Due a 2nd vaccine dose from Windsor Regional Hospital? New Ontario rules will delay it up to 4 months

New provincial rules mean Windsor Regional Hospital is pushing back people's second COVID-19 vaccine dose appointment to four months.

Appointments for second shots rescheduled to 16 weeks from first shot

Windsor Regional Hospital says it is pushing second dose vaccine appointments by 16 weeks and will notify people of their new appointment. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Windsor Regional Hospital is pushing back people's second COVID-19 vaccine dose appointments to four months as it follows new federal and provincial rules aimed at getting more people initial shots. 

Any one who has received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will now have to wait 16 weeks from when they got their first shot to receive the second one. Those who had already pre-scheduled an appointment for their second dose will be notified of their new date, the hospital said in a news release Monday. 

Those exempt from this extension, according to a provincial memo, include: 

  • Residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, Elder Care lodges and Assisted Living facilities who are at the greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19, serious illness and death. 
  • Remote and isolated First Nation communities.

The change, according to the hospital, is taking place following new guidelines from Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said it "recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the interval for the second dose of vaccine to four months."

This applies to the three, two-shot vaccines approved by Health Canada: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford

The provincial government has decided to move forward with this extension to get more first shots into arms. 

Windsor Regional Hospital included the following chart in a news release Monday to outline the dates when someone, who received their first dose, would receive the second. (Submitted by Windsor Regional Hospital)

In a memo to the medical officers of health and hospital CEOs, the provincial government notes that real-world evidence shows the Pfizer-BioNTech and Modern vaccines remain highly effective against symptoms, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 for two months after the first dose. 

Meanwhile, clinical trials with AstraZeneca-Oxford show that vaccine effectiveness increases with the amount of time between doses, specifically after 12 weeks. 

Protection from these shots is not expected to "rapidly wane," according to the province. 

Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine is meant to be given 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends 28 days. For AstraZeneca-Oxford's, the interval is eight to 12 weeks.

But the effectiveness of the extended dose interval continues to be monitored, specifically the effectiveness against the variants of concern, the province said. 

Windsor-Essex health officials confirmed 28 cases of COVID-19 variants Monday.