Prince Edward Island suspends Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine program on national advice

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CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island have suspended all use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine because of safety concerns.

The decision follows advice from Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization to pause use of the vaccine on people under the age of 55.

P.E.I. chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the vaccine has been administered to 1,680 Islanders between the ages of 18 and 29.

She says those people should know that the risk of a serious side effect such as blood clots is very low and there have been no such cases in Canada.

Morrison says anyone who has received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should watch for symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, sudden onset of severe or persistent headache or blurred vision, and skin bruising other than the site of vaccination.

She says the pause will slow the province's vaccine rollout, but adds the government remains on track to give every Islander over 16 a first dose by the end of June.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press