Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital News
AstraZeneca's jab has been in the spotlight after a number of European countries refused to authorise it for the over-65s -- the demographic most vulnerable to Covid-19

Capital Health

AstraZeneca Covid shots not recommended for under 55s in Canada

Ottawa, Canada, March 30 – Canadian experts on Monday recommended halting the use of AstraZeneca Covid-19 shots for people aged under 55, after a small but rising number of patients abroad suffered blood clots.

Manitoba and Quebec provinces were the first to heed the new National Advisory Committee on Immunization and Health (NACI) guidelines, with each region responsible for its own immunization program.

“There is substantial uncertainty about the benefits of providing AstraZeneca vaccines to adults under 55 years of age,” Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Howard Njoo told a news conference.

“At this time, we are pausing the use of AstraZeneca vaccine to adults under 55 years of age, pending further risk-benefit analysis,” he said.

Officials, meanwhile, urged Canadians who have received the AstraZeneca shot in the last 20 days to consult a doctor.

Health Canada and NACI doctors told a briefing that the manufacturer — which has now posted a warning on the label — would be asked to conduct a detailed assessment of the benefits and risks of its vaccine by age and sex.

“To date, no cases of (blot clots) have been reported in Canada,” Health Canada chief medical officer Supriya Sharma said. 

“However, through our ongoing international collaboration, Health Canada has become aware that additional cases of these events have been reported in Europe,” she said.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The NACI earlier this month urged giving AstraZeneca shots only to people aged 18 to 64, saying clinical trials hadn’t included enough seniors, then revised its recommendation to include people of 65 and over after reviewing “real-world evidence” of its effectiveness in seniors.

The AstraZeneca vaccine candidate was approved for use in Canada in February, alongside Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots.

– Mostly young women affected –

NACI vice chair Shelley Deeks said most of the adverse health effects observed impacted women under 55, and occurred between four and 16 weeks after receipt of the vaccine.

Rates of incidents, she said, ranged from one in a million people who received the AstraZeneca jab to as high as one in 100,000, according to German data.

“The exact mechanism by which the AstraZeneca vaccine triggers the event is still under investigation,” Deeks said.

Canada is scheduled to receive 1.5 million surplus AstraZeneca doses from the United States, which has yet to approve its use domestically, on Tuesday.

Separately, Canada has ordered 20 million AstraZeneca shots plus another two million doses of the same formula made by the Serum Institute of India.

But as of Monday, it had distributed only about 500,000 doses made by the Serum Institute, and Njoo said only 300,000 of those had been administered. Few of them went to younger people, according to local reports.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has had a rollercoaster ride, with Britain, which developed it, staunchly supporting its use, South Africa outright rejecting it, and more than a dozen EU nations suspending shots in mid-March before most restarted rollouts but with a patchwork of age restrictions.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

France has limited its use to over 55s, and Spain to under 65s, for example.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


More on Capital News

Biden Administration

BEIJING, China, April 22 – A spokesperson from China’s top legislature on Thursday expressed strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to the passing of...


Wekesa was the ninth candidate to be interviewed for the CJ position which fell vacant when David Maraga retired in January


Wekesa was the ninth candidate to be interviewed for the CJ position which fell vacant when David Maraga retired in January

County News

Cabinet Secretary Margret Kobia said a total of 5,009 cases were recorded between January and December, an increase of 1,411 compared to cases reported...


Kano, Nigeria, April 22 – The death of Chadian President Idriss Deby has been a hefty blow to the anti-jihadist campaign in the Sahel, but...


Lamu, Kenya, April 22 – In the old town of Lamu, a historic Swahili trading outpost, a motorbike taxi weaves through a crush of donkeys,...


NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 22 – Listed integrated Kenyan agricultural firm Kakuzi PLC has announced a free fruit maturity testing service for smallholder avocado farmers...

Capital Health

Mumbai, India, April 22 – As Poonam Sinha fought for her life, her distraught son found himself fending off black marketeers for coronavirus drugs after...