A New Brunswick resident has died after developing blood clots following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The resident, who was in their 60s, is the first person to die in the province from a vaccine-related cause, and this was the second serious case of adverse effects from the vaccine, Dr. Jennifer Russell said Wednesday.
The person received the AstraZeneca vaccine in mid-April and developed symptoms seven days later. They went to an emergency room for treatment and died two days later in hospital.
Two other cases are "currently under investigation," Russell said.
The death announced Wednesday is the third in Canada linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
On Monday, an Alberta woman in her 50s died after developing a rare blood clot after receiving the vaccine, and in late April, a 54-year-old Quebec woman died after the vaccine led to the development of a rare blood clot in her brain.
Russell would not disclose any other details about the New Brunswick case, including the person's sex or health zone.
She stressed that blood clots and low platelets are "a very rare side effect of this vaccine," and said residents should still plan to take the first vaccine that is offered to them.
Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, who was also at the briefing, echoed Russell's advice, noting the risks of dying from COVID-19 are "far greater than the risks associated with receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine."
"I understand today's news will cause some to question whether they should get vaccinated, but I ask that you listen to the science," Shephard said.
"Please do not let today's tragic news stop you."
Russell reminded New Brunswickers to seek immediate medical attention after receiving the AstraZeneca or Covishield vaccine if certain symptoms develop between four to 28 days after vaccination. The symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Persistent abdominal pain
Neurological symptoms, such as severe and persistent worsening headaches or blurred vision
Skin bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection
Wednesday's update was the second in two days, with Tuesday's briefing seeing Education Minister Dominic Cardy lash out at the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, known as NACI, suggesting the national panel is "undermining our decisions about which vaccines to take.
On Monday, NACI said that because of rare cases of blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, people in low-risk parts of the country may want to wait for the chance to get the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
During Tuesday's COVID briefing, Cardy said all four approved vaccines "represent a miracle of modern science."
"If a vaccine is approved by Public Health Canada and approved by Dr. Russell and her team, take that shot," Cardy said. "Ignore NACI, ignore anti-maskers, ignore the people undermining faith in science, and do your part for New Brunswick."
One new death, 11 new cases reported
A person in their 70s has died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths in the province to 39.
The person was a resident of Pavillon Beau-Lieu, a special care home in Grand Falls in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, and died in hospital, Public Health said in a news release Wednesday.
The department also reported 11 new cases, which break down the following way:
Moncton region, Zone 1, three cases:
An individual 19 or under.
Two people 20 to 29.
Two cases are contacts of a previously confirmed case and one case is under investigation.
Saint John region, Zone 2, one case:
An individual 19 or under, a contact of a previous case.
Fredericton region, Zone 3, one case:
An individual 60 to 69 with a case that is travel-related
Edmundston region, Zone 4, five cases:
An individual 40 to 49
An individual 60 to 69
Two people 70 to 79
an individual 80-89
All five cases are contacts of a previously confirmed case.
Bathurst region, Zone 6, one case:
An individual 60 to 69 and is travel-related
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,969. Since Tuesday, six people have recovered for a total of 1,784 recoveries.
There have been 39 deaths, and the number of active cases is 145. Six patients are hospitalized, including two in an intensive care unit. A total of 299,018 tests have been conducted, including 1,580 since Tuesday's report.
Exposure warning at designated quarantine hotel in Zone 3
Hotel staff and guests are being screened for COVID-19 after a potential exposure was identified at the Delta Fredericton at 225 Woodstock Rd., Public Health said Wednesday.
The potential exposure occurred between Monday, April 26, and Sunday, May 2. Spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane confirmed to Radio-Canada that testing is underway at the hotel.
The hotel is one of several in New Brunswick designated as a self-isolation hotel for travellers and people who are moving to the province. These hotel stays are required by the provincial government.
Higgs announced initially that all leisure travellers, business travellers, and people moving must to self-isolate at a hotel for at least seven days. A stay costs about $1,300 and is managed by the Canadian Red Cross.
The province then updated that rule, saying it will allow exemptions on a case-by-case basis for people to self-isolate in a stand-alone residence.
Travellers can see if they qualify by emailing TravelRegistration.EnregistrementVoyage@gnb.ca
It's unclear who is eligible to self-isolate outside a hotel.
