Several vials of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ont., on Monday March 15, 2021. The centre will be used as an immunization clinic for the Napanee area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Several vials of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ont., on Monday March 15, 2021. The centre will be used as an immunization clinic for the Napanee area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

NACI says AstraZeneca vaccine now recommended for use on seniors

Still NACI says if there is a choice, the mRNA vaccines should be prioritized for use on seniors

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says there is now enough “real-world evidence” to show the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and effective for seniors.

The decision reverses a recommendation made by the body on March 1, when the panel of vaccine experts said AstraZeneca hadn’t included enough people over the age of 65 in its clinical trials.

NACI chair Dr. Caroline Quach said Tuesday that two studies of patients who received the vaccine in the United Kingdom have been released since then and show the AstraZeneca vaccine is both safe and effective for seniors, particularly against severe disease and hospitalization.

She says while the clinical trial data show the two mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were more effective than AstraZeneca’s, the data on the vaccines since they began being widely used shows similar levels of effectiveness.

Still NACI says if there is a choice, the mRNA vaccines should be prioritized for use on seniors, but they no longer recommend against using AstraZeneca for anyone over the age of 65.

Several European countries also reversed a recommendation against using it on seniors, including France, Germany and Italy.

Many experts say that despite some differences among the vaccines available, all that have been approved are safe and effective against COVID-19 and the best one to get is the first one you’re offered.

A new poll suggests more Canadians are heeding that advice.

Fifty-one per cent of respondents to the online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they will take whichever of the four COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada.

One-quarter said they would be willing to wait to get a shot they prefer.

Few provinces are offering a choice at the moment, though Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Monday he felt people should be offered one.

Quach also said Tuesday the panel is continually studying new reports and studies on the vaccines, including recent reports in Europe about blood clots.

Health Canada’s Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said last week there is no biological evidence that would show how the vaccine could cause blood clots. The company said a study of more than 17 million patients who received the vaccine did not identify any blood clots that were caused by the vaccine, and Thrombosis Canada also issued a statement saying the vaccine was safe.

Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said concerns about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine don’t seem to be on Canadians’ minds.

“For now, there’s no real major issue exactly (with the AstraZeneca vaccine), but could it in light of what we’ve seen over the past couple of days? I don’t know,” Bourque said.

The online poll of 1,512 adult Canadians was carried out March 12 to 14 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based surveys are not considered random samples.

The poll also found that 41 per cent of respondents say they believe the worst of the COVID-19 crisis is behind us, while 25 per cent say we are now in the worst period.

Bourque said Canadians seem to feel that we’re rounding the corner as vaccination campaigns are accelerate across the country.

READ MORE: Trudeau offers reassurance on AstraZeneca safety as European countries suspend use

Mia Rabson and Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusSeniorsvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Alberta bill would protect health workers, care homes from some COVID-19 lawsuits

The bill proposes exempting a range of workers, including doctors, pharmacists and care-home operators from being sued over COVID-19 – unless for gross negligence

pic
Main Street construction to commence on May 1st

The project will include new concrete sidewalks, enhanced bulbing features, and watermain replacements

Nineteen-year-old Amanda enjoys a ride during a visit to Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. photo submitted
Busy days at Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler

The ranch, which launched operations last summer, provides support through animal interaction

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta passes bill to give all workers paid leave to get COVID-19 vaccine shot

Labour Minister Jason Copping says Bill 71 will reduce barriers for Alberta workers to get vaccinated

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta reports first case of another new variant as daily COVID-19 cases rise

Hinshaw says it was brought to Alberta by an interprovincial traveller

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the deal with Pfizer includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024

Steam billows from the Sheerness coal-fired generating station near Hanna, Alta., Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta didn’t consider impact of mountain coal mining on tourism: official

Justin Brattinga, spokesman for current minister Doug Schweitzer, said the tourism strategy is being completely revised

Alberta auditor general Doug Wylie speaks at a news conference in Edmonton on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta auditor general finds CT and MRI tests confused, antiquated

In 2018-19, Alberta performed 647,000 combined MRI and CT exams at a cost of more than $170 million

pic
Main Street construction to commence on May 1st

The project will include new concrete sidewalks, enhanced bulbing features, and watermain replacements

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Alberta government aiming to boost financial literacy among students

Government providing grants to organizations who will help design financial literacy programming

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read