COVID-19: Ontario reports first blood clot death in AstraZeneca vax recipient

Samuel Engelking

The country received 132,000 doses of the vaccine in late March from Covax, the global initiative to ensure lower-income countries receive jabs, but so far has administered less than 8,000 shots.

An Ontario man in his 40s has died after receiving a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, public health officials confirmed Tuesday.

"There is a small connection of thrombosis in women under 40 with the AstraZeneca vaccine", Panagiotopoulou said, but health experts in Cyprus stopped short of pointing to a medical mechanism or health factor that could cause the rare blood clot.

"The latest United Kingdom research data for this variant shows that two doses of AstraZeneca provide just under 60 per cent protection and for Pfizer 87.9 per cent". The vaccine is now being administered as a second dose only.

The first cohort of Ontarians who received the shot March reported booking headaches and a lack of clarity as they sought to schedule their second jabs on Tuesday.

The recommended interval between AstraZeneca shots is at least 12 weeks, but the second injection is being offered to the first group of recipients after 10 weeks in Ontario to use up the province's stockpile.

South Sudan says it will return the doses after concluding it can not administer the jabs before they expire, a health ministry official told AFP on Tuesday.

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Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Medical Officer of Health, said the difference in vaccine efficacy at 10 weeks as opposed to 12 weeks is negligible. "So it's not that it's a hazard to get it earlier, it's just that the data we have is that it may not be as beneficial".

He said "we wouldn't mind you waiting for 12 weeks", if possible, but since they have vaccines that need to be utilized before expiry, those who received their first shots during the initial AstraZeneca pharmacy pilot project in the Toronto, Kingston and Windsor areas are being prioritized for their second dose slightly earlier.

Both jabs were nearly as effective two weeks after two doses were administered - Pfizer was 88% effective against the Indian variant while AstraZeneca was 60% effective.

A spokeswoman for the health minister said many pharmacies and doctors would reach out to patients directly, and asked people to only contact participating pharmacies listed on the province's booking website.

In Ontario, roughly one in 60,000 first doses led to blood clots and the risk is considered much lower for a second dose.

"One of the real difficulties they've had is constant changes in the rollout programme that makes it hard for them, particularly with regards to the AstraZeneca vaccine because we know that is the one that's been most variable in terms of delivery".

"I kind of feel that we're now being left in the lurch a bit", Logan said by phone on Monday.

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