In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File

Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario said it was deciding how it would use an incoming shipment reserved for second doses.

Ontario – which has stopped administering AstraZeneca as a first dose over concerns about a rare clotting disorder – announced it will receive a quarter-million doses of the vaccine next week but is still reviewing when it will open up appointments for second doses.

Alberta, too, has stopped offering the shot to those who have yet to be vaccinated, but cites a lack of supply for the move.

Manitoba, meanwhile, announced Wednesday that it plans to offer first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine only to those who might not be immunized at other sites.

Most doses will be held for second shots for people who received an AstraZeneca vaccine in the first go-around, the province said, “in response to ongoing evidence and supply.” Manitoba said it will receive about 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca in its next shipment.

The uncertainty over AstraZeneca has rankled some who already received their first dose of that vaccine and are undeterred by the risk of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, also known as VITT.

A group of scientists advising the Ontario government has pegged the rate in Canada at 1 in 55,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine as of May 8, though it noted that some presumptive cases were still being investigated.

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT. Three women have died.

Alison Meek, who received her first dose of AstraZeneca last week, said she’d take a second shot of the same vacine “in a heartbeat.”

“I would have taken any of the ones that was offered. I think it is important not just for our own health, but to protect those around us. I think it’s needed to get out of this – these lockdowns that we’re in,” said Meek, who lives in London, Ont., and teaches history at Western University.

She said she had muscle aches and a fever after the shot but is happy with her decision.

“I have no regrets whatsoever, and would happily take the second dose,” Meek said.

Ontario currently has roughly 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot left, some of which are due to expire in the coming weeks.

“I hope that they’re not going to be dumping those down the drain,” Meek said.

Toronto writer Emily Saso, 40, also stands by her decision to get the AstraZeneca shot in late April to guard against the risks of her husband bringing the COVID-19 virus back home from work.

But Saso said the shifting messages surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine have done little to quell her longstanding fear of blood clots.

“It was definitely a failure of communication,” she said. “And that added to my anxiety, which was already high.”

Experts have noted that the risk of clotting is much higher among people diagnosed with COVID-19 than those who received the AstraZeneca shot.

Health Canada’s chief medical adviser has said that from an authorization perspective AstraZeneca’s benefits against COVID-19 still outweigh the rare risk of VIIT.

As questions over the use of AstraZeneca continue to swirl, however, health officials in all provinces are now watching for the results of a British study on mixing and matching vaccines.

Data could come on AstraZeneca and Pfizer as early as this week, with many health experts expecting very positive results from combining two different vaccines.

READ MORE: Vaccine confidence in Canada holds steady despite AstraZeneca safety concerns

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Hirsch Creek Golf Course Volunteer, Augie Penner, talking about how he continues the tradition, set by Joe Atamchuck, to catch and release fry that keep spawning at the course. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
VIDEO: Kitimat golf course volunteers making moves for the fishlings

During the highwater season, salmon are known to lay their eggs in the ponds at the golf course

Ocean Wise’s cetacean photogrammetry research program uses aerial images collected by boat-launched drones to measure the body condition of whales. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal License MML-18 photo)
LNG Canada commits $750K to whale research, conservation initiative

Ocean Wise education team will work alongside educational and Indigenous leaders in the area

The Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be closed from June 28 until September 13 for annual facility maintenance as well as teach pool and decking repairs. (Black Press photo)
Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre closed: June 28 – September 13

The aquatic centre will be closed for annual facility maintenance

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read