Why Public Health isn't halting AstraZeneca use
The news that a New Brunswick resident developed a blood clot and later died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine has prompted questions about whether the province will suspend use of the vaccine altogether.
The death is the second serious adverse reaction to AstraZeneca in the province — a person in their 30s experienced a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca-Covishield vaccine in March, but was treated and recovered — and two other incidents are currently being investigated. T
There have been 44,000 doses administered in the province so far, Dr. Jennifer Russell said at a live update on the vaccine on Wednesday.
Russell and Health Minister Dorothy Shephard both said there are no plans to halt the vaccine's use in New Brunswick at this time.
"We are reviewing that," Russell said, adding that the situation is "fluid."
"We will continue to make adjustments in our planning and communications based on the information we receive on a daily basis."
But for now, she said, "AstraZeneca is an option that New Brunswickers may choose, or not."
Shephard noted that the U.K. has used AstraZeneca "almost entirely, and you can see how their numbers are plummeting."
Possible exposure at two schools in Moncton region
A possible exposure to a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at two schools in the Moncton region, Zone 1.
In a news release Wednesday, Public Health said the school communities of École Père-Edgar-T.-LeBlanc in Grand-Barachois and École Le Mascaret in Moncton have been notified.
The exposures were confirmed late in the evening on Tuesday, and the schools were closed for the day Wednesday to allow for the situation to be evaluated.
Update on outbreak at UNB residence
Testing of staff and residents of Elizabeth Parr-Johnston residence has been completed and isolation will be lifted at 11:59 Wednesday, Public Health said Wednesday afternoon.
Residents and staff of Magee House were tested on Sunday, and additional testing was to take place Wednesday.
The isolation period for people in Magee House who have tested negative could end Saturday at 11:59 p.m., the department said.
Pfizer vaccine approved for adolescents
Health Canada announced Wednesday that it has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for young people 12 to 15 years old.
The previous age cutoff for the vaccine was 16.
Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma, called the approval "a significant milestone" and said it could allow young people to safely return to school and extracurricular activities.
In New Brunswick, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said the information will now to go to the province's vaccine task force.
"They will review this information and will make an announcement on when that age group can get vaccinated, based on that information," she said.
Tuesday was a record day for vaccine bookings
When Public Health opened the vaccine eligibility window to those 50 and over on Tuesday, New Brunswickers were quick to rush in.
"Overnight, we had more than 10,000 people register to be vaccinated," Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said Wednesday. "This is a one-day record."
Shephard also said that as of Wednesday, 38 per cent of New Brunswickers age 16 or older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Latest exposure notifications
Monday, April 26, and Sunday, May 2 – Delta Fredericton (225 Woodstock Rd.)
Monday, May 3, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Costco Wholesale (140 Granite Dr.)
April 25 - Air Canada Flight 396 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 1:07 a.m.
April 25 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:29 a.m.
April 28 - Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 12:03 p.m.
April 28 - Air Canada Flight 8906 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7:08 p.m.
April 30 - Air Canada Flight 170 – from Edmonton to Toronto, departed at 1:56 p.m.
April 30 - Air Canada Flight 8918 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:56 p.m.
Public Health is now offering COVID-19 testing for all New Brunswickers who have been in a public exposure area, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment at the nearest screening centre.
Other possible exposures
April 29 between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – Papa John's Pizza (555 Dieppe Blvd., Dieppe)
April 29 between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – Shoppers Drug Mart (320 Elmwood Dr., Moncton)
Saint John region:
April 28 between 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – Atlantic Superstore (195 King St., St. Stephen)
April 26 between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – Save Easy (232 Water St., Saint Andrews)
April 24 between 3:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – Birch Grove Restaurant (34 Brunswick St., St. George)
April 20 between 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – Dr. Michael Murphy's Office (6 Queen St. W., St. Stephen)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and April 22 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – Winners (9 Riocan Ave.)
