The federal government is reassuring Canadians that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe after blood clots were reported post-immunization.
In a statement, Health Canada said it was aware of reports from several European countries that adverse events have followed immunization with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
The department reassured Canadians that the benefits of the company’s vaccine continue to outweigh any risks.
“Health Canada authorized the vaccine based on a thorough, independent review of the evidence and determined that it meets Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy, and quality requirements,” the health authority said.
Health Canada noted that, to date, it had not received any reports of adverse events related to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine or the version manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
“An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca,” Carlo Mastrangelo, a spokesperson for AstraZeneca Canada, told Daily Hive.
“In fact, the observed number of these types of events are significantly lower in those vaccinated than what would be expected among the general population.”
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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is investigating reports of blood clots following immunization with the AstraZeneca vaccine in several countries, including Denmark, Iceland, and Norway.
“At this time, there is no indication that the vaccine caused these events,” Health Canada said, noting that none of the batches being investigated have been sent to Canada.
Pending the outcome of the investigation, some countries have paused the use of specific batches of the vaccine, while others have temporarily stopped administering it altogether.
The EMA noted both courses of action are precautionary measures and echoed Health Canada’s statement that there is “no indication” that the vaccine caused the blood clots.
The United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has said that following the administration of 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in its jurisdiction, reports of blood clots are no greater than expected.
“The Government of Canada will continue to work with international regulators, including the EMA, to gather and assess the information available to determine whether there is any need to take action in Canada,”
As of February 26 – when Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine safety dashboard was last updated – 1,591 adverse events had been reported post-immunization, of which 194 were considered serious.
To date, 2,719,317 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the country.