The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is considering whether to change its recommendation that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine not be offered to anyone under the age of 55.
Health Canada announced earlier this week the vaccine will remain authorized for all adults in Canada after the country reported its first case of blood clots linked to the shot.
The agency says the new and extremely rare blood clotting syndrome may be linked to the vaccine, but they concluded the benefits of the shot still far outweigh any risks.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube says the province is already considering offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people younger than 55.
Dr. Susy Hota with the University Health Network says offering the shot to more people makes sense.
“As long as people are aware of what the possibility is and they consent to it, I think it’s an important strategy you need to consider,” Hota said.
Dr. Daniel Gregson with the University of Calgary says people do riskier things than get the shot on a daily basis without a second thought.
“Surely based on risks, most people are much better off with a vaccine than not a vaccine,” he said.
“Certainly can drop it to 45 if not 35.”
In late March, NACI recommended a pause on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccinations for people under 55 due to safety reasons.
Health officials continue to urge Canadians to take whichever vaccine is offered to them.
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A Quebec woman was the first in Canada to develop a blood clot after being vaccinated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Quebec health ministry and Public Health Agency of Canada reported the event connected to the AstraZeneca vaccine Tuesday.
The female patient, whose age has not been revealed, received the appropriate care and is recovering at home.
Health Canada will be updating the label for the vaccine to warn of the extremely rare possibility of blood clots.
More than 700,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Canada and about two million doses have been shipped.
The rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada has been shrouded with confusion, due to safety concerns and changing guidance over who can receive the shot.
Health Canada asked AstraZeneca for a full risk assessment of its vaccine after reports of similar clots in Europe, but the agency says the side effect is extremely rare and the vaccine’s benefits still outweigh its risks.
Experts say the risk of getting blood clots from COVID-19 itself is far higher than from the vaccine.
With files from the Canadian Press