Canadian News May 22, 2021 7:07 PM EST

Ontario to resume use of AstraZeneca for second dose only

Ontario has decided to resume giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to adults over the age of 40 who have received the first dose.

Ontario to resume use of AstraZeneca for second dose only
Brendan Boucher Ottawa, ON
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Ontario has decided to resume giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to adults over the age of 40 who have received the first dose.

Ontario has decided to complete the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for adults aged 40 and over who received the first dose earlier in the spring. Ontario says that nearly one million adults got the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine between March 10 and May 11, when it was discontinued.

The vaccine was discontinued for concerns of rare blood clots, which also led to many European countries stopping distribution and the Food and Drug Administration still not approving the vaccine for use in the United States.

Officials say the blood clot issue is much rarer in the second dose than in the first, about one in 600,000. Ontario says it will only give the AstraZeneca vaccine as a second dose when informed consent is obtained from the patient.

Canada has now passed the United States in first doses administered; however, the country only has 3 percent of the population fully vaccinated. Canada has relied mainly on Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to start using the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine delayed after discovering that some of the doses came from the plant where the FDA found manufacturing violations.

Ontario has 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine set to expire by the end of May, and it hopes to use them before that. Most experts expect most adults to get their second dose of the vaccine in June or July.

Ontario is set to begin reopening as cases continue to fall and vaccination rates continue to rise. Ontario has opened outdoor recreation and dining Saturday and will continue to reopen with the next significant date being June 2.

The federal government has also announced it will extend the travel ban on incoming flights from India and Pakistan as those countries have been a significant source of imported COVID-19 infections.

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