No evidence to show NACI caused vaccine hesitation: Hajdu


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OTTAWA – Federal Health Minister says all indications show Canadians are not shy about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, even after what some have called confused and contradictory advice from a panel of experts in immunization.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period broadcast on Sunday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said there was no evidence that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) had caused any hesitation in l ‘regard to the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after repeated warnings about the rare case of blood. clots after inoculation.

“There is no evidence that this has contributed to the reluctance, what we have seen in the polls – a variety of different types of polls – is that in fact Canadians are more eager than ever to be. get vaccinated, ”she said.

In early May, NACI said mRNA vaccines like those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are “preferred” and that if the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low, it could “wait” to receive this type as opposed to a viral vector vaccine. .

They had previously set the recommended age at 55 and over, but lowered it later to 30 and over.

Meanwhile, Health Canada maintains that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for anyone over the age of 18, and politicians say Canadians should be offered the first vaccine.

On mixed messaging, Hajdu says he didn’t show any hesitation.

“We are seeing 88 percent say that they have been immunized with their first dose or that they plan to be vaccinated as soon as it becomes available for their particular category and that is great news. So I will reiterate that things are changing, that things are changing as we learn more about these new vaccines and the virus, ”she said.

According to an Angus Reid investigation As of May 17, while 53 percent of adults say they received their first dose and 29 percent say they would receive one as soon as possible, only 35 percent say they are comfortable with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Several provinces have halted the administration of a second dose of the vaccine citing problems with blood clots and supply.

Hajdu wrote a letter to his provincial counterparts last week urging them not to waste any remaining doses that will expire at the end of May, saying offering people a second dose would help the company reopen faster.

During CTV’s question period, she said she had offered to help the provinces get the doses to where they were needed.

“I have been talking about this with my colleagues, the health ministers for some time and of course I sent a letter [last] week to them to reiterate our support to be able to move them to provinces that may be able to administer second doses for example, and this offer continues to be valid, ”she said.

“I hope we will do our best to get these doses to the arms.”

In Canada, approximately 2.1 million people have received a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and three deaths associated with blood clots have been reported.

NACI also updated its guidelines on the recommended length of time between two doses on Friday, now suggesting that second injections should be offered “as soon as possible.”

“With the increase in the supply of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, second doses should be offered as soon as possible, with priority given to those most at risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 after or in same time as the first doses for all other eligible populations, ”NACI said in its latest version.

With a file from Christy Somos of CTV News.

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