Canadian health authorities are keeping a watchful eye on European investigations of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of blood clots following inoculations, but say there is no evidence they were caused by the vaccine.
At least nine European countries are pausing their use of AstraZeneca’s doses — some entirely, and others only on specific batches — pending further investigation of the clots.
The European Medicines Agency is probing the issue but says 30 blood clots in more than five million patients who received the vaccine is not out of step with the normal rate of blood clots in the general population.
Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease doctor at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, says that Health Canada is constantly reviewing data on vaccines and it is a normal part of the post-approval process to see these types of investigations occur.
He says he will give the vaccine as planned to his patients unless Health Canada changes its current decision that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
Canada’s first 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in provinces this week, but they were made in India, not in the same European facilities where the doses in question were produced.