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Canadian panel recommends provinces pause AstraZeneca vaccinations for those under 55

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Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidelines on the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Monday to recommend pausing its use in adults under the age of 55 until additional risk assessment is done.

The recommendations follow reports from Europe of rare blood clot issues in some people after use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, mainly among young women.

NACI recommends that AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should not be used in adults under 55 years of age at this time while the safety signal of Vaccine-Induced Prothrombotic Immune Thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) following vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is investigated further.

According to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, Cases identified so far have been primarily in women under the age of 55 years; although cases in men have also been reported and have mostly occurred between 4 and 16 days after receipt of vaccine. The agency says it has not received any reports of blood clots in Canada to date.

Canada is expected to receive 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from the US on Tuesday. On March 19, France approved resuming the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccinations only for those over 55, following the EU Medicines Agency’s conclusion that the vaccine is safe for usage.

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