Ontario says seniors won't get AstraZeneca vaccine

The health minister of Canadas most populous province said Tuesday Ontario seniors wont receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since theres limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. Belgium has authorized it only for people 55 and under.France said this week it will allow some people over 65 to receive the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, after initially restricting its use to younger populations because of limited data on the drugs effectiveness.

PTI | Toronto | Updated: 03-03-2021 10:26 IST | Created: 03-03-2021 09:49 IST
Ontario says seniors won't get AstraZeneca vaccine
Representative image Image Credit: Twitter(@SAgovnews)

The health minister of Canada's most populous province said Tuesday Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Ontario plans to follow the advice of a national panel that's recommended against using the newly approved vaccine on people aged 65 and older. She said anyone over that age is recommended to receive either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine.

Canada's regulator approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca last week for all adults including seniors, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunisation said this week that the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are preferred for seniors due to "suggested superior efficacy." Health authorities in France and Germany and other countries have also raised concerns that AstraZeneca didn't test the vaccine in enough older people to prove it works for them and indicated they would not recommend it for people over 65. Belgium has authorized it only for people 55 and under.

France said this week it will allow some people over 65 to receive the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, after initially restricting its use to younger populations because of limited data on the drug's effectiveness. Last month, South Africa scaled back its planned rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, opting instead to use an unlicensed shot from Johnson & Johnson for its health care workers.

The Canadian Pacific Coast province of British Columbia, meanwhile, plans to delay the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Ontario and Alberta are also considering following the province's lead.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia's provincial health officer, said the decision was "made in the context of limited supply and based on strong local and international data. "This makes sense for us, knowing that it is a critical time right now with the limited amount of vaccines that we have in the coming weeks, to be able to provide that protection ... to everybody here,? Henry said.

Chief science adviser Mona Nemer told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that British Columbia's plan amounts to a "population-level experiment" and that the data provided so far by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech is based on an interval of three to four weeks between doses.

Henry said the manufacturers structured their clinical trials that way to get the vaccines to market as quickly as possible, but research in BC, Quebec, Israel, and the United Kingdom has shown that first doses are highly effective.

The BC Centre for Disease Control examined the effects of a single dose on long-term care residents and health-care workers and found that it reduced the risk of the virus by up to 90% within two to three weeks, Henry said.

Dr. Danuta Skowronski, a BC Centre for Disease Control epidemiology lead whose work underpinned the province's plan, said Pfizer-BioNTech underestimated the efficacy of its first dose in its submissions to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Skowronski said the company included data from the first two weeks after trial participants received the shot, a time when vaccines typically aren't effective. When she and her colleagues adjusted the data, they found it was 92% effective, similar to the Moderna vaccine.

Canada started vaccinating health care workers and the elderly in long-term homes in December but there's been a shortage of vaccines until now. Many Canadians are not expected to be vaccinated for months. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hopes to vaccinate all Canadians who are eligible by the end of summer.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



East African women traders: 'Celebrating the past, planning for the future'

COVID-19 has hit women disproportionately hard across East Africa, especially those working in the informal sector. Lessons must be learnt to prevent this from happening again....

Viral variants and vaccine nationalism pose two-pronged threat to Covid victory

... ...

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....


Latest News

UN Security Council: 'Deep concern' about Ethiopia's Tigray

The UN Security Council has expressed concern about humanitarian conditions and human rights in Ethiopias Tigray region, marking the councils first collective comment on the conflict that has raged in the region for six months.The statement...

Iraqi military: 3 rockets strike close to Baghdad airport

At least three rockets have hit near Baghdad international airport, the Iraqi military said.A total of eight missiles were fired and three landed near the airport complex late Thursday, the statement said. It did not detail whether the atta...

White House touts EVs, but not backing gasoline-powered phase-out date

The Biden administration wants to spend 174 billion to boost electric vehicles and charging stations but its 2030 climate emissions reduction pledge released on Thursday does not include a firm date to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles.Th...

U.S. weighs anti-graft task force for Central America

The Biden administration is considering creating a task force of officials from the U.S. Justice and State Departments and other agencies to help local prosecutors fight corruption in Central Americas Northern Triangle countries, a senior U...

Give Feedback