The Philippine Star

Canada won’t restrict AZ jab

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s health ministry said on Wednesday it would not restrict the use of AstraZenec­a Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine after a review showed the benefits outweighed the very rare risk of blood clots.

A separate advisory council had earlier recommende­d Canada stop offering the vaccine to people under 55. The panel is now reviewing that advice, the health ministry said in a statement.

Denmark on Wednesday became the first country to stop using the vaccine altogether over a potential link to the rare blood clots. Other nations have imposed limits on its use.

But Health Canada, the federal health ministry, said in a statement that a review of data from Europe, Britain and AstraZenec­a had not identified specific risk factors.

“Therefore, Health Canada is not restrictin­g the use of the vaccine in any specific population­s at this time. The potential risk of these events is very rare, and the benefits of the vaccine in protecting against COVID-19 outweigh its potential risks,” it said.

Canada on Tuesday said it had recorded its first case of blood clotting with low platelets after someone received the AstraZenec­a shot. The patient in question, a woman from Quebec, is recovering.

COVID-19 cases are surging in Canada with the country reporting a near-record number of new cases recently.

Meanwhile, in India, the daily coronaviru­s caseload has doubled in ten days, with more than 200,000 new infections logged yesterday as authoritie­s grapple with shortages of vaccines, treatments and hospital beds.

Having let its guard down with mass religious festivals, political rallies and crowds at cricket matches, India is experienci­ng a huge second wave, with almost two million fresh infections this month alone.

This week, it overtook Brazil to become the country with the second-highest number of cases worldwide.

In the past day, it also recorded over a thousand deaths, health ministry data showed, taking its total to 175,000, although on a per capita basis India is far behind many other countries.

After a lockdown a year ago caused widespread misery and one of the sharpest downturns of any major economy, the central government is desperate to avoid a hugely unpopular second shutdown.

But many states are tightening the screws, in particular Maharashtr­a and its capital Mumbai, which this week introduced tougher restrictio­ns for its 125 million people.

This has prompted many migrant workers to flee Mumbai and other cities in the state, in scenes reminiscen­t of the exodus from Indian towns and cities a year ago when the government halted all activity almost overnight.

Hospitals around India are now struggling to cope, running short of beds, oxygen and coronaviru­s medicines like remdesivir.

 ?? REUTERS ?? A teacher holds a class on the beach in southern Spain on Sunday. Students of the Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente school participat­e in a project known as ‘Fresh Air’ which aims to use better air quality for children during the coronaviru­s pandemic in Spain.
REUTERS A teacher holds a class on the beach in southern Spain on Sunday. Students of the Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente school participat­e in a project known as ‘Fresh Air’ which aims to use better air quality for children during the coronaviru­s pandemic in Spain.

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