Health Care Providers COVID-19 Vaccine Information


COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

mRNA Vaccines

Patient Information

PHO: COVID-19: What You Need to Know about mRNA Vaccines

Health Care Provider Resources

PHO: COVID-19 Vaccines: mRNA Vaccines

Communique to Health Practitioners: Report of myocarditis/pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination (PHAC, June 2021)

Viral Vector Vaccines

Effective June 4, 2021 and in alignment with NACI’s recommendation, Ontarians who have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can choose to either receive a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, or an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine for their second dose. Both second-dose options available to individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are safe and provide strong protection against COVID-19 and will count as a completed series. These second dose options will be provided at the recommended 12-week interval.

Memorandum: Providing Second Dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (Chief Medical Officer of Health)

Vaccine Information for Individuals that received a first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine/COVISHIELD vaccine (Ministry of Health)

What You Need to Know About Viral Vector Vaccines – Patient Information (PHO)

Vaccine Recommendations Regarding Specific Health Conditions

On May 28, 2021, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) provided an update to its Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines for individuals who are immunosuppressed, have an autoimmune conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding:

“NACI preferentially recommends that a complete two-dose vaccine series with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) should be offered to individuals in the authorized age group, including those who are immunosuppressed, have an autoimmune condition, are pregnant or are breastfeeding. If they are not able to receive an mRNA vaccine, for example because of an allergy, another authorized COVID-19 vaccine should be offered.

mRNA vaccines are preferred for use during pregnancy, due to recently published data from a study in the United States indicating the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are safe in pregnant women. In addition, treating Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) during pregnancy, should it occur following the administration of a viral vector vaccine, can be complex.

Individuals who are immunosuppressed from disease or treatment should be informed that they may have a reduced immune response to any authorized COVID-19 vaccine series.

Individuals who are immunosuppressed, have an autoimmune condition, or who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be informed of the latest evidence on the safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in order to make informed decisions.

Vaccine safety and effectiveness in these populations will continue to be closely monitored, and NACI will update recommendations as needed.”

Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy

Exemptions for the 16-week dosing interval for COVID-19 vaccines*

  • Residents of Long-Term Care, Retirement Homes and Elder Care Facilities
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals residing in urban communities, including non-Indigenous partners and household members
  • Individuals with malignant hematologic disorders and non-hematologic malignant solid tumors receiving active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy), excluding individuals receiving solely hormonal therapy or radiation therapy
  • Transplant recipients (including solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplants), and those on the waiting list for a transplant
  • Individuals receiving peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis
  • High Risk Health Care Workers
  • Individuals born in 1951 or before
  • Individuals who received an mRNA vaccine on or before April 18, 2021

*The recommended dosing interval for those with the 16-week exemption depends upon the vaccine:

VaccineRecommended Exemption Dosing Interval
Pfizer-BioNTech 26 days
Moderna 26 days
AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD 12 weeks

Emerging Research

PHO provides, and regularly updates, synopses of key research articles related to COVID-19:

Emerging Topics: Synopsis of COVID-19 Key Research Articles

See also: COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Providers, Hospitals and Long-Term Care

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