Second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine no longer recommended in Canada – .

Second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine no longer recommended in Canada – .

Pfizer or Moderna now consider a better second dose for someone who had AstraZeneca as their first shot

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British Columbians who chose to receive a first dose of AstraZeneca should not get it for their second dose and instead receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a key federal advisory committee said Thursday.

Previously, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization had said that AstraZeneca beneficiaries could choose to receive a second dose of the same vaccine or an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). But in new guidelines released Thursday, the NACI says Pfizer or Moderna are now “preferred” as a second dose.

The provincial health worker said the latest studies show that mixing AstraZeneca with an mRNA vaccine could increase immunity to COVID-19.

“It can in some people stimulate a stronger, perhaps longer lasting immune response, so that you can get the best of both worlds,” said Dr Bonnie Henry.

However, one of the main reasons NACI is moving away from AstraZeneca is the risk of blood clotting associated with the vaccine, which affects one in 600,000 people who receive this vaccine. AstraZeneca is the mainstay of vaccines in the UK and Australia, but has been linked to more deaths per capita than mRNA vaccines.

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In British Columbia, AstraZeneca was deployed in March and April during the third wave of the pandemic as a means of immunizing high-risk workers and those not yet eligible through age-based deployment which primarily used Pfizer .

Following the onset of AstraZeneca-related blood clotting among young people, Henry suspended the use of this vaccine for people under the age of 30. About 280,000 British Columbians have received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. National figures as of June 5 show that 2.1 million people in Canada had received a first dose of AstraZeneca, but less than 16,000 had received it as a second dose.

According to Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan, British Columbia has received 438,000 doses of AstraZeneca – just under 10% of the total number of doses administered in the province.

By far, Pfizer is the most available vaccine in the province – with 3,385,590 doses delivered.

Moderna only accounted for 17% of shipments in British Columbia, with 787,140 doses, but Henry said nearly a million doses of this vaccine are expected within the next month.

This is fortuitous, as Pfizer’s July deliveries will be significantly lower than previously promised.

“Today we were informed that there are challenges ahead with the delivery of Pfizer vaccines in July, and as a result, the supply that we will receive in the first two weeks of July is now reduced,” Henry said.

“This is something that happens when we are in a global pandemic with a global vaccine supply. We know these speed bumps are happening, and while disappointing, they are not unexpected, given the complexity of global immunization efforts.

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There are no further AstraZeneca shipments planned.

Henry reported 120 new cases in the past day and one death. There are 1,320 active cases of COVID-19 in the community and 131 are being treated in hospital, including 44 in intensive care.

Twenty percent of British Columbia’s adult population is now fully immune, while 74.5 percent of people aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

with files from the Canadian Press

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