Quebec and Ottawa were keen to reassure the population of the safety of AstraZeneca vaccines, after the decision of European countries, such as France and Germany, to suspend their use on Monday.
The Quebec Ministry of Health underlined in the afternoon that a “close surveillance system” as well as an “international watch” had been set up to monitor the vaccine situation.
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Importantly, “the lot that is the subject of the current European investigation was not shipped to Canada”, it was reiterated after a few statements to this effect over the weekend.
“If ever confirmed information leads to believe that AstraZeneca’s vaccine presents a greater risk than another, appropriate action will be taken quickly,” the ministry added.
Because the side effects associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe appear to be the result of only one batch.
Justin Trudeau had underlined the same point earlier in the morning by affirming “that there is no dose of AstraZeneca which came from the same” batches “as those which are worrying in Europe”.
- Listen to the interview of professor in the department of biological sciences at UQAM and expert in virology, Benoit Barbeau with Benoit Dutrizac on QUB Radio:
After Ireland on Sunday, Germany, France and Italy were added on Monday to the list of countries that have put the use of this vaccine on hold due to the risk of harmful effects, such as blood clots. blood. This list is growing day by day and now contains about ten European countries.
In the end, the message from the provincial and federal governments remains the same: AstraZeneca’s vaccine is safe and anyone wishing to be vaccinated should not hesitate.
“The first available information suggests that there is no direct causal link between the administration of the vaccine and some of the coagulation problems listed. For the moment, there is nothing to indicate that these disorders, which are not on the list of side effects of the vaccine, are attributable to the latter, ”raised the Quebec Ministry of Health.
Despite this, a number of people in Quebec who made their appointment to be vaccinated preferred to skip their turn when they learned that the vaccine offered to them was that of AstraZeneca.
It is in the face of growing mistrust of this vaccine that François Legault assured that public health was following up “hour by hour” on the issue.
- Listen to the analysis of Dr. Nathalie Grandvaux, professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the University of Montreal
As several European countries suspend its use, the WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will look into the controversial vaccine case on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
WHO, however, continues to recommend the use of the vaccine. “We don’t want people to panic and, for now, we recommend that countries continue to vaccinate with AstraZeneca,” the WHO chief scientist said on Monday.
For its part, the EMA says the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine always outweigh the risks.
The US federal body responsible for health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has yet to give the green light to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been developed in the UK and Sweden. It is still in the third phase of a clinical trial in the country.
Reopening of the economy within a month?
In addition, the Premier of Quebec mentioned that all people 65 and over could be vaccinated in the next month, which opens the door to reopening the economy.
“It will completely change the picture. It will allow us to open up the economy more, ”declared François Legault.
It is too early to know exactly what flexibilities to expect, but remember that people aged 70 and over represent 91.8% of deaths linked to COVID-19 in Quebec.
Canada is expected to have received a total of 8 million vaccines by the end of March, according to forecasts by the Minister of Supply.
As of today, nearly 750,000 doses have been administered in La Belle Province and 8.8% of Quebecers have received at least one dose of the vaccine according to the INSPQ.