Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a woman receive her COVID-19 vaccine, during a tour of a vaccination clinic in Montreal on Monday, March 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a woman receive her COVID-19 vaccine, during a tour of a vaccination clinic in Montreal on Monday, March 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a woman receive her COVID-19 vaccine, during a tour of a vaccination clinic in Montreal on Monday, March 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a woman receive her COVID-19 vaccine, during a tour of a vaccination clinic in Montreal on Monday, March 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Trudeau offers reassurance on AstraZeneca safety as European countries suspend use

Prime minister said none of the doses Canada has received are from the batch linked to possible side-effects

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered reassurances on the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Monday as the list of European countries suspending its use due to safety concerns grew.

Germany joined others in Europe pausing their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over reports of blood clots in some recipients, even though European regulators say there’s no evidence the shot is to blame.

Trudeau said Health Canada regulators are constantly analyzing all the available information about vaccines and have guaranteed those approved in Canada are safe for use.

“Health Canada and our experts and scientists have spent an awful lot of time making sure every vaccine approved in Canada is both safe and effective,” he said at a news conference in Montreal.

“Therefore, the very best vaccine for you to take is the first one that is offered to you.”

The prime minister told reporters none of the AstraZeneca doses Canada has received are from the batch linked to possible side-effects reported in Europe.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault told the same news conference that provincial health officials see no risk associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. “All the vaccines that are offered are without risk,” he said.

The European countries’ decision to suspend AstraZeneca’s vaccine comes as Canada’s national vaccine expert panel is expected to update its recommendations on whether use of the vaccine should be expanded.

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization initially recommended that people 65 and over be prioritized for the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which had more evidence of how they work on seniors, rather than AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

The chair of the committee, Dr. Caroline Quach, told The Canadian Press last week it was discussing newer evidence of how the AstraZeneca vaccine worked for seniors in “real-world” use and said an updated statement could be expected soon.

AstraZeneca said on the weekend that a review of 17 million patients who received the shot in Europe and the U.K. shows no elevated risk of blood clotting.

Trudeau was in Montreal to tour a mass vaccination centre and make an economic announcement alongside Legault. He said he was happy to see seniors getting their shots, noting that his mother, Margaret, received her vaccine last week.

He said he wasn’t sure when he would get his own COVID-19 vaccine but would happily take it when his turn comes.

Several provinces were expanding their vaccine rollouts on Monday, including Ontario, which launched its COVID-19 vaccine booking system for those aged 80 and up.

The online booking system went live at 8 a.m., and the site showed more than 8,000 people in the queue for an appointment a few minutes later, with an estimated wait time of about an hour.

In Quebec, the province’s booking site expanded its list of potential vaccination sites to include some 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area, which are expected to begin giving COVID-19 vaccines next week. The province is currently vaccinating people 65 and up in Montreal, and 70 and up elsewhere in the province.

READ MORE: B.C.’s essential workers on hold until late April for AstraZeneca shots

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

CoronavirusJustin Trudeauvaccines

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

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

Pastor Marco Ste-Marie of Rimbey United Church has spearheaded a new project called ‘Walking Through Rimbey’ to shine a light on various agencies and non-profit organizations. Photo submitted
‘Walking Through Rimbey’ continues to gather steam

Pastor Marco Ste Marie launched the project, aimed at building community connections, earlier this year

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta passes bill to give all workers paid leave to get COVID-19 vaccine shot

Labour Minister Jason Copping says Bill 71 will reduce barriers for Alberta workers to get vaccinated

Alberta completed 18,412 COVID-19 tests, as reported on Wednesday, for a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Highest daily count of 2021 so far: Alberta reports 1,699 COVID-19 cases

Variants now make up 59 per cent of Alberta’s active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Alberta bill would protect health workers, care homes from some COVID-19 lawsuits

The bill proposes exempting a range of workers, including doctors, pharmacists and care-home operators, from being sued over COVID-19 unless it was for gross negligence

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Alberta government aiming to boost financial literacy among students

Government providing grants to organizations who will help design financial literacy programming

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

Most Read