Pfizer shots return to vaccine clinics in Pickering and Oshawa

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Published January 27, 2022 at 11:11 am

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has returned to Durham Region for the first time in more than a month due a limited restock of the vaccine, the first approved for use in Canada.

The Region announced the switch to Moderna, also a safe and effective vaccine, on December 24 days after the Ontario Government announced a short supply of Pfizer doses across the country caused by a shipment delay.

Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) to teach the body how to make a spike protein, harmless to the body, that teaches one’s immune system to recognize the COVID-19 virus and attack if it enters the body. mRNA vaccines are relatively new for public use, but have been studied for decades, according to the Centre for Disease Control.

However, while both shots use the same technique, Pfizer has been found to be marginally safer due to an even lower risk of rare side effects of myocarditis or pericarditis in the 12 to 29, leading to it being “preferentially recommended to that age group.”

“Although very rare, mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) have been linked to myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart) with fewer reports of myocarditis/pericarditis after the Pfizer vaccine. For most people, the heart inflammation is mild and goes away within days,” said Ontario Public Health.

A University of Waterloo study indicates a range of 0.0002 per cent (2 cases per million) to 0.0283 per cent (283 cases per million) depending on the age and gender of the person injected and that such inflammation was 16-times more likely in someone who had a COVID-19 infection.

“The Health Department reminds residents that both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines (mRNA vaccines) provide proven protection against COVID-19. It is safe and effective to receive either mRNA vaccine,” Durham Health said in a statement.

Durham decided to preserve their Pfizer supply for the 12 to 29-years old age group, offering Moderna to those over 30, starting December 29.

“Mixing COVID-19 vaccines is safe, effective and enables residents to benefit from the protection of a booster dose.” the Region said, “Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines provide strong protection against COVID-19 and its variants and residents are advised to get the vaccine that is available to them first.”

Starting January 26, the Region began using Pfizer shots again for those over 30 in the Pickering Clinic (previously a Winners), and the Oshawa Centre Clinic. While there was a small window to book, more appointments will be made available between February 1 and February 18 in the coming days as supply is confirmed.

Those who already have a vaccine booked between January 26 and 31 will still be given Moderna, unless they request a Pfizer dose. Walk-ins for booster shots will not be accepted because of the limited supply.

Residents can book their appointments online or over the phone at 1-888-444-5113.

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