There are concerns that some Albertans may unnecessarily delay a second COVID-19 vaccination because they are reluctant to accept the Moderna vaccine, choosing instead to wait for a snapshot of Pfizer’s rarer version.
The county says it expects shipments of fewer Pfizer doses than planned over the next few weeks due to supply chain delays, but there are plenty of Moderna available.
At the Madigan drugstore and complex in northeastern Calgary, unused vials of Moderna are in freezers. Pharmacist Pratik Bhadra says this is because many patients choose to wait three weeks for a second dose of Pfizer — even though they can get Moderna straight away.
“I honestly don’t know, people have a very fixed mindset,” he said.
“They just want to get Pfizer and they’re not really open to using Moderna. We’re actually struggling to get people open to using Moderna”
The Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization says Moderna and Pfizer can be used interchangeably because they use the same mRNA technology. AHS is also urging people to get the first vaccine they can get.
Albertans looking for a first or second dose of #corona virus vaccine An early appointment can be obtained by selecting Moderna as per their preference, due to the current vaccine supply in the province. pic.twitter.com/D993cVvxUP
The mixing is safe and provides equal protection,” says Craig Jane, associate professor at the University of Calgary in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases.
“If you can get the second shot in the next days or next week, that means you’re much quicker to reach full immunity where you get that great protection, even against variants,” he said.
“So sticking with the preferred vaccine – while they are largely interchangeable – is just creating a long window where you might be susceptible to this type of delta.”
The county says there are 85,000 Moderna appointments booked at AHS clinics over the next three weeks, and there are still nearly 200,000 appointments available for second doses — most of which are Moderna.