NACI gives green light to mix and match vaccines

By Natali Trivuncic
Staff Writer

The National advisory committee on immunization (NACI) updated their guidance regarding mixing and matching vaccines. The NACI authorized the use of Moderna or Pfizer as a second dose if you received AstraZeneca for your first dose.

Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health at the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU), said this allows them some flexibility for those who might not get access to another vaccine.

“For AstraZeneca in particular because of the concerns related to the vaccine, clients are provided the option of considering a different vaccine for their second dose,” Young Hoon said.

The NACI also stated that if the same mRNA vaccine is not available for your second dose you may receive a different mRNA vaccine. For example, if you received the Moderna vaccine as your first dose, you could get the Pfizer as your second dose and vice versa, but Young Hoon said she recommends getting the same vaccine if possible.

“At this time, both Moderna and Pfizer are available in our catchment area, so we are aiming towards people getting the same vaccine that they got the first time for their second dose,” Young Hoon said. “And because both of the vaccines we have are mRNA vaccines, it also makes it easier to make them interchangeable.”

Over 51,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered. This is an impressive milestone for the NWHU catchment area, Young Hoon said, adding that it is also a reminder that most people must get vaccinated to prevent transmission in the community.

“Restrictions will be lifted when provincial vaccine coverage rates meet specific thresholds as set by the province,” Young Hoon said.

With more shipments of the vaccine coming to the province, Young Hoon said they are working towards having a two-dose summer.

Young Hoon said there are spots open at their clinics for people to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

With active case numbers in the NWHU dropping and vaccine rates up, there is hope for returning back to normalcy.

There are currently 10 active cases in the region, one in the Atikokan health hub, seven in the Kenora health hub and two in the Sioux Lookout health hub. No new cases were reported yesterday.

Young Hoon said the lower-case numbers are encouraging and she thanks the public for practicing prevention measures and for getting vaccinated.

“Vaccinations in addition to public health measures are helping lower case numbers and stopping the spread of COVID-19 both locally and across the province,” Young Hoon said.

During the week of May 24 to May 30, the region had 11 new confirmed cases, nine in the Kenora area and two in the Sioux Lookout area. No new hospitalizations occurred and there is currently nobody in the region hospitalized with COVID-19.

Of the 11 new cases, four are close contacts of known cases and the source of exposure remains unknown for seven of the new cases, Young Hoon said, adding that throughout their investigation they identified 35 people who had high risk close contact with these cases.

Young Hoon said the seven say incidence rate was 12.6 cases per 100,000 population compared to the 20.6 cases per 100,000 population in the previous seven days.