With more than 2,400 first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines having been administered across Chatham-Kent, no problems have yet to be reported.
Regarding the questions and concerns many have regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine lately, Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Colby, has continued to keep his messaging the same.
According to Colby, the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe. He added if you have already received one, you did the right thing. Colby also noted that there had been no reported blood clots locally caused by that particular vaccine.
Ontario and several other provinces have now paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for first doses due to concerns of blood clots. Provincial health officials have since noted they believe the risk of developing a blood clot caused by AstraZeneca is approximately 1 in 60,000.
Colby added that he believes the Astrazeneca vaccine was also put on hold because there are more Pfizer and Moderna shots. Colby said the United Kingdom was using AstraZeneca predominantly and said they had fared very well in their infection control.
“I guess I would offer some reassurance to people that have received it already,” said Colby.
He added the AstraZeneca vaccine allows 12 weeks between doses. Colby said it remains to be seen regarding the mixing and matching of vaccines, and he is waiting to see evidence before signing off on it.
“As soon as there is evidence that you can use the first dose with one vaccine and the second dose with another, I will heartily endorse that,” said Colby. “I don’t have any inherent bias towards that in general. I just want to see some evidence that it works well before we start recommending it.”
According to Colby, 42 percent of those eligible to get the vaccine in Chatham-Kent have received at least one shot.
Colby said local community immunity could be reached this summer if there is enough vaccine supply. He added if Chatham-Kent can get to a point where 80 percent of locals receive the first dose and 20 percent receive a second dose, perhaps social activities could really start to open up.
Regarding the return of a somewhat normal summer, Colby said it’s too soon to tell if backyard barbecues and other outdoor gatherings will be allowed, as predicted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“The major factor is not our capacity to immunize; it’s our supply of vaccine,” said Colby. “We work with what we can get. In Chatham-Kent, we’re able to get the shots into arms very, very quickly.”
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News