Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that Quebec would be extending the period of time it can wait between administering the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, tacking on a month to its previous 90-day maximum.
The news comes after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) extended its recommended interval for the second dose, stating that Canadians can wait up to four months between COVID-19 vaccine doses while still having high levels of protection.
"Extending the dose interval to four months allows NACI to create opportunities for protection of the entire adult population within a short timeframe," NACI states.
In other words, more people can receive a first dose of the vaccine in the face of a limited supply, rather than fully vaccinating segments of the population and leaving others more vulnerable.
Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine was designed to be two doses, administered three weeks apart. Moderna's vaccine was designed to be two doses, four weeks apart. These protocols are relayed on the Health Canada website.
In January, the province said it wouldof COVID-19 vaccines by up to 90 days due to vaccine shortages in Canada — a move that resulted in and threats of legal action.
Dubé says the change is "major"
According to Dubé, NACI's decision was the right one.
"In our case, we want to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible," he said.
"It will [allow for] 250,000 more [Quebecers] that will be able to get vaccinated. It's major."
Dube said that those 250,000 Quebecers will make up part of the 60 to 65 age group.