Accelerating second doses in Middlesex-London delayed by local COVID-19 vaccine supply

Our region risks falling behind as Ontario races to double-vaccinate people against the much more transmissible delta variant of COVID-19.

The Ontario Science Advisory Table estimates that the more transmissible and severe ‘delta variant,’ first discovered in India, now makes up 23 per cent of new cases in the province.

So far, most of those cases are in the Toronto region.

Middlesex-London Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie explains that preliminary research into combating the variant will put further pressure on vaccine supply.

“Two doses are even more important for the delta variant, that came out of India, than for other variants,” Mackie adds.

London and Middlesex County’s limited vaccine supply has already delayed rebooking people aged 80 plus for accelerated second shots until June 7.

Mayor Ed Holder said he would make a case for more vaccines directly to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott Thursday afternoon.

“The pressure will carry on because if there are additional vaccines, we need to ensure we get our share,” added Holder.

Middlesex-London has the capacity to give more doses of COVID-19 vaccine than are received each week.

An extra 2,000 doses arrived this week, but local vaccination efforts continue to focus on first doses.

Mackie recently expressed frustration about the provincial hotspot strategy, which redirected doses to the Toronto region.

And accelerated second doses must wait until Middlesex-London is further along administering first doses.

“We have limited ability to offer accelerated second doses right now, if we had more doses, we could open that up much more broadly,” says Mackie.

He adds that second dose acceleration could be expanded to those under 80 later this month, pending vaccine supply.

“If we had more vaccine here, we could provide more coverage for our population.”