April 23 between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – Pizza Hut (1180 Smythe St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Petsmart (1124 Prospect St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Charm Diamond Centres (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – La Senza (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 10:30 a.m. and noon – Costco (25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., Fredericton)
April 23 and April 22 – Radisson Kingswood Hotel & Suites (41 Kingswood Way, Hanwell)
April 22 between 2 and 3 p.m., Habitat for Humanity Restore (800 St. Mary St., Fredericton)
April 22 between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. – Unplugged (418 Queen St., Fredericton)
April 22 between 1 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – Bed Bath & Beyond (15 Trinity Ave., Fredericton)
April 21 between 5:30 and 8 p.m. – Jungle Jim's (1168 Smythe St., Fredericton)
April 21 between 1 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – Old Navy (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 21 between 12 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – Chapters (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 21 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Moffitts Convenience (1879 Rte. 3, Harvey Station)
April 22 between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. – The Snooty Fox (66 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., and April 22 between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. – HomeSense, (18 Trinity Dr., Fredericton)
April 23 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. – Save Easy Independent Grocer (135 Otis Dr., Nackawic)
April 23 – Canada Post (135 Otis Dr., Nackawic)
April 22 and April 23 – Jolly Farmer (56 Crabbe Rd., Northampton)
April 24 between 10 a.m. and noon – YMCA (570 York St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Walmart Supercentre (1399 Regent St, Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Princess Auto (21 Trinity Ave., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Home Depot (Corbett Centre, Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Swiss Chalet (961 Prospect Ave., Fredericton)
April 22 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. – Canadian Tire (1110 Smythe Ave., Fredericton)
April 22 between 10 a.m. and noon. – Digital World (524 Smythe Ave., Fredericton)
April 22 between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – Tim Horton's (1713 Woodstock Rd., Fredericton)
April 22 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – Costco (25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., Fredericton)
From April 19 to April 22 – Canada Post (135 Otis Dr., Nackawic)
April 21 between noon and 4 p.m. – Shoppers Drug Mart (1040 Prospect St., Fredericton)
May 1 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., April 30 between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 27 between noon and 12:30 p.m. – Legresley Esso (15 Notre-Dame Rd., Kedgwick)
May 1 between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Rossy (344 Canada Rd. Unit K, Saint-Quentin)
May 1 between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. - Ameublement Milix (344 Canada Rd., Saint-Quentin)
May 1 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. – Boutique du Dollar 12345 (116A Notre-Dame Rd., Kedgwick)
April 29 between 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. – Familiprix (116A Notre-Dame Rd., Kedgwick)
May 1 between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., April 29 between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., April 28 between 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. – Bonichoix (4 Camille Rd., Kedgwick)
April 28 between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Irving (272 Canada Rd., Saint-Quentin)
April 25 between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. – St. Patrick Church (2154, Rte. 130, Grand Falls)
April 27 between 5:15 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., April 28 between 5:15 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., April 26 between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. – Hill Top Motel & Restaurant (131 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
April 28 between 5 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. – Irving Big Stop (121 Route 255, Grand Falls)
April 27 between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and on April 26 between 3 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. – Walmart, (494 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
April 27 between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. – Grand Falls General Hospital
April 26 between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. – Blue's Printing Shop, (182 Portage St., Grand Falls)
April 26 between noon and 12:15 p.m. – St-Onge Industrial Supplies (Belanger St., Grand Falls)
April 26 between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – Canadian Tire (383 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
April 26 between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and April 24 between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – Atlantic Superstore (240 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
April 26 between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – Foodland Grand Falls (535 Everard H. Daigle, Grand Falls)
April 26 between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and April 25 between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. – Toner Home Hardware (445 Broadway Blvd., Grand Falls)
April 26 between 9:45 a.m. and 10 a.m. – Merritt Press (208 Main St., Grand Falls)
April 28 - Air Canada Flight 396 – from Calgary to Montreal departed at 1:05 a.m.
April 29 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:24 a.m.
April 24 - Air Canada Flight 8918 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 9:04 p.m.
April 22 - Air Canada Flight 396 – from Calgary to Montreal departed at 12:52 a.m.
April 22 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:27 a.m.
April 20 - Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 11:45 a.m.
April 20 - Air Canada Flight 8906 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7:01 p.m.
What to do if you have a symptom
People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:
Fever above 38 C.
New cough or worsening chronic cough.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.
In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with one of those symptoms should:
Stay at home.
Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.
Describe symptoms and travel history.