Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine she has provided to customers April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine she has provided to customers April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

AstraZeneca vaccine can be given to adults 30 and older, NACI recommends

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization provided the update in a briefing Friday

A national advisory panel has recommended Canadians 30 and older can get the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine if they don’t want to wait for an alternative, but some provinces say they don’t have enough supply to expand eligibility for the shot.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization provided the updated advice in a briefing on Friday.

The committee initially recommended a pause on using AstraZeneca shots for people younger than 55 out of an abundance of caution after reports of rare and treatable blood clots.

Health Canada released a safety assessment last week that showed the benefits of the shot outweigh the risks, which the committee said it also evaluated.

The committee said the clots are rare, and people have an individual choice if they would rather wait to take the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

“What we want is to vaccinate Canadians as quickly as possible,” said committee chairwoman Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh.

“However, if you are in an area where there is no COVID transmission, if you have no contacts with the outside, or if you’re able to shelter through public health measures, then there is a possibility to wait for the mRNA vaccine.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA, to trigger an immune response, unlike AstraZeneca, which is a viral-vector vaccine that delivers a safe virus to teach the body to protect against COVID-19.

Although provinces initially suspended giving AstraZeneca shots to younger people based on the committee’s previous advice, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia have since started administering it to people over 40, given the current spread of the virus. Quebec is offering the shot to those over 45.

Ontario reported its first case on Friday of a rare blood clot in a man in his 60s who received the vaccine, bringing the number of reported cases in Canada to four out of more than 1.1 million doses given, according to the province’s top doctor.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, received the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday.

A spokeswoman for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province welcomes the recommendation and looks forward to receiving future shipments of AstraZeneca, which will allow it to begin vaccinating more people in younger age groups.

“With approximately 337,000 doses remaining and future shipments not expected until May, we will continue to administer AstraZeneca to individuals 40 and over in pharmacies and primary care settings until we receive additional supply,” said Alexandra Hilkene in a statement.

“As we continue to fight COVID-19, we are doing everything possible to get as many vaccines into arms as quickly and safely as possible.”

New Brunswick’s chief medical health officer said that province won’t receive any more AstraZeneca doses until the end of May and for now will keep offering it to people 55 and older.

A spokeswoman said Newfoundland and Labrador doesn’t have immediate plans to change its advice about the shot, while a representative in Nova Scotia said it would take time to review NACI’s guidance in context of a local factors including supply.

Manitoba will also take time to review NACI’s advice, which it said was not a “blanket recommendation” of using this vaccine for all people aged 30 and older, a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Eligibility for AstraZenca will remain at 40 and over until further notice,” the statement said.

The national advisory committee was minutes away from making an announcement about AstraZeneca on Tuesday when it abruptly cancelled. On Friday, the panel confirmed that it had planned to release the updated recommendation earlier in the week but delayed doing so after receiving additional provincial data.

Quach-Thanh suggested the changing advice on AstraZeneca — which was based on new data coming in, but left some Canadians feeling confused — has influenced its decision to wait on releasing a recommendation on how the single-shot Johnson & Johnson should be used, which is set to arrive towards the next of next week in 300,000 doses. The United States paused the use of the vaccine last week after six cases of rare blood clots.

“You guys all told us, ‘Why didn’t you wait to see the other data before putting out your recommendation (on AstraZeneca)?’ Because we wanted to be so quick and nimble that we put out a recommendation as quickly as we could,” said Quach-Thanh.

“We try to learn from our previous mishaps and this time around seeing that we wouldn’t have the Johnson product in use before early May, we still have two weeks to wait on new data to be able to put out the most up to date version as possible.”

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said last week that Canada still expects to receive 4.1 million doses of AstraZeneca from all sources by the end of June.

Anand provided an update Friday about how many more vaccine doses are coming to Canada, which didn’t include AstraZeneca, although talks continue with the United States about possibly receiving some of their supply.

She said the country can expect to receive around one million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech early next week and 650,000 doses of Moderna by mid-week.

Anand said to date, 13.7 million vaccine doses have landed in Canada and around 27 per cent of Canadians have received a first dose.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People watch burning funeral pyres of their relatives who died of COVID-19 in a ground that has been converted into a crematorium in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Infections in India hit another grim daily record that day as demand for medical oxygen jumped seven-fold and the government denied reports that it was slow in distributing life-saving supplies from abroad. (AP Photo/Ishant Chauhan)
Liam’s Lowdown: Tell us more how COVID-19 is impacting B.C.

Compared to other provinces, B.C. releases less data on COVID-19 infections and vaccinations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

The five graduating members of the Vernon-based Thompson Okanagan Lakers U18AAA girls hockey team – Jessica Engelbrecht (from left), Makenna Howe, Cheree Peters, Jayden Perpelitz, and Alexis Bishop – have all committed to collegiate hockey programs in Canada and the U.S. (Photo submitted)
Vernon-based hockey squad sends 5 to college ranks

Thompson Okanagan U18AAA Lakers players heading to Canadian and U.S. programs

Richard Green writes poetry under the nom de plume Rick the Poet Warrior. Homeless, Green sometimes spends his summers in Revelstoke but winters in Victoria, travelling to Ontario to visit his sister whenever he can. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke nomad pens poetry, offers insight into homelessness

Rick the Poet Warrior’s books can be found online as well as at the Revelstoke library

(Pixabay photo)
NHL bracket challenge supporting Indigenous awards at Okanagan College

One or more Indigenous students experiencing financial barriers will be able to receive an award

Sisters Audrey Cunningham and Donna Erdman, join the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus singing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Okanagan choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

The temporary skatepark will be placed between the Capital News Centre (in the parking area) and H20, pictured here (Kelowna Skateboard Association/Contributed).
Kelowna skateboarders hope to get Lower Mission park

The Kelowna Skateboard Association is helping a group of kids get a skatepark for the summer

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old B.C. bike rider already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Mounties battled various sex crimes in the North Okanagan

The local RCMP sex crimes unit has been involved in a number of investigations so far in 2021

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

A Falkland man will present a 600+ signature petition to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board Thursday, May 20, opposing dog control in Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, Silver Creek, Salmon Valley and Ranchero/Deep Creek. (File photo)
600-plus sign Falkland man’s petition against dog control

Similar bylaw rejected by 200 public hearing attendees when topic came up 9 years ago

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Most Read