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B.C. pharmacies expecting more AstraZeneca vaccines for second doses

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

AstraZeneca vaccines reserved for second doses in B.C.

British Columbians who received AstraZeneca as a first dose should hear from the pharmacy they got it at for a second

B.C. says people who received AZ as their first shot can choose an mRNA vaccine as their second if they wish

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Pharmacies across B.C. are expected to receive new supplies of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday.

The doses are reserved for people who choose to receive a second dose of the drugmaker’s shot. If you received an AstraZeneca shot at a B.C. pharmacy, that pharmacy is supposed to reach out to you at least eight weeks after that dose to book your second AstraZeneca shot.

The province announced in May that it was holding its remaining supply of AstraZeneca for second shots amid limited supply. The decision also came as the province awaited the findings of a study on interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

On June 1, NACI said an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) can be the follow-up to a first dose of AstraZeneca. However, the panel said if you received an mRNA shot as your first dose, you should be given an mRNA as your second shot.

Days later, on June 3, B.C. announced that people who received AstraZeneca as their first shot could get the same for their second or choose either of the mRNA vaccine brands.

The interval between doses for people who received AstraZeneca was also shortened from 13 weeks to eight.

British Columbians who would prefer to get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as their second dose must ensure they are registered with the province’s Get Vaccinated system, through which they will be contacted after at least eight weeks.

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If people would prefer one of the mRNA vaccines as their second dose, they are asked to decline their appointment when the pharmacy gets in touch with them.

This comes as B.C.’s COVID-19 case count continues to decline. The vaccination rate also continues to climb, with more than 72 per cent of eligible adults having received their first dose by the end of last week.

Health officials have said they’re gearing up for a busy month as the province works on the rollout of second doses at the same time as its vaccination program for those 12 and older.