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

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Kaslo mushroom farmer given green light for unique project

Robin Mercy will plant mushrooms in the Kaslo Community Forest

The Kootenay Lake ferry terminals will receive a number of upgrades this year. File photo
Kootenay Lake ferry terminals to receive upgrades

The transportation ministry announced the $5.5-million project Thursday

Red dresses hang in the trees outside Nelson City Hall to remind us about missing and murdered Indigenous women. The REDress Project, created by the Winnipeg Métis artist Jaime Black, also exists as an exhibit in the Touchstones gallery, running until May 29. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Vogue highlights red dress installation in Nelson

The project by artist Jamie Black was featured in the fashion magazine

Castlegar byelection candidates participated in an online forum April 7. L-R, top: Heather Fancy, moderator Suzanne Lehbauer, Gord Lamont, Gordon Zaitsoff. Middle: Florio Vassilakakis, Brian Bogle, Lawrence Chernoff, Kirk Duff. Bottom: Sandy Bojechko, Shirley Falstead
VIDEO: Castlegar candidates share views at forum

Byelection forum hosted by Castlegar Chamber of Commerce

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Alastair Grant
Flags drop, bells toll as Canadians remember special relationship with Prince Philip

‘He was often portrayed as a brisk or brusque, rough character… but it’s that other side of him, the caring individual who spent time with people and asked questions and showed compassion’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

A large illuminated heart was installed on the roof of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital May 1, 2020. (VJH Foundation photo)
Three deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreak in Vernon hospital

Interior Health reports two additional deaths at VJH

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

Most Read