MLHU extends most time between COVID-19 vaccine doses to 112 days – London


Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is extending maximum waiting time for those receiving Pfizer-BioNTech’s dual COVID-19 vaccine in order to distribute more shots to local residents.

Pfizer’s vaccine requires recipients to take two doses at different times, with the shot originally scheduled to be 21 days apart.

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On Tuesday, the MLHU announced that it would extend the maximum time between doses for local residents to 112 days or 16 weeks.

According to the MLHU, the move took place under the direction of Ontario’s chief health officer, Dr. David Williams.

“In a memo sent to all Medical Officers of Health, Dr. David Williams indicated that increasing the time between doses would increase the number of people who would benefit from a first dose of vaccine within a limited COVID-19 vaccine supply.” he told the MLHU in a press release attached to Tuesday’s announcement.

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“The recommendations were also in line with the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).”

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The change will force rescheduling most appointments for the second dose for those who have already received their first dose at the Western Fair District Agriplex or Mount Brydges COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

This includes appointments for the second dose, which should be on Wednesday. According to the MLHU, the rescheduling should affect around 10,000 people.

Residents of long-term care and old people’s homes whose second dose should take place on or after Wednesday do not need to reschedule.

Anyone subject to rescheduling will be notified by SMS or email, depending on how they booked their first appointment.

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The Ontario government’s decision to extend the time between COVID-19 doses resulted in a joint letter from a number of senior Canadian scientists expressing a number of concerns.

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A draft of the letter Global News received from an Ontario government source highlighted the unknowns surrounding the plan and its thoroughness.

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The draft raised significant concerns about the spread of variants and the effect a delayed second dose might have. She also urged governments to identify priority populations to get a second dose sooner.

0:48Ontario has seen a “significant increase” in the number of coronavirus variants

Ontario has seen a “significant increase” in the number of coronavirus variants

The document was signed by doctors from the University of Toronto, the University Health Network (UHN), the Sunnybrook Research Institute, the Princess Margaret Cancer Center, and the Montreal Clinical Research Institute.

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According to sources, the letter to Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and to the governments of Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. All have indicated that they plan to implement the four-month delay.

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The health officer of the MLHU, Dr. Chris Mackie, told Global News that while he understands the concerns in the joint letter, he says there is “growing data that the first dose offers good protection, but the data is not perfect.”

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“What is happening here is that you are really making a judgment, not on an individual level but on a population level, that this is the best way to protect as many of our people as possible,” said Mackie.

“It’s not ideal … but we don’t have all of the vaccines in the world and tough decisions have to be made, and I think this is one that actually has a lot of scientific and public health science behind it.”

While the letter urges governments to identify priority populations to get their second shots sooner, Mackie notes that the local change will have no impact on long-term care and retirement home residents.

“The people we know are the most vulnerable, those who live in nursing and retirement homes. That’s about two-thirds of all deaths in Ontario and locally,” said Mackie.

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“These people won’t have delayed their second dose.”

Short version:

1. One dose provides excellent protection.
2. In the context of the vaccine shortage, doubling the number of people vaccinated will help us all.
3. Delaying the 2nd dose usually leads to better long-term protection.

(Note: still important to possibly receive the second dose)

– Dr. Chris Mackie (@Healthmac) March 7, 2021

As of Monday, more than 44,000 doses of vaccine had been distributed to residents visiting vaccination clinics in London and Mount Brydges.

Vaccination appointments will continue to be available for certain high priority health care workers, indigenous peoples 55 and over, and anyone else 80 or older. However, the MLHU made it clear on Monday that the 80 or older criteria apply to anyone born in 1941.

A full list of people who are eligible for a vaccine can be found here.

Appointments can be booked online at or by calling 226-289-3560. The phone lines are open seven days a week between 8:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

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– With files from Travis Dhanraj and Nick Westoll

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