The City of Toronto is increasing administration of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks amid shipping delays from Pfizer.
The City said it was informed by the Province of Ontario on Saturday that the June 21 shipment of more than 162,000 Pfizer doses would not arrive on schedule.
To ensure that every vaccination appointment that has been booked at a city-run clinic is honoured, Toronto Public Health will scale up use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has stated that mRNA vaccines – such as Pfizer and Moderna – are “considered interchangeable.”
Therefore, beginning on June 20, individuals aged 18 and older who have an appointment at city-run clinics will receive a Moderna vaccine.
Clinic staff will ensure that residents are aware of which vaccine brand they are getting. Other vaccination sites around Toronto will be making similar adjustments as well.
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The City will use its remaining Pfizer supply to administer first doses to individuals aged 12 to 17, as it is currently the only vaccine that has been approved for those under the age of 18.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, noted that Pfizer and Moderna are “equally effective and safe” for individuals aged 18 and older.
“With the Delta variant growing at an exponential rate in Toronto, vaccines are one of our key strategies to slow transmission,” de Villa said.
“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.”
As of June 18, the City of Toronto has reported 169,110 COVID-19 cases and 3,475 deaths.