Sask. unveils plan for AstraZeneca 2nd doses and clinics

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'Anyone who received AstraZeneca as a first dose is eligible to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for their second dose if that is your preference,' Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health says. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
'Anyone who received AstraZeneca as a first dose is eligible to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for their second dose if that is your preference,' Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health says. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

Saskatchewan has unveiled its plan for administering second doses to people who got the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine against COVID-19, and it includes dedicated clinics and the ability for people to choose a different vaccine for their second dose if they prefer.

"You will not be required to receive AstraZeneca as a second dose," said a news release from the Ministry of Health. "Anyone who received AstraZeneca as a first dose is eligible to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for their second dose."

The province's eagerly-anticipated plan comes on the heels of Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) advising Canadians they can combine AstraZeneca with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots interchangeably.

NACI also says Canadians who have had a first dose of Moderna or Pfizer can take either of the two shots as a second dose if the same first dose is unavailable or unknown, because they both use similar mRNA technology.

The updated NACI guidance is based on emerging research from Spain and the United Kingdom that found mixing and matching AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines was both safe and effective at preventing COVID-19.

"Saskatchewan anticipates having an adequate supply of all vaccine types in order to provide residents with the second dose they prefer," Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health said in the release confirming it will follow NACI's guidance on mixing vaccines.

"All vaccines approved in Canada are safe."

Sask. AstraZeneca clinics launching next week

Clinics for people in Saskatchewan seeking their second dose of AstraZeneca will open on June 7.

The clinics will be open to anyone who is aged 65 and older or received their first vaccine dose on or before March 22.

Details on clinic locations and hours are expected later this week.

"Note that not all vaccine types are available at all clinic locations; vaccine type available by clinic is listed when that clinic is advertised," the ministry's release said.