Increasing supply of Moderna will mean mixing vaccines

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine vials. (Photo courtesy of the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit)

Mixing vaccine brands may become common practice at mass vaccination sites throughout the Windsor region.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit expects to receive large shipments of the Moderna vaccine over the next couple of weeks, with over 17,000 doses expected to hit the region by the end of the week.

“At some point, it is likely that people who received Pfizer, or AstraZeneca, that they could be getting a second dose of Moderna. The interchangeability, we’re trying to match the second dose with the first dose, but based on vaccine supply we may have to interchange them and that is completely acceptable,” said CEO and Chief Nursing Officer Theresa Marentette.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said current scientific data support the interchangeability of the vaccines.

“People will be aware and I think they should feel comfortable, that is the key message,” said Dr. Ahmed. “They should feel comfortable that regardless of whether you’re getting the second dose of the same mRNA or a different mRNA. These vaccines are equally safe and effective. That’s the bottom line. If and when we switch at the mass vaccination clinic next week, people should feel comfortable, people should feel confident that we are not compromising on the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines.”

The region hit a major milestone on vaccine coverage on Wednesday with over 25 per cent of adults fully vaccinated.

Dr. Ahmed said, with the increasing vaccination rates and active case count below 100, he would feel comfortable moving on to Stage 2 of reopening at any time.

“If the province announced this weekend or next weekend that we can move to the next step, I would be comfortable with that,” said Dr. Ahmed.

There are 89 active cases in the community now. The health unit reported nine new cases on Wednesday morning.

Local hospitals are treating 10 patients with COVID-19 and three of them are in the intensive care unit.