Canada’s chief public well being officer stated right this moment the Nationwide Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) not too long ago postponed a deliberate replace to its AstraZeneca steerage as a result of it needed to include new information about COVID-19 variants — not due to any developments in regards to the product’s security.
NACI was poised to offer an replace on the AstraZeneca shot yesterday however the press convention was cancelled abruptly simply minutes earlier than it was because of begin, leaving reporters with questions concerning the sudden scheduling change.
Dr. Theresa Tam stated NACI, the committee of professional volunteers charged with reviewing vaccines, did not name off the general public look due to new questions of safety or fears concerning the vaccine’s potential negative effects.
Solely minutes earlier than the replace was cancelled Tuesday, New Brunswick officers reported one new case of the uncommon blood clots present in a really small variety of AstraZeneca recipients.
In Canada, there have been simply three stories of those clots within the mind post-vaccination — a phenomenon that additionally has been reported in Europe and the U.Ok. As of final Thursday, greater than 700,000 of those pictures have been administered right here on this nation.
WATCH: Chief Public Well being Officer Dr. Theresa Tam on NACI’s cancelled press convention
Tam stated the NACI media replace was rescheduled to present committee members an opportunity to overview new information concerning the unfold of so-called “variants of concern” throughout this third wave of the pandemic — and the impression they may have on the nation’s immunization marketing campaign.
With caseloads mounting in some components of the nation, various public well being consultants have urged NACI and provincial determination makers to calm down vaccine eligibility guidelines to get many extra pictures into the arms of youthful Canadians to keep away from extra hospitalizations and loss of life.
“They thought it was pertinent by way of analyzing the impression of COVID-19 on the inhabitants in mild of the variants of concern, and never due to any modifications within the information for the thrombosis dysfunction itself,” she stated, referring to vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia (VIPIT).
“That continues to be a uncommon dysfunction and the charges that they had been taking a look at have not modified,” Tam stated, including that consultants nonetheless consider VIPIT can develop in roughly 1 out of each 250,000 individuals who get an AstraZeneca shot.
After reviewing international information about VIPIT, Well being Canada reaffirmed final week that the advantages of taking the AstraZeneca shot simply outweigh the dangers. The regulator stated the percentages of growing any kind of blood clot are in 1 in 5 for individuals hospitalized with COVID-19.
Tam stated VIPIT just isn’t considered associated to any underlying pre-existing circumstances, or any bodily or organic traits — it may happen in nearly anybody.
Whereas there have been stories of the situation growing in youthful girls, there is no such thing as a exhausting proof out there to consultants proper now to recommend they’re extra inclined than different teams, Tam stated. One of many three individuals identified with VIPIT in Canada to date is a person in his 50s, for instance.
“The thrombotic syndrome with low platelets — it is a very particular underlying mechanism that’s driving that uncommon occasion. There is no such thing as a intercourse or age danger components for that situation,” she stated.
Tam stated the provinces that adjusted the AstraZeneca-related age restrictions over the weekend and into Monday did so after being briefed by NACI about any potential dangers the product may pose to a youthful demographic.
British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario are all now giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals as younger as 40, whereas Quebec has made it out there to these 45 and older.
Whereas Well being Canada has accepted the shot to be used in all adults, NACI initially advisable the pictures be reserved for adults over the age of 55. It was anticipated to formally make a change in steerage to permit youthful individuals to get the shot on the now-cancelled press convention.
Tam stated NACI would transient Canadians on this shot a later date.