People are being urged to expand their vaccine acceptance when it comes to getting their jab.
This following many instances both in Chatham-Kent, Ontario and Canada of people turning down a shot when they learn it’s not the brand they expected. The most common example currently is passing up a Moderna shot over a preference for Pfizer.
“It’s time that we really embrace mixing fully,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby. “Pfizer and Moderna are both mRNA vaccines, they use the same spike protein as their target. They’re interchangeable. There’s been a tremendous amount of provincial and national messaging and expert opinions to support that.”
The need for flexibility is key for several reasons. One is the fluctuation of supply numbers. “Sometimes Pfizer is more plentiful, sometimes Moderna is more plentiful. Right now we’ve got a situation where Moderna is more plentiful than Pfizer,” says Colby.
Pfizer is also the only vaccine currently approved by Health Canada for the 12-17 year old age group. This segment is a priority in order for in-person school to have the best chance of success come September.
“We have to reserve what Pfizer doses we have – not all of them will be taken up by that, but much of those allotments – for the 12-17 year olds. Which means that people have to be open to getting a different brand,” says Colby.
“And there really should be no hesitancy on that, they’re indistinguishable. They don’t have differences that are significant in terms of efficacy or side effects or anything. They’re both excellent vaccines.”
“If you need to get someplace and you call a taxi, you shouldn’t decide to get in whether a Chevy or a Ford shows up. They’re both going to get you where you want to go. Get on board. And roll up your sleeve.”
Colby adds people double dosed with AstraZeneca should also be confident in their decision. For anyone debating receiving their second dose this way, Colby says much of what we do in our day to day lives carries much more risk than the small chance of the vaccine’s blood clotting side effect.
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent