lead majority of Canada’s COVID-19 recall campaign

COVID-19 vaccines are administered at a mass vaccination clinic run by Switch Health in Mississauga, Ont., December 24, 2021.Chris Young / The Canadian Press

Moderna will be the primary supplier of COVID-19 vaccine doses for the nation’s recall campaigns, as governments across the country urge eligible Canadians to receive their third vaccine as soon as possible in the face of a booming fifth wave.

The federal government says it has obtained enough COVID-19 recalls to ensure that all eligible people receive their doses at the appropriate interval. However, with deliveries of Pfizer’s doses early in the year and Moderna no later than 2021, Canadians won’t necessarily have a choice between vaccines when they reach out for the final jab.

This means that many Canadians who received doses of Pfizer for their first and second injections could get their boost against the new Omicron variant of a Moderna injection. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said it recognizes that people may prefer the same brand of vaccine for all injections, but stressed that the mRNA vaccine mix is ​​safe and protects against COVID -19.

“NACI recommended that the mix and match, or heterologous schedule, be protective, and for Canadians who have received a viral vector for their primary series, preferably,” said the PHAC spokesperson. , Mark Johnson, in a statement.

In June, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said it expected mixing different vaccines “to lead to a robust immune response.”

Canada received approximately half the number of doses of Pfizer than doses of Moderna in the last quarter of 2021 and will get nearly double the number of Moderna doses in January compared to Pfizer injections. Additionally, since people in most age groups who get an injection of Moderna for their booster only need half a dose, shipments of Moderna will cover many more people than those of Pfizer. . A full dose of Moderna is recommended for boosters for adults 70 years of age and older and people with severe immunosuppression.

“More than 8.6 million full doses of Moderna Spikevax were imported in the last quarter of 2021, sufficient vaccine for up to 17.3 million boosters. 9.3 million additional full doses of Moderna Spikevax are expected in January, ”said Johnson.

Canada has signed additional agreements with Pfizer and Moderna for the delivery of their COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in 2022, 2023 and 2024. But while Canada has already received its doses from its original contract with Pfizer, about the half are still expected from Moderna.

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Last week, Myl̬ne Drouin, director of public health for Montreal, said the city had more Moderna than Pfizer on hand and sought to reassure Quebeckers that the branding is safe Рand especially important given the need for reminders.

“The change in dose from Pfizer to Moderna is safe – it offers protection against Omicron,” said Dr. Drouin. “Moderna is a good vaccine and we don’t see in the literature that it has more side effects. “

The NACI recommendation that Pfizer vaccine should preferably be given to people aged 12 to 29 years for their first round of vaccines (first two doses) and for the third shot for people between 18 and 29 years of age also puts pressure on sourcing from Pfizer. was administered because of the lower risk of myocarditis or pericarditis with Pfizer injection.

“In people over the age of 30, either of the mRNA vaccines can be used for the booster,” said the Independent Vaccine Advisory Group.

In light of this advice, Johnson said PHAC is calling on provinces to “carefully plan, reserve and monitor their supply of Pfizer to ensure access to this age group.”

“Canada has obtained sufficient doses of Pfizer vaccine to meet needs based on NACI’s preferred recommendations” that Pfizer should be used for younger age groups, Johnson said. “Canada also has an adequate supply of Moderna Spikevax, which has been shown to be safe and very effective and which is readily available for age groups 30 years and older. “

In Ontario, Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott, said the province advises public health units to ensure an adequate supply of Pfizer for young people before offering the option between Pfizer and Moderna for older groups.

“Given the historic adoption of Pfizer, some public health units are experiencing limited supply,” Ms. Hilkene said.

The province asked Ottawa for four million doses of Pfizer in January, but it is unlikely to get that many, as the whole country receives just five million doses of Pfizer in January. In its statement to the Globe, the Public Health Agency of Canada said doses are broken down on a per capita basis and provinces and territories have already been made aware of planned supply levels.

“We will work closely with the federal government to understand the supply of inbound vaccines from January through March, but we have been assured that there will be enough vaccines for all Ontarians as we continue to expand rapidly booster capacity and eligibility, ”said Ms. Hilkene.

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