The time interval of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines is being extended in Ontario to up to 16 weeks. This allows vaccine distribution throughout the Public Health Sudbury & Districts service area to ramp up, offering more people their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The decision is in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply and follows on the recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). For certain groups, such as residents of long-term care and retirement homes, Elder Care Lodges and those in assisted living communities for seniors, at this time, the original dosing interval will apply.
“Although I understand that people who have received their first dose were looking forward to receiving their second dose, they will need to wait a bit longer. This new guidance will mean rescheduling appointments to 16 weeks from the first dose, but will allow us to protect our communities faster,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “The evidence tells us that increasing the time between the first and second dose of the Health Canada approved two-dose vaccines still offers high effectiveness against symptomatic disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Sutcliffe.
Public Health will rebook all appointments for second doses that now need to be rescheduled due to the dosing interval change. Individuals will be informed of their new appointment either through email or phone and do not need to take any actions themselves.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts will work directly with individuals and partner agencies to ensure everyone receives their second dose within the recommended time frame. Individuals who receive their first dose of vaccine on March 10, 2021, or later will receive a booking for their second dose within 16 weeks.
The first 2 clinics on Manitoulin for these groups will be held the week of March 15th. All vaccination clinics are by appointment only. To pre-register, please visit: www.surveymonkey.ca/r/vaccineappointment.
Additional vaccination clinics will be held throughout the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts. Details about which groups of people are now eligible and the pre-registration process are available online and will also be shared broadly in the coming days and weeks. For details, visit www.phsd.ca/health-topics-programs/vaccines-immunizations/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine/upcoming-vaccination-clinics-for-specific-priority-groups/.
A reminder that health care workers, individuals born in 1941 or earlier (adults 80 years of age and older in 2021), and recipients of chronic home care are able to pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. To ensure fairness, people who have pre-registered online or by phone will be randomly selected to match the available number of vaccine doses. As vaccine supply is limited, it may take time to be selected for a vaccine appointment. Individuals whose names are selected will be contacted with details on how to book their appointment. Individuals only need to pre-register once and if they are not selected for immediately upcoming clinics, their name is still included in the random selection process for future clinics. Clinics are being planned aligned with anticipated vaccine availability, and in time, vaccine will be available for anyone who wishes to receive it. Visit www.phsd.ca for COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration information.
Between January 13 and March 10, 2021, 10 412 people have received their first dose and 1 706 people have been fully vaccinated. In all 12 118 doses have been administered (includes first and second doses) in Sudbury and districts. Every effort is being made to ensure that our COVID-19 vaccine clinics are accessible and inviting and that people have information about the opportunities with enough lead time to book appointments.
For more information or if you have questions, please visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200). Public Health Sudbury & Districts is currently receiving a very high number of calls and inquiries. It may take several days to hear back, and patience is appreciated.