Impatience, lack of clarity as the clock ticks on AstraZeneca’s expiration date – fr

Impatience, lack of clarity as the clock ticks on AstraZeneca’s expiration date – fr

TORONTO – Impatience and lack of clarity persisted Thursday over the fate of thousands of doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that will expire in the coming weeks.

Several provinces have stopped administering COVID-19 due to rare and fatal blood clots. Health officials were still trying to decide whether or not to resume its use and whether using a different vaccine for the second injections made sense.

At the same time, Ottawa is distributing hundreds of thousands of doses of AstraZeneca to provinces, some of which are on stocks that will soon expire.

Justin Bates, head of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, said an announcement that was expected on Thursday would likely happen in the next few days. The association, he said, was in confidential talks with the province over the use of AstraZeneca, which he said had to be done.

“Absolutely. We have a common goal with the ministry to ensure that we use, whenever appropriate and feasible, any remaining doses of AstraZeneca. “

Ontario is counting on a steady increase in vaccinations for the start of its three-stage reopening, tentatively in mid-June. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Thursday the province was leaning towards using AstraZeneca for second doses.

“We are awaiting the final recommendations (from the experts) on what we should do with the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Elliott said. “UK data indicates that the problems with the second shot are much less. “

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said earlier this week that vaccines would not be wasted, but Ontario, which has about 31,000 unused doses, is set to expire on May 31. Likewise, Manitoba also reported having approximately 7,000 doses of AstraZeneca that must be used by the end of the month.

“The provinces and territories weigh their options very closely in terms of a second dose for people who received AstraZeneca for a first dose,” Hajdu said.

Bates said it would take a concerted effort to get the gunshots, if approved, involving reaching out to patients to schedule an appointment. They should also provide informed consent regarding dosing intervals and relative risks, which he says are far outweighed by the potential benefits.

“We’re just waiting for direction,” Bates said. “We can act quickly. “

Dr Irfan Dhalla, an internal medicine specialist in Toronto, said people should be able to make their own choices about whether they are given AstraZeneca, either as a first or second dose, or while waiting for another known brand. under the name mRNA vaccine.

“If someone has to wait several weeks to get an mRNA vaccine and could have an AstraZeneca vaccine today, it would be very reasonable for an individual… to prefer to have an AstraZeneca vaccine today,” Dhalla said earlier in the week.

“Likewise, it is very reasonable for people who have already received a dose to want to receive their second dose now rather than wait 16 weeks and then have a second dose with an mRNA vaccine. “

Over 2.1 million people have had AstraZeneca. Health officials said there were about two dozen confirmed cases of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT, the rare but serious blood clotting disorder.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization, known as NACI, was still awaiting data from an ongoing mix and match study in Britain.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead for the Manitoba Vaccine Working Group, couldn’t say how many doses might not be used. Nothing prevents doctors or pharmacists from giving the vaccines as long as the manufacturer’s and Health Canada’s rules are followed, she said.

“There are unique circumstances where people can benefit from an earlier dose,” Reimer said. “Clinicians have the ability to do an individual assessment. “

-With files from Holly McKenzie-Sutter in Toronto

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 20, 2021.


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