Quebec has fewer than 1,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine left and will continue to provide first doses of the shot, the health department says.
As for second doses, Quebec is awaiting studies on the possibility of using a different vaccine – Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna – for the follow-up shot.
With supplies dwindling, Ontario and Alberta this week decided to suspend first doses of AstraZeneca, which has been linked to a blood-clotting disorder.
Quebec has received a total of 524,340 doses of AstraZeneca.
With fewer than 1,000 left, the Health Department expects the supply to soon be depleted, Robert Maranda, a spokesperson for the Health Department, told the Montreal Gazette.
In Quebec, AstraZeneca is available to people 45 and older.
For now, the province expects to provide AstraZeneca as the second dose.
“In the absence of data on interchangeability with other COVID-19 vaccines, the same product should be used for” second doses, Maranda said.
However, Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health, “recently mentioned that it is highly likely” that a different type of vaccine can be provided as a second dose, Maranda added.
“Scientific studies on that are awaited,” he said.
AstraZeneca is a viral-vector vaccine, while Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are mRNA vaccines.
A major study underway in the United Kingdom is looking at different combinations of approved COVID-19 vaccines for the first and second immunization doses.
“The purpose of this trial is to see how well people’s immune systems respond when they are primed with one type of vaccine, then boosted with another and to see how good the response is when the second dose is separated from the first dose by different periods of time,” researchers say. “We will also be looking at how common vaccine reactions, such as fever, are after such ‘mixed’ schedules.”
Quebec has not disclosed its plan for any future shipments of AstraZeneca.
The federal government has said it expects to receive 655,000 doses of AstraZeneca this month, with one million more due in June.
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