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B.C. reveals mixing options for those vaccinated by Moderna and AstraZeneca

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided more information on second doses for those who received the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines for their first dose.
pfizer vaccine covid-19 coronavirus
A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided more information on second doses for those who received the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines for their first dose.

Following updated guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), B.C. is moving ahead with vaccine mixing due to limited supply issues with both Moderna and AstraZeneca.

For those who received Moderna at least eight weeks ago for their first dose, Henry is encouraging people to take the vaccine they are offered, which at this point, due to limited supply, is likely to be the Pfizer vaccine.

Both Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines, and Henry said it is "equally safe" and "works just as well" to mix the two mRNA vaccines, but did acknowledge that it is preferable to receive the same vaccine for both doses.

"I would encourage everyone to take the vaccine that you are offered when you go in for your second dose, and you can be reassured that we have looked at this evidence, with millions of people, that it is safe and effective," she said.

After receiving nearly 300,000 doses of Moderna in May, the province is only expecting about 67,000 doses in the first two weeks of June. Henry said more is expected at the end of the month, however.

Those who do not wish to mix vaccines will be able to re-book their appointments for later in June.

For those who received AstraZeneca for their first dose, two options will be available.

With the province's remaining doses being held in reserve, a second dose of AstraZeneca will be offered via pharmacies.

Henry said starting Monday, pharmacies will begin reaching out to people who had their first dose at least eight weeks ago. If a second dose is desired, an appointment can be booked.

The other option for those who took AstraZeneca is to receive a dose of Pfizer at least eight weeks after their first dose. Invites will be sent directly via text or email.

Nearly 280,000 people received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in B.C.

"You did make the right choice. AstraZeneca is an importand and life-saving part of the B.C. immunization program, and it was absolutely essential when we had high case rates and increased transmission in March and April," Henry said.

The province announced in early May that it would cease using AstraZeneca for first doses of vaccine, as supply from Pfizer more than doubled. There remain concerns around rare blood clotting issues with AstraZeneca, as well. To date, B.C. has had three cases of vaccine-induced thrombocythemia.

Henry said following research in the U.K. and a review by B.C.'s immunization committee and NACI, evidence indicates that mixing and matching vaccine types, such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer, is safe and effective.

Meanwhile, B.C. is reporting 199 new cases of COVID-19 and two further deaths.

By region, there were 68 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 89 in Fraser Health, two in Vancouver Island Health, 34 in Interior Health and six in Northern Health.

The province now has 2,563 active cases with 224 in hospital and 62 of those patients in critical care units.

Of B.C.'s total 144,866 cases, 140,537 have recovered.