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Residents waiting for second dose will be alerted: GNWT

Vaccinations against Covid-19 using the Moderna vaccine began on
The GNWT is waiting to receive research on what to do in case vaccines are delayed longer than the 42-day second dose period. GNWT image

Residents waiting for a second dose will be told when more Covid-19 vaccine vials arrive.

Public Health officials said they will notify NWT residents when the delayed shipments of Moderna are due to arrive and when they can book appointments for their second dose.

The disrupted deliveries saw 4,700 doses arrive in the first of week of February, instead of the expected 7,200 doses, according to Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) data.

The fourth shipment scheduled for later in the month will also be affected but details are yet to be known.

“When we have confirmation of our next shipment, we will notify the public that they can book their second vaccine appointments dates,” said HSS spokesperson Damien Healy.

More research needed on second dose timing

The delays mean HSS has changed its policy to allow a second dose to be given as many as 42 days after the first. Before this week, officials were using 28 days as a rule.

The GNWT is waiting for updates on research as to how to proceed in case shipments arrive even later and the 42-day window passes.

“The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is reported to be 92 per cent efficacious 14 days after the first dose, which means that residents with only one dose of vaccine are still building strong immunity against the disease,” Healy said.

Quebec and the United Kingdom have already begun spacing out doses up to 12 weeks apart, he added.

'Less than 10' allergic reactions

At least 13,578 first doses of Moderna have been administered in the NWT as of Monday, with 579 second doses delivered into peoples' arms, and 200 people fully vaccinated.

Of more than 14,000 doses given in the NWT, there have been less than 10 allergic reactions to the vaccine, and less than five included suspected anaphylaxis reactions. He said an allergist had yet to confirm those five more severe reactions as caused by an allergic reaction.

Anaphylactic reactions can include skin hives, low blood pressure, constriction of airways; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; and dizziness or fainting.

Across Canada there have been 651 adverse reactions to the Covid-19 vaccines, out of 1,042,171 total doses administered as of Feb. 5, according to information from Health Canada.