"We welcome the updated direction from NACI that the interval between the first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be safely extended to four months while maintaining a strong and sustained level of protection from COVID-19", said Alexandra Hilkene, a spokesperson for Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christing Elliott in a statement.
In comparison, the federal government previously said 38 per cent of people would receive two doses by the end of June.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement this week about the recently approved COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
J&J also is seeking authorization for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organization. If the entire country moves to prioritizing first doses over the two-dose regimen, most Canadians should be able to receive at least one COVID vaccine dose before summer is over.
Canada has pre-purchased 10 million doses of the J&J vaccine, with options to buy another 28 million.
"Health Canada will continue to monitor the safety of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine once it is in use, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the provinces and territories and the manufacturer", says the federal health agency.
The spiritual leader of Northeastern Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic community has urged the faithful to receive any COVID-19 vaccine that is clinically safe and effective.
Sharma said Canada had approved a clinical trial for the J&J vaccine in children aged between 12 and 17.
"In the real world we're starting to see evidence from other countries that have delayed that second dose 'Oh, it looks like they still have a really good effectiveness.' We have lab studies that show it's unlikely that immune response will drop off", Sharma said. The Americans were to get 10 million doses as soon as the vaccine was approved but there were only four million doses shipped out March 1.
And Chagla stressed that ultimately, this one-dose option could offer a "real solution" that helps countries like Canada tackle this year-long pandemic and alleviate the current burden on the health-care system from a virus that's still widespread. On November 5, Procurement Minister Anita Anand told the House of Commons Health Committee that "the confidentiality provisions which prevent me from providing specifics relating to price" but the government has paid "fair value for vaccines".
Some provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, plan to follow the advisory committee's advice and target the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at younger people working in front-line essential services or in high-risk settings like prisons. The drug will not be doled out through mass immunization clinics but rather through a "different pathway", Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said. It was not immediately clear when Canada would get its first shipment.
Pope Francis spoke about the morality of using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after faith leaders began issuing statements about it. The change should allow for wider distribution of the vaccines. "Data shows that several weeks after being administered, first doses of vaccines provide highly effective protection against symptomatic disease, hospitalization, and death".