The three Southwestern Public Health units mass immunization clinics are now only carrying the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
“We do not have a big or reliable enough supply of Moderna to run clinics with only Moderna,” said medical officer of health Dr. Joyce Lock.
“At the moment we are saving the small amounts of Moderna that we have for our more mobile purposes,” she added. “So when we go out to homebound individuals or some of our congregate living settings, we are using Moderna there. One, because it’s easier to transport and two, many of these people had Moderna the first time around and for consistency we’d like to try to get Moderna in for their second doses.”
This means that Tillsonburg, Woodstock and St. Thomas clinics can now vaccinate anyone who is over the age of 12.
“If vaccine supply on the Moderna front improves a lot we may revisit this decision,” said Lock, keeping the option of Moderna returning to the Tillsonburg clinic open, “always looking at the best way to get the most vaccine to all of our citizens.
“So we haven’t shut the door we’re just making the best decisions considering the amount of Moderna that is available at the moment, and the future will see how things roll out when we know more about Moderna supply.
“If you had Moderna as a first dose in Tillsonburg we will offer Pfizer for your second dose,” said Lock. “There is no action required on your part. You don’t need to rebook anything. These vaccines can be safely and effectively used interchangeably, but if that is not a comfortable option for you there are pharmacies carrying Moderna and you can get your second shots at a pharmacy instead.”
Visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations to view a list of participating pharmacies. Individuals are encouraged to call pharmacies to determine if they offer Moderna.
If you do re-book your appointment through a pharmacy, you should call 226-289-3560 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (toll free at 1-888-333-2175) to cancel your original second dose appointment at one of the mass immunization clinics.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA-based and offer interchangeable and compatible protection according to Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health. Effectiveness is comparable (95 per cent for Pfizer-BioNTech, 94.5 per cent for Moderna). Potential side effects are also comparable between both vaccine brands.