Immunization committee to recommend provinces to suspend use of AstraZeneca in children under 55: sources

Immunization committee to recommend provinces to suspend use of AstraZeneca in children under 55: sources

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is expected to recommend a halt in the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in people under 55 today due to safety concerns, sources told CBC News.
The updated guidelines will be released later today, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. The expected change in recommendations comes following reports of rare blood clots in some immunized patients.

Canada is expected to receive 1.5 million doses of this product from the United States on Tuesday.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has not been widely used in people under the age of 55 in this country. Some jurisdictions, such as Prince Edward Island, use part of their supply to immunize young people who work in areas of public contact such as grocery stores and convenience stores.

A spokesperson for the PEI Department of Health confirmed that the vaccine delivery has been suspended.

“Pharmacy appointments for AstraZeneca vaccine for 18-29 year olds are on hold pending further information expected from Health Canada and NACI,” the department said in an email.

This is just the latest problem the company has faced in the past three months.

Earlier this year, a number of European countries halted vaccinations in response to questions about the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca product in people over 65, only to restart them after new evidence emerged.

After Health Canada approved the vaccine for all adults, NACI recommended that the product be used only on people under 65 years of age, citing a paucity of clinical trial data on the vaccine’s efficacy in patients. the elderly.

NACI changed course earlier this month after reviewing three “real-world studies,” saying the two-dose viral vector vaccine can and should be used in the elderly.

The European Medicines Agency has also had to assure member countries of the European Union that the product is safe to use in response to reports of post-vaccine blood clots in a very small number of patients.

The agency concluded that the benefits of protecting against COVID-19 – which itself causes bleeding problems – outweigh the risks.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said it was “possible” that the vaccine was associated with “very rare but serious cases of blood clots associated with thrombocytopenia” – a condition associated with very low platelet counts. blood. Health Canada has argued that the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine continue to outweigh the risks.


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