Canadians feel stuck in ‘limbo’ without the appointment of Covid-19 second dose.

Image Source - Google
Image Source - Google

Rory Armstrong jumped at the opportunity to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine when he became healthy. The 61-year-old Edmonton resident received an AstraZeneca-Oxford shot on March 15, along with his partner, at a hospital’s pop-up clinic, and both felt good afterward apart from a few aches and pains.

What’s been a source of worry since the last few months, according to Armstrong, is that the couple feels trapped in “limbo.” They have yet to receive word on when they will receive a second dose, despite Alberta’s requirement that they receive another AstraZeneca shot at least 12 weeks after the first dose and no longer than four months.

Canadians from all over the world have shared their stories, alleging a lack of information from local health authorities, difficulties scheduling second-dose appointments, and frustration over a patchwork of diverse booking systems and access points ranging from pop-up clinics to mass immunization centers to pharmacies.

Vaccination rates are highest in Canada’s north: nearly 60% of Yukon residents, as well as approximately half of all residents of the Northwest Territories and more than a third of Nunavut residents, are completely vaccinated for both doses.

The percentage of fully vaccinated people varies widely by province, varying from two to seven percent with a national average of just over three percent.

This disparity arises because most regions are currently adopting the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s (NACI) guidelines to postpone second doses by up to four months, allowing healthcare facilities to cover as many patients as possible when vaccine shipments were slow.

NACI recently approved the use of Pfizer-vaccine BioNTech’s for Canadians as young as 12 years old, with some provinces already scheduling appointments for that age group.

Second doses, according to Tania Watts, an immunology professor at the University of Toronto, should not be put off.