Quebec, New Brunswick Stop offering the first doses of AstraZeneca vaccine


TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick will no longer offer the first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine starting Thursday, but will offer the second doses using current supplies and future deliveries, it said Thursday the provinces.

Most provinces made similar announcements on Monday and Tuesday, mostly alleging supply concerns, although officials in Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick said the measure was also based on an increased incidence of clots. of rare blood related to the first doses of the vaccine.

Canada’s supply of vaccines has increased significantly in recent weeks, largely thanks to shipments from Pfizer. The country has distributed just over 20 million doses of various vaccines against COVID and 11.6% was AstraZeneca vaccine.

Officials have said that people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine could be offered a second dose of another vaccine, an approach that is being studied in the UK and has been allowed in Germany since early April. .

However, Canada received 655,000 doses of a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India on Thursday through the global COVAX vaccine purchasing system and will begin distribution to the provinces in the coming days, according to officials reported.

Provincial medical officers are holding “very active discussions” about how many more features AstraZeneca needed for the second doses, Deputy Director of Public Health Howard Njoo told reporters.

The country’s decision to accept doses of COVAX has been criticized, as COVAX is the only way to buy vaccines for many low-income countries and distribute them very little. Serum has reduced exports in the face of a catastrophic wave of cases in India.

Officials have linked three deaths to the AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada.

Health Canada says those receiving the vaccine should seek medical attention immediately if they have difficulty breathing, chest pain, swollen legs, persistent abdominal pain, neurological symptoms such as severe headaches or blurred vision, or bruises on the skin or small bloodstains under the skin the injection site.

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