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Panel agrees with Dr. Bonnie Henry's four-month delay between COVID vaccine doses

Last Updated Mar 3, 2021 at 3:17 pm PDT

A nurse assistant prepares a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 during a priority vaccination program for health workers at a community medical center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Updated guidance comes days after B.C.'s top doctor announced British Columbians would delay the second dose

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says evidence suggests high levels of vaccine still there after two months

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A panel of experts is recommending that provinces lengthen the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses to four months, when faced with a limited supply.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says by doing this, we can get more people vaccinated within a shorter timeframe.

The updated guidance was issued Wednesday for the administration of all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Canada, days after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that B.C. is taking that approach.

Related articles: B.C. extends wait between COVID-19 vaccine doses to four months

While it acknowledges studies have not collected data on four months of effectiveness, there is evidence to suggest sustained high levels are still there after two months.

On Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced British Columbians would wait up to four months for their second doses.

Henry has said extending the interval between doses to four months — combined with the approval of the AstraZeneca shot — means frontline and essential workers in B.C. may get access to COVID-19 shot sooner than other people in the same age brackets.

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Newfoundland and Labrador said Wednesday it is also extending the interval between the first and second doses to four months.

Manitoba also says it will delay second doses in order to focus on giving the first shot to more people more quickly.

Ontario previously said it was weighing a similar move but would seek advice from the federal government.

-With files from Hana Mae Nassar and Liza Yuzda