Health Canada chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said Wednesday that the agency had updated the label on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to warn people of the possible risk of very rare risk of blood clots, saying the change was to ensure “Canadians can be informed of the side effects.”
Sharma advised that the vaccine was still safe despite the “stronger link” to potential blood clots. Sharma also stressed the benefits of getting the vaccine still outweighed the risks of getting COVID-19.
“Get whichever vaccine is available to you, it’s that simple. The longer you wait to get vaccinated, the longer you’re not protected,” Sharma said.
She also remarked on the first reported case of a rare blood clot in Canada associated with vaccination, though information on when after inoculation the woman in Quebec experienced the health issue is still being gathered.
At this time, the AstraZeneca vaccine is currently recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to those 55 and older, however Sharma said that the committee was meeting that day to review Health Canada data and determine whether they would need to update their restrictions.
The vaccine was produced at the Serum Institute of India and is known as CoviShield. The institute is manufacturing its own version of the vaccine under license — and its Canadian partner Verity Pharmaceuticals.
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