Oxford-AstraZeneca suspension doesn't mean vaccine is unsafe: N.S. top doctor

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HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's chief medical officer says recent advice from Canada's expert vaccine panel against using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on people under 55 doesn't mean those doses are unsafe.

Dr. Robert Strang says the province plans to wait on more information from the vaccine manufacturer to see if the benefits outweigh the risks.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization updated its stance on the vaccine Monday after rare cases of blood clots primarily in women under 55 were reported in Europe.

Strang says residents aged 55 and over can still get the AstraZeneca vaccine, adding that officials in the province have been administering those doses to people aged 60 to 64.

He says people who have received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the last 20 days and who receive it going forward should monitor for symptoms such as shortness of breath, leg swelling, persistent headaches and blurry vision.

Strang says if information reveals the AstraZeneca vaccine isn’t safe, timelines for the vaccine rollout in the province may have to be pushed back.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press