ONTARIO – The Ontario government is pausing the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine due to safety and supply issues.
Today, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution following increased instances of a potentially fatal blood clotting disorder, vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).
In Canada, at least 12 VITT cases have been confirmed. Three women have died. About two million doses have been given.
Dr. Jessica Hopkins, the chief health protection and emergency preparedness officer for Public Health Ontario, said the vaccine safety system is working in Ontario and Canada, adding the side effects are rare.
“This is out of an abundance of precaution.”
Hopkins said there is a one-in-60,000 chance of having some sort of side effect, down from a one-in-100,000 chance.
The Ontario government says they have 49,280 doses of the vaccine left out of more than 707,000 received.
The Alberta government announced it was no longer providing first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Last week Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw confirmed a death linked to vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) in a woman in her 50s after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Countries including Germany, France, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, and Thailand suspended their use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after reports that some people who got a dose developed blood clots.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), however, say the data available doesn’t suggest the vaccine caused the clots.