On Saturday, June 19, the province informed Toronto Public Health that the anticipated weekly Pfizer shipment of more than 162,000 doses destined for Team Toronto immunization clinics will be delayed. The shipment was to arrive in freezers on Monday, June 21. Clinic operations and appointment bookings run on timely delivery of vaccine supply. To ensure that every booked appointment is honoured at City-run immunization clinics over the coming weeks, Toronto Public Health is increasing the administration of the Moderna mRNA vaccine as it is interchangeable with Pfizer. Our vaccination partners around the city are making similar adjustments.
Both Pfizer and Moderna brands are mRNA vaccines and are extremely effective against COVID-19 transmission. Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has found “no important difference” between Moderna and Pfizer and considers these mRNA vaccines interchangeable. The Pfizer mRNA vaccine is the only vaccine currently approved for use in Canada for anyone under the age of 18. At this time, youth receiving their first dose of vaccine will only receive the Pfizer mRNA vaccine. Anyone over 18 years can safely receive the Moderna mRNA for their first dose or second dose.
Beginning Sunday, June 20, individuals 18 years or older who have an appointment booked at one of the city-run immunization clinics will receive a Moderna mRNA vaccine. Clinic staff will ensure clients are aware of which vaccine brand they will be receiving, however, there will be no opportunity for clients to request or switch to a particular vaccine brand. The limited Pfizer mRNA vaccine supply will be reserved and administered to youth 12 to 17 years old.
Team Toronto vaccination partners remain committed to get as many individuals fully vaccinated with two doses as quickly as possible. As the Delta variant continues to spread across Toronto and the GTA, all Torontonians are encouraged to book their first or second dose vaccine appointment as they are eligible.
“While Team Toronto vaccination partners are facing a shipment delay, we must not delay the quick administration of doses. With the Delta variant growing at an exponential rate in Toronto, vaccines are one of our key strategies to slow transmission. Both Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are interchangeable, equally effective and safe for everyone over 18 years. If you have an appointment, keep it. If you don’t have an appointment for a first or second dose, make one as soon as you are eligible.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health
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