The Philippine Star
Canada won’t restrict AZ jab
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.