NB Parents advised to proceed with vaccination appointments for Moderna infants as planned
New Brunswick still has some of Moderna’s infant COVID-19 vaccines in stock, and parents should proceed with their children’s immunization appointments as planned, the Department of Health says.
The province was notified late last year of an imminent disruption to national supplies, department spokesman Sean Hatchard said.
“However, we recently received an update that Canada will receive a small quantity of the vaccine towards the end of March,” he said in an emailed statement.
Earlier this week, Nova Scotia reported that the Canadian government, which manages vaccine distribution across the country, said the suspension would begin March 8 and last a few months.
New Brunswick will continue to use the Moderna vaccines for children ages six months to four years old until either supplies run out or doses expire, Hatchard said.
He didn’t say how many cans the province has in stock or when they expire, but according to the federal government’s website, New Brunswick received an initial shipment of 6,000 cans on July 21 and another 11,500 on August 11.
As of Friday, fewer than 4,000 of those 17,500 doses had been administered, according to the department’s immunization statistics.
The guide to shuffling brands is different from NS
“It should also be noted that Pfizer’s infant mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is interchangeable with the Moderna vaccine, despite being a three-dose series rather than two,” Hatchard wrote.
“Once a child has received an infant dose of Moderna, they will need two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine to complete their primary course.”
dr Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Robert Strang, meanwhile, warned against mixing the two vaccines in children.
“Once you start with one, whether it’s Pfizer or Moderna, you have to complete the line with that product. You can’t mix products like adults could do,” he said.
New Brunswick plans to transition to using Pfizer’s infant COVID-19 vaccines for this age group once Moderna runs out, Hatchard said.
Only 3% double dosed
According to the Department of Health, about 5.5 percent of New Brunswick infants and preschoolers (1,849 children) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while about three percent (1,003 children) have received two doses.
The province expected occupancy of about 30 percent for this age group last summer, said Dr. Yves Léger, the deputy chief medical officer of health, told CBC News in July.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get more, but that’s our serial number for the time being,” he said at the time for planning purposes.
Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine has been available for children under the age of five in the province since July 2022.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been available since November 2022.
Children under the age of five are not currently eligible for booster doses.