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Ontario Is Changing Its Vaccination Rollout Plan Because Of Pfizer Delays

The province is extending the time between doses to up to 42 days for some people.

Doug Ford announced on Monday that Ontario's vaccine rollout plan is being changed slightly due to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine's shipment delays.

The changes include prioritizing the residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes and extending the time between first and second doses for all others.

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It is critical that our most vulnerable seniors receive the protection they need as soon as possible. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario

In a press release announcing the change, the Ontario government said they had missed this week's Pfizer vaccine dose deliveries and were expecting "just over 26,000 doses" for the first weeks of February.

As a result, Ontario is planning on getting a first vaccination dose to each retirement and long-term care home in the province by February 5.

The province is also sending vaccine doses to 14 public health units that have not received any doses yet.

While Moderna vaccination schedules are unchanged by the delays, some people will have to wait longer for their second Pfizer dose.

While long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care residents will still have 21-27 days between doses, the recommended amount of time, "all other groups" will have to wait up to 42 days between doses.

Ontario says the decision is backed up by Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization and "experience with other vaccines."

"This approach has been adopted in other Canadian provinces (including Manitoba and Alberta) as well as other countries (including the United Kingdom)," the province said in a technical briefing explaining the decision.

Ontario says the decision to extend the time between Pfizer doses will be revisited "as the contextual circumstances change."

Despite the delays, Doug Ford told reporters today that he expects anybody who wants a vaccine in Ontario can get a dose "by the summer."