COVID-19: Health Canada responds to blood-clotting cases potentially linked to AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines
Today (April 13) Health Canada responded to developments arising from the use of two vaccines.
Health Canada issues statement on Johnson & Johnson vaccine
After federal regulators in the United States recommended a “pause” in use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, Health Canada has issued a statement saying agency is following developments “closely”.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said in a joint statement that officials were investigating six cases of “rare and severe” blood clots that occurred in women between 18 and 48 six-to-13 days after they had received the Janssen-made vaccine.
“HC is following this issue closely and is working with the manufacturer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other international regulators,” the federal agency said in a tweet. “Health Canada has asked Janssen to provide information on any cases of these rare blood clotting events.”
Health Canada approved the vaccine for usage on March 5, but no shipments have arrived. As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered in the United States.
First case of blood clots following AstraZeneca vaccine reported in Canada
Public health officials in Ottawa have received the first report of a person living in Canada who has experienced blood clots after receiving a shot of the COVIDSHIELD vaccine—the Serum Institute of India version of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
In a statement, the Public Health Agency of Canada said the person experienced “a very rare adverse event involving blood clots with low platelets”.
The person is now at home recovering, the agency added.
“Reports of blood clots with low platelets in people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are very rare and the report of this case shows that Canada’s vaccine safety monitoring system works,” the statement continued. “Since these rare adverse events were first reported in early March 2021 in Europe, Health Canada has been working with international regulators to review data and evidence as it becomes available.”
Last month, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended to the provinces that the use of AstraZeneca vaccines be limited to people age 55 following very rare instances of blood clots in immunized patients—primarily young women.
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout advances in Canada, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will continue to monitor the use of all COVID-19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns,” Health Canada said in a statement. “Based on all of the evidence available internationally to-date, Health Canada continues to consider that the benefits of the AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD vaccines to protect against COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks.”