Health Canada is issuing a warning to Canadians planning on taking the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, warning that it could cause blood clots, Global News reports.
Reports of people having blood clots after taking the AstraZeneca vaccine began to emerge in Europe earlier this month, with a number of countries suspending the vaccine altogether until the cause of the blood clots could be established.
Many of the countries that suspended the vaccine reinstated it shortly afterward.
Four people have reportedly suffered from blood clots after taking the vaccine out of over 20 million who have received it, and no evidence has been provided suggesting that the vaccine caused the blood clots. The European Medicines Agency noted that the number of vaccinated individuals who developed blood clots was not higher than among the general population.
Many health experts believe that the blood clots are a mere coincidence and have nothing to do with the vaccine, noting that clinical trials on the vaccine did not find blood clots as a potential side effect. A recent clinical trial conducted in the United States found no evidence that the vaccine causes blood clots.
While Health Canada is nevertheless releasing a warning concerning the potential risk, the agency still insists that the vaccine is both safe and effective against coronavirus.
However, the AstraZeneca vaccine is now facing scrutiny from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States over concerns that the company's trial data on the efficacy of the vaccine may be incomplete.
"We will look at the complete data package [from the US] sometime in April, and will assess and communicate the results," said Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma. "The bottom line is: that doesn't change recommendations on the AstraZeneca vaccine at this time."
Sharma has stated that the benefits of receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any potential risks, further telling Canadians that side effects to look for after receiving the vaccine include headaches, leg pain, and shortness of breath.
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