Shomporko Online News Deskঃ It’s the COVID-19 vaccination question that more and more Canadians are asking themselves as the country adjusts to having millions of doses of both flowing, compared to the vaccine shortage of earlier in the year.
Anyone worried about weighing the two mRNA vaccinations can rest easy: there is no right or wrong solution, and there is no benefit to shopping around for one over the other.
In an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, Dr. Peter Jüni, director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, remarked, “These are interchangeable.”
“This is like a brand of gasoline. Basically, these two really are so close to the way they are produced, the concepts, etc. We know it also when we look at the antibody responses.
“That’s important to keep in mind. There’s no better or worse between these two.”
Jüni’s comments come as the country is in the midst of a massive influx of vaccines.
Sixty-eight million COVID-19 vaccine doses are set to arrive next month, while June has seen a huge surge in deliveries. The proportion of eligible Canadians with at least one vaccine has soared to 70 per cent, though that represents just over 60 per cent of total Canadians with at least one shot.
Even so, Canada lags in administering second doses. Roughly nine per cent of Canadians have the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and changing advice around which to get as a second dose has fuelled frustration among some who got AstraZeneca.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) shifted its guidance last week for AstraZeneca recipients, advising people who got that vaccine as a first dose to get an mRNA as a “preferred” option for a second dose if possible.
That comes as cases of the Delta variant surge and it stands poised to become the main strain of the virus circulating in Ontario.
“They absolutely did the right thing,” Jüni said of anyone who got AstraZeneca, either as a first or second dose, and stressed the vaccine remains excellent at preventing severe outcomes and death.
According to him, what’s happening today as the Delta variation spreads is “real-time evolution,” which raises new issues that weren’t apparent when less contagious and severe strains were more widespread.
“We now have a situation where the Delta variation is going to take over Ontario, for example, and all we have to do is react,” he added, citing recent evidence from the United Kingdom.
“This evidence just plainly indicates, yes: two injections of Pfizer, followed by one shot of AstraZeneca, followed by one shot of Pfizer or Moderna, is the preferable choice to get and keep this pandemic under control.”