On Monday, the public health in Quebec announced that they would be pausing inoculating AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 55 and below as a precautionary measure. The ministry said the decision was reached based on the recommendations from national and provincial advisory boards.
The European Medicine Agency (EMA) is examining whether the vaccine is in any way responsible for blood clotting in the brain. Quebec public health added that the possibility of the vaccine being linked to blood clotting cannot be ruled out, though investigations are still underway.
The rare cases of blood clotting after weeks of receiving the vaccine occurred in some European countries, with most cases involving women under 55 years. The public health, however, added that it has not yet confirmed whether the cases were gender-related.
So far, Quebec has administered 110 000 doses of AstraZeneca. No blood clotting case has been reported in Canada among those who have received a shot. Other provinces that include Manitoba and Prince Edward Island are also pausing to administer the vaccine.
Earlier in March, Canada, among other countries, stopped administering AstraZeneca in seniors after several turbulence episodes. Health Canada says additional requirements will be added in the use of AstraZeneca.
“These will include a requirement that the manufacturers conduct a detailed assessment of the benefits and risks of the vaccine by age and sex in the Canadian context.”
Health Canada further added that the additional requirements would help determine whether a specific group might be at higher risk. Canada expects to receive 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca on Tuesday from the United States. However, the vaccine is yet to be authorized for emergency use.
Despite the controversy, Quebec still says its schedule to have all adults vaccinated by 24th June won’t be affected. On Monday, 14.9 percent of Quebecers had received a dose of either AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna vaccines. The health professionals are vaccinating about 42 029 people in a day. That is about 1 percent of the population after every two days.