N.B. parents advised to proceed with Moderna infant vaccine appointments, as scheduled
New Brunswick still has some of Moderna's infant COVID-19 vaccines in stock, and parents should proceed with their children's vaccine appointments, as scheduled, says the Department of Health.
The province was informed late last year of a pending national supply disruption, said department spokesperson Sean Hatchard.
"However, we recently received an update that Canada will be receiving a small supply of the vaccine towards the end of March," he said in an emailed statement.
Earlier this week, Nova Scotia reported it was told by the Government of Canada, which manages vaccine distribution across the country, that the disruption will begin on March 8 and last a few months.
New Brunswick will continue to use the Moderna infant vaccines it has for children aged six month to four years until either the stock is depleted or the doses expire, said Hatchard.
He did not say how many doses the province has in stock or when they are due to expire, but according to the federal government's website, New Brunswick received an initial shipment of 6,000 doses on July 21, and an additional 11,500 on Aug. 11.
As of Friday, fewer than 4,000 of those 17,500 doses have been administered, according to vaccination statistics provided by the department.
Guidance on mixing brands differs from N.S.
"It should also be noted that the Pfizer infant mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is interchangeable with the Moderna vaccine, though it's a three-dose series instead of two," wrote Hatchard.
"If a child received one Moderna infant dose, they will need two doses of the Pfizer vaccine to complete their primary series."
Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang, meanwhile, warned against mixing the two vaccines in children.
"Once you've started with one, whether Pfizer or Moderna, you have to complete the series with that product. You can't mix products like adults have been able to do," he said.
New Brunswick plans to transition to using the Pfizer infant COVID-19 vaccines for this age group once it runs out of Moderna, Hatchard said.
Only 3% double-dosed
About 5.5 per cent of New Brunswick infants and preschoolers (1,849 children) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Department of Health, while about three per cent (1,003 children) have received two doses.
The province was anticipating an uptake of about 30 per cent for this age group throughout last summer, Dr. Yves Léger, the deputy chief medical officer of health told CBC News in July.
"We're hopefully going to be able to get more than that as well. But that's sort of our rolling number for now," for planning purposes, he said at the time.
Moderna's Spikevax vaccine has been available to children under five in the province since July 2022.
Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine has been available since November 2022.
Children under five are not currently eligible for booster doses.