Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire received their first jab of the Covid-19 vaccine on Friday, with both getting the AstraZeneca injection what was symbolic support for it.
The Trudeaus received their injection at a pharmacy in Ottawa, and just before getting the jab, the Prime Minister said he was “very excited”. That inoculation came as the National Advisory Council on Immunisation or NACI also lowered the age threshold for getting the AZ vaccine from those over 55 to the 30-plus category.
The AZ vaccine has resulted in rare side-effects, blood clots with lower platelets, and one more case of this adverse reaction was reported in the province of Ontario, taking the countrywide total to four, following similar instances in Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick earlier. The Ontario case was also linked to the AZ version manufactured by the Serum Institute of India under the brand name Covishield.
In its recommendation, NACI said the complete series of the AZ vaccine could be offered to those over 30 without contraindications, but “only if the individual does not wish to wait for an mRNA vaccine” and if it is determined “that the benefit of earlier vaccination with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine outweighs the risk of Covid-19 while waiting for an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine.”
Health Canada has “concluded that the benefits of this vaccine continue to outweigh the potential risks”. The adverse event has been referred to as Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia or VITT and is estimated to occur in one in every 100,000 to one in every 250,000 people vaccinated with the AZ jab.
NACI also said the AZ vaccine has demonstrated an efficacy of 62% in the 18 to 64 age bracket while those older “who received one dose of AstraZeneca, real-world observational data of vaccine effectiveness have shown a reduction in the risk of symptomatic disease and hospitalization”. It also noted that the AZ vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines provide against the B117 variant of concern first detected in the United Kingdom.
In a statement, the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health said, “All of Canada’s approved Covid-19 vaccines provide a high level of. Through earlier access to vaccination, we have the opportunity to vaccinate more people faster, protect our health care system, reduce severe illness and save lives.”
It added that their “overall goal” remains focused on “enabling as many people as possible to be immunised as quickly as possible against Covid-19 with a safe and effective vaccine, while ensuring that high-risk populations are prioritized”.