A second dose of vaccination is vital in protecting against the increasingly common Delta variant of COVID-19, according to Simcoe-Muskoka Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner. 

“The Delta variant that is increasing in prevalence, and we expect will become dominant as a strain, really requires a second dose of immunization to be well protected,” says Gardner. “Hence the importance, even more so now, for people to get their second dose.”

Gardner says the Delta variant is capable of “immune escape,” in which the virus is able to hide from the body’s immune system. He says this is less likely to happen after receiving a second dose.

The Health Unit is now treating the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine as interchangeable, meaning residents can now receive any combination of the two mRNA vaccines for their two doses. Gardner says this is common practice for many vaccines, citing vaccinations for hepatitis, meningitis, and tetanus.