Ontario to pause first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

Ontario to pause first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines thumbnail

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Canadian Press

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People stand in a line up at a mass vaccination centre in Mississauga, Ont., on May 10, 2021.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Ontario says it will stop giving out first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for now due to an increased risk of a rare blood clotting syndrome linked to the shot.

The province’s top doctor said the decision was made out of “an abundance of caution.”

Ontario is preparing guidance for people who already received a first dose of AstraZeneca on what to do next, Dr. David Williams said.

Williams stressed that AstraZeneca recipients made the right decision, based on the advice available at the time, to get that vaccine.

Alberta stops giving first doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Ontario’s move comes hours after Alberta said it won’t give out more first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being because there aren’t any confirmed shipments coming.

The blood clotting syndrome linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine is extremely rare but can be fatal.

In Canada, at least 12 cases have been confirmed out of more than two million doses given and three women have died.

Ontario said it has 49,280 doses of the shot remaining in the province out of over 707,000 received.

The province, along with others, is awaiting results of a clinical trial in the United Kingdom looking at giving a different vaccine for the second dose.

That would allow people who got AstraZeneca first to be given Pfizer or Moderna for their second dose.

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