Canadian experts want provinces to extend interval between vaccine doses

People wait in line at the Women's College coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

An expert panel is recommending Canadian provinces extend the interval between doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to quickly inoculate more people.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says extending the dose interval to four months would create opportunities to protect the entire adult population within a short time.

The panel says many as 80% of Canadians older than 16 could receive a single dose by the end of June simply with the expected supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. In comparison, the federal government previously said 38% of people would receive two doses by the end of June.

The committee’s recommendation came hours after Newfoundland and Labrador said it will extend the interval between the first and second doses to four months, and days after health officials in British Columbia announced they were doing so.

Manitoba and Quebec also say they will delay second doses. Ontario previously said it was weighing a similar move but would seek advice from the federal government. The provinces administer health care in Canada.

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