In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File

Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario said it was deciding how it would use an incoming shipment reserved for second doses.

Ontario – which has stopped administering AstraZeneca as a first dose over concerns about a rare clotting disorder – announced it will receive a quarter-million doses of the vaccine next week but is still reviewing when it will open up appointments for second doses.

Alberta, too, has stopped offering the shot to those who have yet to be vaccinated, but cites a lack of supply for the move.

Manitoba, meanwhile, announced Wednesday that it plans to offer first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine only to those who might not be immunized at other sites.

Most doses will be held for second shots for people who received an AstraZeneca vaccine in the first go-around, the province said, “in response to ongoing evidence and supply.” Manitoba said it will receive about 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca in its next shipment.

The uncertainty over AstraZeneca has rankled some who already received their first dose of that vaccine and are undeterred by the risk of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, also known as VITT.

A group of scientists advising the Ontario government has pegged the rate in Canada at 1 in 55,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine as of May 8, though it noted that some presumptive cases were still being investigated.

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT. Three women have died.

Alison Meek, who received her first dose of AstraZeneca last week, said she’d take a second shot of the same vacine “in a heartbeat.”

“I would have taken any of the ones that was offered. I think it is important not just for our own health, but to protect those around us. I think it’s needed to get out of this – these lockdowns that we’re in,” said Meek, who lives in London, Ont., and teaches history at Western University.

She said she had muscle aches and a fever after the shot but is happy with her decision.

“I have no regrets whatsoever, and would happily take the second dose,” Meek said.

Ontario currently has roughly 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot left, some of which are due to expire in the coming weeks.

“I hope that they’re not going to be dumping those down the drain,” Meek said.

Toronto writer Emily Saso, 40, also stands by her decision to get the AstraZeneca shot in late April to guard against the risks of her husband bringing the COVID-19 virus back home from work.

But Saso said the shifting messages surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine have done little to quell her longstanding fear of blood clots.

“It was definitely a failure of communication,” she said. “And that added to my anxiety, which was already high.”

Experts have noted that the risk of clotting is much higher among people diagnosed with COVID-19 than those who received the AstraZeneca shot.

Health Canada’s chief medical adviser has said that from an authorization perspective AstraZeneca’s benefits against COVID-19 still outweigh the rare risk of VIIT.

As questions over the use of AstraZeneca continue to swirl, however, health officials in all provinces are now watching for the results of a British study on mixing and matching vaccines.

Data could come on AstraZeneca and Pfizer as early as this week, with many health experts expecting very positive results from combining two different vaccines.

READ MORE: Vaccine confidence in Canada holds steady despite AstraZeneca safety concerns

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Birtch Parlee is one of approximately 132,000 transgender people living across the nation, according to Statistics Canada. Photo submitted
Transgender in a small town – Princeton B.C.

“I buried it. I pushed it down. I lived a lie.”

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Dan Albas
COLUMN: Reopening the international border

Governments in Canada and the United States are working towards reopening plans for the border

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Smoke has been showing since earlier in the day

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Most Read