OTTAWA — The chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization says people who already got the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should not feel they made a bad choice.
Dr. Caroline Quach and the other 15 members of NACI were accused of sowing seeds of confusion and vaccine hesitancy when they recommended for a second time that Canadians who aren't at high risk from COVID-19 may want to wait to get vaccinated until a dose of Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna is available.
AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are believed to pose a risk of a new vaccine-induced blood clotting syndrome that is extremely rare but very serious and sometimes fatal.
In a statement, Quach says NACI's message wasn't meant to give AstraZeneca recipients vaccine remorse, noting the first dose has similar success at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19 as one dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
She says people who did get it should know they did the right thing to protect themselves and their families and anyone who is at moderate or high risk of COVID-19 infections should still get whatever vaccine they are offered first.
Quach says unvaccinated people who are at low risk of COVID-19 infections may want to look at the balance of risks between a vaccine that may pose a rare but potentially fatal side effect and one that doesn't.
More than 1.7 million Canadians have been vaccinated with at least one dose of AstraZeneca and Canada has reported at least 11 cases of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia or VITT.
Three of those patients have died.
Most Canadians won't be faced with choosing AstraZeneca now versus waiting for Pfizer or Moderna because most of the 2.3 million doses of AstraZeneca already delivered to Canada have been used and there are currently only shipments expected from Pfizer and Moderna.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.
Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press