Ready for action: gym space at Pelham's community centre set up for Covid-19 jabs in April 2021. SUPPLIED

Second dose interval also shortened

In statement released Friday, April 23, Niagara Region Public Health said that highest-risk individuals with health conditions, and an essential caregivers, may now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments by calling the provincial call centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).

Eligible patients are:

  • Organ transplant recipients (including patients waitlisted for transplant)
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
  • People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
  • Haematological malignancy diagnosed less than one year ago
  • Kidney disease with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) under 30

These patients are eligible to have one essential caregiver vaccinated at the time they receive their first dose. The caregiver’s first dose appointment should be booked at the same time as the eligible highest-risk individual.

The province has also announced some exceptions to the 16-week interval between the first and second vaccine dose. Second dose interval exceptions include individuals:

  • With malignant hematologic disorder receiving active treatment (specifically chemotherapy, targeted therapies of immunotherapy)
  • With non-hematologic malignant solid tumor receiving active treatment (specifically chemotherapy, targeted therapies of immunotherapy)
  • Transplant recipients (including solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplants)

Second dose intervals can vary, depending on which vaccine is received. The timing of the second dose will be based on the type of vaccine received at the first dose appointment.

Those eligible for the interval exception, and receiving their first dose, will need to present a letter of confirmation from their clinician at their first and second dose appointments. Residents who are eligible for the interval exception and have already received a first dose must contact the hospital, pharmacy, or Public Health Unit where they received their first dose to arrange their second dose at the shorter interval. They will be required to present their letter at the time of their second dose.

According to the statement, essential caregivers will not be eligible for the shortened second dose interval.