B.C. to continue using AstraZeneca for first, second doses after Ontario pulls vaccine

B.C. to continue using AstraZeneca for first, second doses after Ontario pulls vaccine

British Columbia says it will stay the course on AstraZeneca after both Alberta and Ontario suspended the use of the vaccine.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, said the move is a result of an increased risk of blood clots related to the vaccine.

“Over the last few days, there has been increased reports of VITT, in particular, related to the AstraZeneca vaccine with a rate of 1.7 per 100,000 doses administered,” he said.

Alberta stopped its AstraZeneca rollout after 250,000 Albertans received their first dose.

With supplies running low and future deliveries uncertain, what’s left and what’s coming will be reserved for second shots.

In a statement, the B.C. government said that it will continue to use AstraZeneca for first and second doses, which it called a “safe and effective vaccine” to protect against COVID-19.

The province says AstraZeneca makes up approximately 10 per cent of the vaccines that it’s received to date, and has also helped increase B.C.’s vaccination rates during March and April when vaccine supply was limited and case rates were the highest.

B.C.’s statement comes as the number of vaccines administered on Vancouver Island is climbing, and the age of those who have been vaccinated is dropping.

Hans Bawa is the co-owner of Fort Royal Pharmacy, and said bookings for AstraZeneca vaccinations have filled up quickly.

“We actually were very surprised because now the age grouping has dropped to 30 plus, to how many people are signing up for AstraZeneca, and it’s just great.”

So far almost 19,000 Vancouver Island residents have received their first doze of AstraZeneca vaccine, with more on the way.

The prime minister said more vaccines of all types are coming to Canada.

“Everyone needs to do their part. Get the case numbers down, keep them down. And get vaccinated. That’s how we get through this,” Justin Trudeau said from Ottawa Tuesday morning.

Trudeau says restrictions will only scale back after July first, once at least 75 per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose,.

But UBC mathematical biologist Dr. Sarah Otto said BC will need to vaccinate everyone in order to beat back the virus.

“In order to get back to normal we have to get to very high levels of vaccination, effective vaccination, let’s say, 80, to 90 per cent, but that’s actually a challenge,” she said.

More than two-million people in BC have received a first dose, while the daily average is 40,000 vaccinations.

READ MORE: B.C. adds 515 new COVID-19 cases, 20 in Island Health

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!