“We want to assure everyone that a sufficient supply will be available for those who want a second dose of AstraZeneca or who cannot take an mRNA vaccine,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading vaccine deployment in Canada.
Canada is expected to receive 655,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine between May 17 and May 21.
The comfort comes after Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and New Brunswick made the vaccine more available as a first dose due to supply issues and the potential risk of ‘a rare blood clotting reaction called vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).
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Of the 2.3 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine administered in Canada to date, 28 suspected cases of VITT have been reported, according to the federal government. Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) says the estimated risk of VITT is about one in 100,000 people.
Last week, NACI said mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were “preferred” over AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Although few received the second dose of AstraZeneca in Canada, in the UK around 4.4 million did. Of these, about four cases of blood clotting have been reported.
Data are still available on the effects of mixing two different vaccines for the first and second doses.
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Deputy Director of Public Health Dr Howard Njoo said on Thursday that the vaccine mix may even provide a “greater” immune response, offering “broader protection against COVID-19.”
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Preliminary data from a study from the University of Oxford found that mixing the Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca vaccines is safe, but may increase the frequency of mild to moderate side effects.
However, the symptoms lasted for a few days at most and there was no hospitalization.
According to the study, 34% of 110 participants who received a first dose of AstraZeneca and a second dose of Pfizer reported fever, compared to 10% of 112 participants who received a first and second dose of AstraZeneca.
However, the study used a four-week interval between doses, while most Canadians use a 12-week interval.
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Another concern is the effect of mixing an mRNA vaccine with one that does not use the new technology, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine, which the director of public health, Dr. Theresa Tam, said Canada would follow “very closely”.
Njoo said Canada will review data from UK studies and seek advice from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) before providing recommendations for a second dose for those who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received a first dose of AstraZeneca and said he would take it as a second on the advice of his doctor, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford has expressed willingness to take it as well. as a second dose.
– With files from Emerald Bensadoun, Rachael D’Amore and Reuters
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