B.C. 'full steam ahead' in using AstraZeneca as review deems it safe for use
VANCOUVER -- Federal public health officials are giving AstraZeneca the green light for use after investigating the COVID-19 vaccine's connection to rare blood clots.
Health Canada reviewed the link between the vaccine and blood clots. Despite the rate of the rare incidents being higher than first thought, officials said a treatment is available and the risk is lower than getting complications from COVID-19. Soon, every vial in Canada will contain a warning.
“Get whatever vaccine's available to you – it's that simple,” said Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical advisor to Health Canada.
While it's being declared safe to use, it's not yet clear if those under 55 will get the shot. Next, the National Council on Immunizations (NACI) will review the findings from Health Canada and decide whether to change its current recommendations that AstraZeneca/Covishield only be used in those 55 years of age and up.
B.C. officials pivoted away from using the vaccine in frontline workers when Health Canada initiated its latest review. Now the vaccine is available to those aged 55 to 65 in 610 pharmacies around the province.
“We’re expecting something over the next week from NACI in terms of guidance but right now we're full steam ahead in using the AstraZeneca we have," Health Minister Adrian Dix said.
Health Canada says the symptoms to watch out for include shortness of breath, chest or belly pain, leg swelling, severe headaches, or skin bruising. Anyone suffering with these four or more days after vaccination needs to get medical help.
Dix added more than 104,000 people have received their first dose of AstraZeneca in the province.
In Canada there's just one case of a blood clot connected to AstraZeneca: a woman over 55 who's now recovering at home.