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Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic - Richmond News

Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic - Richmond News
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OTTAWA — Amid a flurry of fear and frustration over new advice from Canada s national vaccine advisers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians Tuesday if they want this pandemic to end, they still need to get vaccinated as soon as they can.

May 4, 2021 2:25 PM

By: Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Amid a flurry of fear and frustration over new advice from Canada s national vaccine advisers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians Tuesday if they want this pandemic to end, they still need to get vaccinated as soon as they can.

"The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you," he said in question period. "It is how we get through this."

That is the same advice federal and provincial health officials have been giving Canadians since the first vaccines were approved in December. But it is in direct contrast to advice given Monday by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

NACI said the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are "preferred" because they don t carry the remote risk of a new blood-clotting syndrome. 

The 16-member panel of doctors and other vaccine experts said that Canadians who aren t at high risk of COVID-19 may choose to turn down the offer of Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson and wait until they can get an mRNA vaccine.

They came to that conclusion after looking at a risk-benefit analysis comparing the likelihood of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia or VITT, which is currently believed to be between one in 100,000 and one in 250,000, and the risk of COVID-19 among different age groups and different levels of the virus.

Seven cases of VITT have been confirmed in Canada out of 1.7 million people who received AstraZeneca. One of the cases was fatal.

NACI said Canadians under 30 shouldn t be offered AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson at all, because their potential risk of contracting VITT outweighs their risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

NACI s advice did not land well among some politicians or medical professionals this week. 

New Brunswick Education Minister Dominic Cardy lumped NACI in with "anti-maskers" who are undermining the pandemic response.

"If a vaccine is approved by Public Health Canada ... take that shot," he said. "Ignore NACI, ignore anti-maskers, ignore the people undermining faith in science and do your part for New Brunswick."

The Canadian Pharmacists Association, whose members are handling the injections of AstraZeneca in much of Canada, said NACI s words were "disappointing" and could fuel vaccine hesitancy.

"I m worried," said Phil Emberley, the association s acting director of professional affairs. "We need to get a lot of Canadians immunized in order to get over this pandemic."

Emergency physician Dr. Brian Goldman said on Twitter Canadians should not be "choosy" about which vaccine they get.
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