Health Canada Says AstraZeneca Vaccine Benefits Continue To Outweigh Risks

Health Canada stands by its assessment that the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweigh its risks despite multiple European nations halting its use over the fears of possible adverse effects, the department told Sputnik.

A number of European states have suspended vaccination with the AstraZeneca drug as a precaution after reports of severe side-effects, including blood clots, which were allegedly triggered by the vaccine.

“Health Canada is aware of reports of adverse events in Europe following immunization with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, and would like to reassure Canadians that the benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh its risks,” Health Canada said in a statement on Thursday evening.

Health Canada echoed the European Medicines Agency, in saying that there is currently no indication that the reported negative effects had been caused by the inoculation. The department added that no adverse reactions have been reported to it or the Public Health Agency of Canada.

None of the AstraZeneca vaccine batches currently under investigation have been shipped to Canada, Health Canada confirmed.

Canadian health regulators authorized the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine along with the Serum Institute of India version of the vaccine on February 26 for use in individuals over the age of 18. However, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) later said it is not recommending AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for Canadians age 65 and older.

The Canadian government has secured 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine version produced by the Serum Institute. The first shipment of 500,000 vaccine doses arrived last week.

Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg and Norway have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after citizens reported side-effects following inoculation from the ABV5300 batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The batch in question was distributed among 17 EU countries.

A spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO) told Sputnik that its Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) was carefully assessing the reports on risks related to the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19.