OTTAWA -- Ottawa pharmacies will receive 13,000 additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to help vaccinate residents in the capital.

Mayor Jim Watson told Newstalk 580 CFRA on Saturday that in response to his letter requesting more doses for first and second dose appointments, the Ontario government said thousands of doses will be sent to pharmacies.

Ontario also announced Saturday afternoon that the wait between doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be shortened to eight weeks from 12 weeks, with informed consent.

On Monday, Watson sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford, asking the province to send an additional 40,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Ottawa to help meet the demand as Ontario accelerates the timeline for second doses.

"The reality in Ottawa is that the remaining appointments available in June are insufficient to meaningfully accommodate those eligible or soon to be eligible by your government, for an accelerated second dose," Watson wrote. The mayor told CTV News Ottawa last weekend that Ottawa deserved its fair share of vaccine doses.

In an interview with Newstalk 580 CFRA's Andrew Pinsent during "CFRA Live", Watson said Health Minister Christine Elliott responded to his letter with a pledge of 13,000 more doses for pharmacies, and acknowledged Ottawa hasn't been receiving its full per capita share of vaccines.

"She indicated that we're close to the provincial per capita, but obviously not there yet," said Watson.

"They have sent us more doses, it's not as many as we wanted but we'll continue to push them to ensure that we get those extra doses."

Watson says his advocacy is for more doses for Ottawa's mass vaccination sites, where 200,000 appointments have been booked between June 1 and July 6.

"The province is going to send us an additional 13,000 Pfizer doses for pharmacies," said Watson Saturday morning.

"While the pharmacies are doing a great job they can't do the volume that we can. I think one day last week, we had 15,000 people in one day inoculated. A pharmacy, probably, is maybe able to do 100."

On Thursday, the city of Ottawa announced Ontario was shipping 5,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the city this week for use at a community clinic this weekend.


The mayor confirmed the additional doses on Newstalk 580 CFRA a few hours before Ontario announced that residents who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine this spring will be eligible for their second dose a few weeks earlier.

The second dose interval for Ontarians who received their first dose of an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be accelerated to eight weeks from 12 weeks, with informed consent.

"With informed consent, individuals can choose between a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine, at an eight to 12-week interval," said the province in a statement.

"Recognizing that while waiting 12 weeks helps to ultimately provide more protection, some may choose to receive their second dose sooner to have the increased protection provided by a second dose earlier."

Beginning Monday at 8 a.m., Ottawa residents who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be eligible to book their second dose appointment at an interval of eight weeks or more.

If you wish to receive an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for your second dose, you can book an appointment through the provincial booking system or a participating pharmacy. If you wish to receive a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, you can contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where you received your first dose.

Ottawa physician Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth has already announced plans for a flash Jabapalooza for AstraZeneca recipients.

On Twitter, Dr. Myrth said everyone who received AstraZeneca as their first dose from the practice in April can receive a Moderna shot next weekend.