As millions of more vaccine doses are set to arrive in Canada, Nova Scotia’s interval between doses could be reduced by a month

As Canada sees millions of more COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive across the country, some provinces are shortening the interval for second doses — and Nova Scotia could follow a similar path.
At a press conference on Thursday, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said he thinks the country is on track, depending on supply, to shorten the interval between doses.
Originally, Nova Scotia scheduled second dose appointments, regardless of age, for 105 days after the first dose.
During the province’s COVID-19 briefing on Friday, chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said Nova Scotia is now receiving more assurance about securing more vaccine supply in July.
If Nova Scotia does receive more supply, the province will be able to move up all of its second dose planning and start giving second dose jabs in July.
The impact this will have on a person’s appointment will depend on their scheduled appointment date. Strang said those with appointments later in the year have a greater chance of seeing their appointment dates moved up.
“Overall, though, what it means is that we’re going to be closer — in general — to a three-month interval between first and second dose rather than a four-month interval,” Strang said. “And I want to reassure people that that interval is absolutely safe.”
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) originally recommended a delay for second doses of up to a maximum of four months.
However, the vaccine manufacturers recommend a delay of three to four weeks.
Strang said the longer delay actually helps people create a better immunity. He also said Canada has been praised for having a longer interval.
“It’s becoming clearer and clearer that the Canadian decision to move to that three to four-month gap — rather than 21, 28 days for the mRNA vaccines — was a very wise decision and will create overall better immunity for people getting the vaccine at that time interval,” he said.
As millions of more vaccine doses are set to come to Canada, some provinces have started to shorten the interval between doses for at-risk groups.
Manitoba started offering appointments for second doses on Friday for some people. It also began offering eligibility for vaccines for people older than 12.
Earlier this week, Ontario shortened its second dose interval for health-care workers and other at-risk groups of people. Quebec also shortened its interval for people living with certain conditions and those who’ve seen a poor immune response to the vaccine.
In Western Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan released plans with timelines on potential second doses. However, British Columbia is monitoring vaccine supplies before moving up dates for second doses.
With a four-month interval, Nova Scotia expected to provide everyone with second doses by the end of September.
Those who originally received the AstraZeneca vaccine could also be among those receiving a second dose of an mRNA vaccine.
On May 12, Nova Scotia announced it was halting the use of its AstraZeneca vaccine supply due to a rare blood-clotting syndrome.
But NACI is currently studying the effects of mixing vaccines, and Strang said it should come out with a recommendation in a few weeks.
Nova Scotia has currently made first-dose vaccine appointments available for anyone older than 25. Everyone who wants a vaccine should receive a first dose by the end of June.
As of May 22, the province reports more than 45 per cent of Nova Scotians have received at least one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.