Canada reports first case of blood clotting from AstraZeneca vaccine

Brenda Watkins
April 14, 2021

Australia has abandoned a goal to vaccinate almost all of its 26 million population by the end of 2021 following advice that people under the age of 50 take Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine rather than AstraZeneca's shot.

AstraZeneca is being used in Germany only for people over 60, who are at a higher risk of dying due to COVID-19.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan is now due to leave Thursday for talks with his counterparts in Germany, France and Brussels "to discuss vaccine production and the European Union export restriction regime" for AstraZeneca, his office said.

"The solution that has now been found offers good protection for people", Bavarian lawmaker Klaus Holetschek, who chaired the Tuesday evening meeting, told dpa.

Earlier today, German officials advised people under the age of 60, who have already received one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine, to use a different vaccine for their second dose.

This is coming after the Nigerian government has quietly ditched the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and gradually shifted to Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine, saying it is easier to administer.

People receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a high school in Houston last month. | GO NAKAMURA  THE NEW YORK TIMES
People receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a high school in Houston last month. | GO NAKAMURA THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Obviously, we're following closely developments in the United States and we can assure everyone that Health Canada will every step of the way put the health of Canadians first and foremost in any decision we make around distributing vaccines", Trudeau said.

There were 222 cases of these atypical thromboses out of 34 million AstraZeneca injections carried out in the European Economic Area (EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein) and Britain, as of April 4, according to the EMA.

Most of the cases reported were in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination.

It said it is working with the manufacturer, the US Food and Drug Administration and other global regulators to determine the shot's safety as it awaits orders for up to 38 million doses.

"Based on all of the evidence available internationally to-date, Health Canada continues to consider that the benefits of the AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD vaccines to protect against COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks".

Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine has come under similar suspicion for the same issue, with U.S. health authorities recommending Tuesday that it be paused while they investigate six cases of clotting.

Ukraine President Zelensky visits frontline in Donbas
Between a ceasefire being signed last July and the end of 2020, just four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the Donbass conflict. Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, has denied sending troops and heavy weapons to Donbass.

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