(Ottawa) The first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are due to arrive in Canada on Wednesday, but there is still some confusion over who should receive them.
Canada will receive 500,000 doses of the vaccine – the third approved for use in Canada – from the Serum Institute in India.
But questions remain about who the vaccine is, as its use is the subject of conflicting guidelines.
Health Canada last week authorized its use for all Canadian adults, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended Tuesday that it not be given to people age 65 or older.
The panel says there is limited data from clinical trials on the effectiveness of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in older adults and recommends that they give priority to the other two vaccines – those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – already approved for use in Canada.
Health Canada and the committee indicate that no problems have been identified in clinical studies or among the millions of elderly people who have received the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries.
DReturn Supriya Sharma, the chief medical advisor at the Canadian Department of Health, insists that there is no real contradiction between what her management and the advisory committee say: they both agree that where possible it is better to give older vaccinations from Pfizer or Moderna, which have been shown to be clinical trials. More effective in protecting the elderly from COVID-19.
Having said that, Dr.Return Sharma notes that elderly people shouldn’t wait for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if they can get AstraZeneca sooner.
She says concrete evidence shows that the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective in preventing severe cases of COVID-19, hospitalization and death.
Some provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, are planning to follow the advisory committee’s advice and use the AstraZeneca vaccine on young people who work in basic services on the front lines or in high-risk settings like prisons.
Other provinces, including Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, are still studying the issue.
In addition to the expected delivery of AstraZeneca doses on Wednesday, Canada is also expected to receive 444,600 doses of Pfizer vaccine this week.
With AstraZeneca added to the Canadian vaccine arsenal, the country is on track to receive a total of 6.5 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the month – half a million more than originally anticipated.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to provide an update on the deployment of the vaccine on Wednesday, during a press conference.
It is also expected to announce significant new funding for research at dozens of universities across the country. The research to be funded will not necessarily be linked to a pandemic.
The funding comes on top of the nearly $ 1 billion Trudeau government has invested in research since COVID-19 began sweeping the country a year ago, in an effort to allow researchers to continue working throughout the pandemic on all kinds of projects the government hopes. It will ultimately contribute to the economic recovery.
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