COVID-19: AstraZeneca vaccine available for 2nd doses in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Health Authority and provincial government are assuring that anyone who had an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in March will have a second dose of the same shot.

During a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, the SHA said there about 20,000 AstraZeneca shots available for second doses.

“We’re not using AstraZeneca as a first dose strategy anymore, so we’re not stockpiling AstraZeneca doses in the province to give us first doses,” said SHA CEO Scott Livingstone.

“We’re using it as a second dose strategy moving forward.”

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Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, said those who received AstraZeneca in March will be eligible for a second shot within the next few weeks.

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“Waiting for the 12 weeks is really important for long-term protection because… the aim of two doses is not just looking at the spring and the summer. We want to see a COVID-free fall,” he said.

“That’s why getting AstraZeneca at the optimum 12 weeks would be ideal and preferable.”

Shahab understands people may be concerned about receiving a second dose of AstraZeneca over reports of vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia thrombosis.

He said the rate in Canada is around one in 50,000 with first doses.

“We know that the second doses, the incidence rate may be lower,” he said. “So there’s good evidence now to support second doses with AstraZeneca.”

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Shahab added that they are still waiting for guidance on mixing the first and second doses between AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

“We are waiting for some antibody data to see if a second dose of Pfizer does mount an immune response as good as a second dose AstraZeneca,” he said.

Anyone who received their first dose on March 15 is expected to be eligible for their second shot by the end of May.

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Those who had their first jab on March 22 should be in line for their second by June 7.

— Kyle Benning contributed to this story.

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