Amos: ‘This amounts to an experiment’
Pontiac MP criticizes province's plan to delay second dose of vaccine
The province confirmed on Jan. 14 that it will continue with its plan to delay giving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination by between 42 to 90 days after the first dose, but Will Amos, federal member of Parliament for Pontiac and parliamentary secretary of science, isn’t wasting any time making his criticism of the plan public.
“Quebec’s current COVID-19 vaccination plan runs contrary to the latest recommendations made public [Jan. 12] by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which recommends administering the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine within six weeks after the first dose,” Amos wrote on Jan. 13, in a post on his official Facebook page a day before the government confirmed its decision. The government had been considering delaying the second dose of the vaccinations since December.
“It also runs contrary to the vaccine manufacturers recommendations, upon which the Health Canada authorization was granted,” he added.
While Amos wrote that he appreciates the provincial government’s focus on “solidarity,'' he said he believes it is fair to question the plan to get the first dose to a maximum number of people at the expense of delaying the second dose.
“Science disagrees with where the government is,” Amos told The Low Down in a phone interview. “Pfizer recommends 21 days and Moderna 28 days, and those recommendations should be followed because that’s the basis on which Health Canada’s authorizations were granted and the Phase 3 trials were conducted.”
Amos said he isn’t trying to politicize vaccinations, but felt it was important for him, in his role as parliamentary secretary for science, to convey to the public the science as he understood it.
“Our top experts are providing clear advice… the chair of the national immunization task force recommends no more than six weeks,” Amos explained. “I just felt compelled to raise the basic point that this is not the preferred course of action.”
Amos said that the province's plan amounts to an “experiment,” as there is no data available on what will happen if these two vaccines aren't administered in the proper timeline.
However, Amos said that since healthcare delivery is a matter of provincial jurisdiction, there isn’t much he nor the federal government can do to make the province conform to those timelines, other than highlighting the issue as he is doing.
“I have one-on-one phone calls and briefings with Canada's Chief Science Advisor Dr. [Mona] Nemer once a week, and, along with the national taskforce, the federal government has particular expertise on vaccines,” Amos said. “I know the science and I couldn't sit back. I don't just have a stake in this as a resident of the province.”
Amos said he understands that just by making a statement he is sure to cause some anxiety, but said he doesn’t mind being the guy to step up to take the flak if it means standing behind the science.