Dr. Graeme McKillop, Chief of Staff at Almonte General Hospital, says he is getting a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccines these days. And he’s happy to answer them all.

“It is understandable that people might be confused. As we have more scientific information, guidelines are updated. That is a positive thing,” he says. “The bottom line is that everyone should get vaccinated and mixing vaccines is OK.”

Dr.  Jamie Fullerton, Chief of Staff at Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital agrees. “There is a nasty variant out there and one shot does not provide adequate coverage. Two shots do. And it doesn’t matter whether that second shot is Pfizer or Moderna.”

Both doctors agree that there is a lot of misinformation found on social media and through word of mouth. It’s important to follow the science. Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) supports ‘mixing vaccines’ or vaccine interchangeability meaning you can receive one vaccine product for your first dose and a different vaccine product for your second dose to complete your two-dose vaccine series.  Moderna and Pfizer are both mRNA vaccines that work in the same way. Side effects are also similar, with neither producing more adverse events than the other.

“Some people are also asking about the side effects of mixing different vaccines,” adds Dr. McKillop. “Everyone’s immune system responds a little bit differently. Most adverse reactions are normal and short-lived.”

“The top priority should be getting vaccinated. Both vaccines are both exceptionally good. The most important thing is that you get your first and your second doses as quickly as possible,” sums up Dr. Fullerton.

For the latest information about getting a vaccine in our region, visit the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit website at www.healthunit.org.  And keep asking questions!