Health Care

Ontario to pause first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

Ontario to pause first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines”

As of May 8, Ontario has seen eight cases of VITT.

The report says the move is partly due to the greater supply of mRNA shots, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna ones, and partly due to concerns over a rare blood clot condition linked to AstraZeneca.

But Dr. Jessica Hopkins, Ontario's chief health protection and emergency preparedness officer, said Tuesday that increasing availability of alternative vaccines means it's now time to ask if Ontarians should preferentially choose another product.

In a detailed document, the health ministry also iterated that the vaccine is not recommended to anyone below the age of 18; to people with a history of severe allergic reactions to any of its components (e.g polysorbate); to patients with active Covid-19; to people who developed clotting disorder with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine; and to individuals who have a fever before getting a shot of the vaccination.

"We have been pressing for a precise delivery date for those doses from the COVAX facility and when we have that in hand, we will provide it to you", Anita Anand, the head of procurement, said in a press conference.

The legal dispute has eroded the relationship between AstraZeneca and the European Union, which reinforced its partnership with Pfizer-BioNTech last week by agreeing to a massive contract extension for a potential 1.8 billion doses of their vaccine through 2023. He said the province is not certain as to when or if more AstraZeneca doses will arrive.

After the European Medicines Agency said that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweighed the risk for all adults, the European Commission maintained AstraZeneca as one of the four vaccines it offers to member states.

Ontario said it has 49,280 doses of the shot remaining in the province out of over 707,000 received.

More news: New Zealand reports 4 new cases of COVID-19

Ontario said Tuesday afternoon it will also no longer administer AstraZeneca as first doses due to supply issues.

Now she worries if her second dose will be a different vaccine brand.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams says they have been reviewing data out of the United Kingdom that shows the risk of blood clots is much lower when AstraZeneca is used as second dose.

It's somewhat of a moot point right now in Quebec, which has nearly no doses of AstraZeneca left.

The federal vaccine procurement centre told CTV Montreal that many more AstraZeneca doses are on the way: 655,000 COVAX doses "within the next number of weeks", and one million in June.

Canada signed an advance purchase agreement to receive about 20 million total doses of AstraZeneca, health officials in Ottawa said earlier this month.

Instead of 120 million doses originally promised for the first three months of this year, it delivered 30 million.

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