Several vials of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ont., on Monday March 15, 2021. The centre will be used as an immunization clinic for the Napanee area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Several vials of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ont., on Monday March 15, 2021. The centre will be used as an immunization clinic for the Napanee area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

NACI says AstraZeneca vaccine now recommended for use on seniors

Still NACI says if there is a choice, the mRNA vaccines should be prioritized for use on seniors

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says there is now enough “real-world evidence” to show the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and effective for seniors.

The decision reverses a recommendation made by the body on March 1, when the panel of vaccine experts said AstraZeneca hadn’t included enough people over the age of 65 in its clinical trials.

NACI chair Dr. Caroline Quach said Tuesday that two studies of patients who received the vaccine in the United Kingdom have been released since then and show the AstraZeneca vaccine is both safe and effective for seniors, particularly against severe disease and hospitalization.

She says while the clinical trial data show the two mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were more effective than AstraZeneca’s, the data on the vaccines since they began being widely used shows similar levels of effectiveness.

Still NACI says if there is a choice, the mRNA vaccines should be prioritized for use on seniors, but they no longer recommend against using AstraZeneca for anyone over the age of 65.

Several European countries also reversed a recommendation against using it on seniors, including France, Germany and Italy.

Many experts say that despite some differences among the vaccines available, all that have been approved are safe and effective against COVID-19 and the best one to get is the first one you’re offered.

A new poll suggests more Canadians are heeding that advice.

Fifty-one per cent of respondents to the online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they will take whichever of the four COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada.

One-quarter said they would be willing to wait to get a shot they prefer.

Few provinces are offering a choice at the moment, though Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Monday he felt people should be offered one.

Quach also said Tuesday the panel is continually studying new reports and studies on the vaccines, including recent reports in Europe about blood clots.

Health Canada’s Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said last week there is no biological evidence that would show how the vaccine could cause blood clots. The company said a study of more than 17 million patients who received the vaccine did not identify any blood clots that were caused by the vaccine, and Thrombosis Canada also issued a statement saying the vaccine was safe.

Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said concerns about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine don’t seem to be on Canadians’ minds.

“For now, there’s no real major issue exactly (with the AstraZeneca vaccine), but could it in light of what we’ve seen over the past couple of days? I don’t know,” Bourque said.

The online poll of 1,512 adult Canadians was carried out March 12 to 14 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based surveys are not considered random samples.

The poll also found that 41 per cent of respondents say they believe the worst of the COVID-19 crisis is behind us, while 25 per cent say we are now in the worst period.

Bourque said Canadians seem to feel that we’re rounding the corner as vaccination campaigns are accelerate across the country.

READ MORE: Trudeau offers reassurance on AstraZeneca safety as European countries suspend use

Mia Rabson and Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusSeniorsvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

The Creston Valley Hospital's chief of staff squashed any rumours about temporary seasonal workers spreading COVID-19 around town on Aug. 6. Aaron Hemens - Creston Valley Advance
Five active cases of COVID-19 in Creston

There has been a total of 47 cases in the community since January 2020

A new park is under development for the Lower Kootenay Band. Ken White, facility and operations manager, holds up the draft plans with Nasukin Jason Louie on the construction site. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Lower Kootenay Band develops plan for new memorial park

The new Kulilu Garden will serve as a memorial for children who died from polio and tuberculosis in the 1930s and 40s

Tala MacDonald, a 17-year-old student at Mount Sentinel Secondary who is also a volunteer firefighter, has won the $100,000 Loran Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
West Kootenay student wins $100K scholarship

Tala MacDonald is one of 30 Canadians to receive the Loran Scholarship

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. health minister says delay in Moderna vaccine ‘disappointing’

‘The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame,’ Adrian Dix said Friday

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)
B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks games against Leafs postponed as team returns from COVID-19

The team has had 11 games postponed since an outbreak late last month

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Island woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

Becomes first person in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Most Read