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B.C. residents eligible for booster shot in dark about vaccine brand

Vancouver -

When COVID-19 booster shots became available for immunocompromised British Columbians, Lori Lacroix booked her appointment.

“I have multiple sclerosis and the medication I take for it makes me immunocompromised,” said Lacroix, who lives in Victoria.

“I’m what they classify as clinically extremely vulnerable, which is not a good club to be in,” she said.

Lacroix received Astrazeneca for her first dose, Moderna for her second and would like to receive Moderna for the third. But health officials say it's possible she'll be offered the Pfizer vaccine, which means she'd be mixing and matching vaccines from three companies.

“But when I called to book, they said they had no way of telling me what type of vaccine they’ll have and I’ll only know when I arrive at the clinic,” she said.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Brian Conway said not telling recipients what vaccine they will be receiving creates a lack of confidence in the vaccine program. He thinks the province should be able to tell people which vaccine they will be receiving before their appointment, as opposed to finding out the day of.

“I was just astounded when they said they had no way of knowing. There’s got to be a way. I had suggested a designated Moderna clinic,” said Lacroix.

He also says the province needs clearer messaging about the efficacy of mixing and matching vaccine types.

“We should be able to tell people or at least tell them there is accumulating evidence that mixing and matching the second and third shot with the mRNA vaccine is fine,” said Conway.

“We’re now seeing it produces the same level of antibody, perhaps even better, than not mixing and matching,” added Conway.

For travelling purposes, the U.S. is now recognizing vaccines approved by the World Health Organization, which now includes Astrazeneca.

However there is still no word if the country will accept international travellers with mixed doses.

In a statement to CTV News, the ministry of health said third doses being administered in B.C. are mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna), and with the majority of British Columbians receiving an mRNA vaccine for one or both of their first two doses, their third dose will match one of the previous doses they had.

“It will be very rare that someone would get three different products, and only possible for those who got a viral vector vaccine (the AstraZeneca) for dose one and an mRNA vaccine for dose two. For these people there is a small chance they will receive a different mRNA vaccine for dose three,” the ministry added. Top Stories

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