Information on the AstraZeneca vaccine

Posted: March 30, 2021

Clinics using AstraZeneca vaccine postponed

Following an announcement that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is recommending the AstraZeneca not be used at this time for people under 55, the provincial government has paused giving the vaccine to those in that age group but will continue using it for those over 55 as there have not been any serious effects noted. Planned clinics using that vaccine have been postponed and will be rescheduled. The committee made the recommendation following concerns in Europe due to rare cases of people under 55 having blood clots up to 20 days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Of the 20 million doses of the vaccine administered in Europe, there have been 25 incidents of this happening or about one in a million. Given the rarity of serious side effects and the fact that COVID-19 has killed 15,000 Canadians so far, with one in 100 who get COVID-19 requiring intensive care and that one in five Canadians hospitalized with COVID-19 develop blood clots, the risk from the vaccine is very low.

No serious adverse events have been reported in Canada associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine or from any of the other COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone who experiences severe, persistent symptoms following any vaccine, should go to the nearest emergency department immediately. Further information for those who have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is available online.

“While we have seen no cause for concern, we are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution pending further guidance from Health Canada,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.

For questions and answers concerning the vaccine, please see the attachment.


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