Canada

Doctors say lowering age cut-off for AstraZeneca vaccine makes sense as cases surge

An AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine container at a Shopper's Drug Mart in Toronto, March 12, 2021.

CALGARY — Doctors say the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be offered to Canadians in a wider age range as COVID-19 infections soar in many parts of the country.

Provinces limited eligibility for that vaccine to those 55 and older, after a small number of cases of an unusual and serious blood clotting condition appeared in younger people — mostly women — who had received a shot.

Dr. Daniel Gregson with the University of Calgary says the age limit can easily be dropped to as low as 35.

He says uncertainty has been planted in peoples’ minds about getting AstraZeneca, but they do things that are riskier on a daily basis without a second thought.

Dr. Susy Hota with the University Health Network in Toronto says she’d also support dropping the age limit, so long as no other worrying side-effects arise and recipients are aware of the risk, however small.

  1. Nurse Brenda Lotakoun draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as nurses from Humber River Hospital staff administer vaccines to residents, staff, and volunteers at one of B'nai Brith Canada's affordable housing buildings in Toronto, March 23, 2021.

    Pfizer supply bolstered as Moderna cuts delivery, Ontario turns down Trudeau's help

  2. Nurse Brenda Lotakoun draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as nurses from Humber River Hospital staff administer vaccines to residents, staff, and volunteers at one of B'nai Brith Canada's affordable housing buildings in Toronto, March 23, 2021.

    Pfizer supply bolstered as Moderna cuts delivery, Ontario turns down Trudeau's help

She says given the surge in case counts and the impact it’s having on Ontario hospitals, the vaccine should be used more.

Health Canada has deemed the vaccine safe, saying the benefits outweigh the risks.

The National Committee on Immunization has not yet changed its recommendation that the shot only be offered to those 55 and up.

But the decision ultimately rests with provinces, and officials in Alberta and Quebec have both said they are discussing a change.

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