I am providing the following update from Dr. Loh, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, on the vaccination plan for our region.  As always, these plans are subject to change pending vaccine supply.
Vaccine Update March 9, 2021
Of the 11 fixed Mass Vaccination Clinics in Peel, 2 clinics are left to open:
  • International Centre opening on March 10 (tomorrow)
  • Chris Gibson Arena opening on April 6
·       Hours of operation at clinics is limited by vaccine supply.  As more vaccine arrives, clinic booking times will ramp up.
·       Appointments for 80+ continue to be available through the Trillium and William Osler online booking systems. 
·       If seniors have challenges with the online booking system, they can call the Region of Peel COVID-19 Vaccination Line at 905-791-5202 for assistance.  It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week.  
Vaccine Dose Intervals
  • Based on provincial direction provided yesterday, beginning on March 10, people who receive a first dose of vaccine, will have a 4-month wait until their second dose.
  • For those who are already booked for their second dose, if their appointment is after March 10, their appointments will be rescheduled by either the hospital or public health clinic where the first dose was received.
  • The interval between doses one and two is a change from past guidance where intervals between doses were shorter, depending on the type of vaccine. 
  • This will be communicated to people by email, text or phone call with the information on file at each institution, in the coming days and next week. 
  • Broader communications will be available about this change on websites and through social media.
  • This new guidance is not applicable to:
    • Residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, Elder Care Lodges and Assisted Living facilities who are at the greatest risk of both exposure to COVID-19 and serious illness and death; and,
    • Remote and isolated First Nation communities.
  • The reason for this change is to increase the number of people who can get the benefit of immunity from a first dose while the vaccine supply remains limited. 
  • This provides an opportunity for more Peel residents to be protected faster and is aligned with recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
  • Public health is confident that evidence from real-world experience with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines indicates high vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, even with only one dose. 
  • Reducing the risk of hospitalizations and deaths at the population level through first dose protection remains a priority and will have great impact for our community.
  • Second doses will still be required at the 4-month interval.
  • Effectiveness will be monitored and assessed including for protection against variants of concern.
Primary Care Provider Pilot
  • Peel Public Health recently learned from the province, that Peel will pilot the administration of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine through a Primary Care Provider Pilot.
  • This pilot includes Hamilton, Toronto, Guelph, Peterborough, Simcoe-Muskoka and Peel.
  • There will be 8 pilot sites identified across Peel in collaboration with our primary care partners. Details are not yet finalized and will be communicated once more is known.   
  • In alignment with the recommendations from NACI, the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine will be offered through this pilot to healthy residents aged 60-64 years, without certain health conditions. 
  • This pilot provides an opportunity for a younger age group to be vaccinated with this vaccine, which is appropriate for those 64 years and younger. 
  • This pilot deviates slightly from the provincial phased approach, as we have not yet offered vaccination to residents younger than 80 years.
  • While AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD has a lower vaccine effectiveness score than the mRNA vaccines, effectiveness is still significant and has been shown to reduce serious COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death.
  • This pilot allows for earlier vaccination of more residents, helping to provide protection for more residents in the community.
  • This pilot is possible with AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD due to the ease of transport, storage and handling of this vaccine.
  • Informed consent will be provided at the time of vaccination, which includes discussion about the appropriateness of this versus other types of vaccines for individual resident’s circumstances.  
  • The delivery AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD to this population will only be for this pilot right now.  The other vaccines available will continue to follow the sequencing and prioritization set out for phases one and two of Ontario’s plan.