A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Canadian doctors say getting COVID-19 poses greater risk of blood clots than the vaccine

Clots occurred at a rate between 1 in 250,000 to in 500,000 people who received the vaccine

The national advocacy group for patients with blood-clot disorders says there is a greater risk of getting blood clots from COVID-19 than there is from the vaccine.

Thrombosis Canada issued an updated statement on the risk of blood clots late Thursday, after the European Medicines Agency released its final report on the risk of blood clots after getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The agency says there is no evidence of increased risk of blood clots from the vaccine, but added there is still not enough evidence to say if the vaccine played a role in a small number of clots in the vein that drains blood from the brain.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said further analysis is ongoing in Canada and around the world.

“Overall, the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and protecting Canadians from COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks,” she said.

Thrombosis Canada, whose board is made up of physicians specializing in blood clots, says the incidence of those clots, known as cerebral sinus vein thrombosis, occurred at a rate between one in 250,000 and one in 500,000 people who received the vaccine.

By comparison, they say blood clots occurred in about one in 20 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and about one in 100 patients who have COVID-19 but were not hospitalized.

Dr. James Douketis, president of Thrombosis Canada and a blood clot specialist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, said it can be hard to reconcile the risk of a serious complication like a blood clot but he said it is an extremely rare reaction.

Douketis said this isn’t just any drug on the market either.

“We’re dealing with a vaccine in the middle of a pandemic that can help potentially millions and millions of people, in many ways, not least of which is preventing blood clots related to COVID,” he said.

At least four European countries that halted AstraZeneca injections pending the review are resuming them, with France, Germany and Italy restarting the vaccinations today and Spain planning to do so next week.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex rolled up his arm to get his dose of AstraZeneca in front of the cameras Friday to try and restore confidence in the vaccine.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did the same.

“The Oxford jab is safe, and the Pfizer jab is safe,” Johnson said Thursday before getting his injection. “The thing that isn’t safe is catching COVID, which is why it is so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes.”

Johnson was infected with COVID-19 last year and spent several days in intensive care last April.

Canada has only received about 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca so far, but anticipates getting 1.5 million more from the United States before the end of the month. Canada is to receive almost 24 million doses of AstraZeneca through different channels, including 20 million directly from the company made at a Maryland production facility, two million from the Serum Institute of India, and another 1.9 million from the global vaccine sharing initiative known as COVAX.

More than three million Canadians have now received at least one dose of vaccine, or about eight per cent of the population. There are to be enough doses delivered to get every adult one dose by the end of June, and a second dose by the end of September.

Most Canadian provinces are spacing out the second dose by up to four months to try and get more people one dose quicker.

Data released by Public Health England show in people over the age of 70, a single dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca had cut the risk of getting symptomatic COVID-19 infections by 60 per cent. In people over 80, the vaccines reduced hospitalization due to COVID-19 by 80 per cent and death by 85 per cent.

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

Just Posted

The Revelstoke Women's Shelter Society has released an educational video about unhealthy relationships. (Contributed)
Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society educates on healthy relationships with new video

April 11-17 is Prevention of Violence Against Women Week

A 46-year-old man from Armstrong died in Revelstoke hospital after being injured in the Lumby area. (File photo)
Armstrong snowmobiler dies in Revelstoke hospital

46-year-old man injured in Tsuius Mountain area of Monashees around Lumby area

Guy Barber in front of his jewellery store at 208 Mackenzie Avenue, circa 1915. (Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 272)
Glimspes of Revelstoke’s past for April 8

Local history as recorded by the newspaper of the time

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: Finding Common Ground Through COVID-19

‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’

Alchemy Studio received a ticked from the RCMP on Thursday, April 8, for staying open despite provincial restrictions ordering yoga studios be closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Contributed)
Revelstoke yoga class fined for defying COVID-19 orders

The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on April 8

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

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

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Most Read