Canada to issue new guidelines on AstraZeneca vaccine for seniors

Canadian health officials say they will issue new advice on whether the AstraZeneca vaccine is appropriate for individuals over 65 years.

The announcement comes amid controversy surrounding the vaccine in some European countries, which have temporarily suspended inoculation using the vaccine.

Head of Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) Caroline Quach-Thanh revealed that the adjustment in guidelines comes as new information has been made available.

“So you have to understand that because the data are evolving, at the point where we issued our recommendation, these new studies weren’t available yet,” Quach-Thanh said.

The committee, which serves to advise the government on the use of approved vaccines on Canadians, originally did not recommend the AstraZeneca shot for people 65 years of age or older.

“But the two new effectiveness papers are actually quite comforting in the effectiveness of that vaccine for the elderly population in preventing complications and death,” Quach-Thanh added.

Quebec only recently began offering the vaccine to those 65 and older after an expert panel in the province recommended it be administered to everyone to prevent hospitalisations.

Two hundred thousand doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Canada last week.

According to officials, the vaccines exported to Canada are a different batch than the ones being used in Europe.