May 11th, 2021

Horwath calls for plan for faster second doses

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for a comprehensive plan to be released urgently for speeding up second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“People are anxious and frustrated, knowing their second vaccine appointment isn’t until a full four months after their first, or not knowing how the heck they’re going to find a second appointment within the right time frame,” said Horwath. “With supply rolling in, it’s wrong to force everyone to wait until the very last minute it’s medically acceptable to get the second dose. And it’s wrong to drag this out into the fall when we can do better.”

Four months is the longest possible safe delay in between the two shots, according to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, while Pfizer and Moderna recommend getting the second dose about three weeks after the first. Health Minister Christine Elliott has said the Ford government “may” shorten the interval — but hasn’t released any information about booking and re-booking millions of appointments.

“People should not have to wait four months, until the very last second,” said Horwath. “We need a plan to book millions of people’s appointments, rather than continuing the scavenger-hunt system in place now. We need a plan to re-book millions of people’s second-dose appointments so they get their second shot quicker. We need a second-dose play book that’s far less chaotic and less sloppy than the first dose rollout has been.”

Horwath previously called for vulnerable people and those most at risk to be prioritized and exempt from the four-month delay so they can be fully protected as soon as possible, including seniors.