WINDSOR, ONT. -- There will be a delay for eligible Windsor-Essex residents and healthcare workers who are waiting for their second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The Ontario government has now mandated to get the second dose 16 weeks after the first dose. The previous mandate was three weeks after the first dose.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says they will be reaching out to 973 seniors over 80 years old who received the first dose over the past few weeks. Their second appointments will be rescheduled to match the 16-week recommendation outlined by the government.

Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says it will allow more people to get the vaccine, given the limited supply.

Health unit officials say they acknowledge the impact that the constant fluctuations have on community member’s ability to understand when and how they and their loved ones will be able to move past the pandemic.

“While this certainly presents a number of logistic challenges for both the health unit and for those who have already scheduled their appointments, we understand the importance of getting as many members of our community vaccinated with at least one dose as quickly as possible,” says Ahmed.

WECHU says residents who have received their first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech vaccines, should not be concerned however, as both vaccines have shown an efficacy of 92 per cent, 14 days from the first dose and up to the point when a second dose was administered.

Windsor Regional Hospital also issued a statement about the extension of the second dose on Tuesday.

“Starting March 10, 2021, anyone who has received their first dose and is awaiting their second dose will not receive their second dose until 16 weeks after their first dose,” according to a statement from the hospital.

This is pursuant to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization(NACI) recommendation found online here and the Government of Ontario’s directive online here.

Those who will have the date for their second dose changed will be getting an email. For those without email, the hospital says they will try to contact them. WRH has also released a chart outlining the second dose schedule.

Vaccine schedule