Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reassured Canadians that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe after the country had the first reported death due to a blood clot that may be linked to the shot.
Trudeau told NEWS 95.7 in Halifax on Wednesday he still has confidence in the vaccine.
On Tuesday, health officials in Quebec said a 54-year-old woman from Montreal died of a blood clot that occurred after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Public Health Agency of Canada is investigating the death.
“Every single vaccine that is being used in Canada has been approved as safe by Health Canada, and I have tremendous confidence in all vaccines including AstraZeneca. I got the AstraZeneca shot myself last week and didn’t even hesitate,” Trudeau told Todd Veinotte, who has been filling in for Rick Howe on The Rick Howe Show on NEWS 95.7.
Trudeau noted that the risk of developing this rare blood clot is far less than the risks associated with COVID-19, or the risk of developing a blood clot when someone gets the virus.
“The risks of blood clots from getting COVID-19 are much greater than the very, very rare but real risks of side effects from AstraZeneca.”
LISTEN: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on The Rick Howe Show on NEWS 95.7 in Halifax
In terms of the vaccine rollout across the country, the Canadian Medical Association and other groups have called for the reallocation of the COVID-19 vaccine to hotspot regions of the country.
When asked if he would divert vaccines from one province to hotspot provinces, Trudeau said he does not support that approach but rather a per capita distribution system.
“The federal government worked with all the provinces months ago to establish a per capita basis, with a carve out for Moderna to the northern Arctic territories, in order to get the most vulnerable people vaccinated in one shot so you wouldn’t have to go through age strata.”
Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau says he does not support reallocating vaccines to hot spot provinces, instead of the per capita basis. Says provinces agreed on the per capita distribution. If provinces want to change that agreement he will respect that #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) April 28, 2021
However, he said that if provinces want to change that agreement, then he will respect that.
“If provinces want to come together and want to make that change, we will of course be there to listen and facilitate that, but the federal government isn’t going to take vaccines away from any jurisdiction to go another jurisdiction.”
“We are however going to keep working every single day to get more doses more quickly into this country so that we can get everyone vaccinated as fast as possible, and we are working with Ontario to help them on reallocating internally the large number of doses they get.”
As calls grow for tougher restrictions on flights into Canada, Trudeau defended his government’s border measures.
“We brought in what has been one of the most efficient measures and one of the stronger measures used — not by everyone around the world but Canada is among the ones that used it best — is that two-week quarantine. That was brought in right from the very beginning,” Trudeau said.
Last week, the federal government suspended incoming passenger flights from India and Pakistan for the next month as cases of COVID-19 surge in both countries. However, cargo flights will be permitted to ensure the continued supply of vaccines and PPE.
Trudeau said his government is “working as hard as we can” to get vaccines into the country, adding that two-million doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive next week.
With files from Cormac Mac Sweeney and The Canadian Press