Trudeau, Tam say all vaccines are safe and effective after NACI guidelines cause confusion
A day after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) declared that COVID-19 viral vector vaccines like those offered by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are not the “preferred” products, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said sought to reassure Canadians today that all vaccines approved for use in this country are safe and effective.
Speaking to reporters during a COVID-19 briefing today, Trudeau said Canadians should have no qualms about receiving a dose of the AstraZeneca product.
As Canada is in the midst of a third wave of the pandemic, Trudeau said it was prudent for people to be offered the first vaccine to help reduce the number of cases and hospitalizations.
“Make sure you get the shot when it’s your turn. We continue to recommend that everyone get vaccinated as quickly as possible so we can get through this, ”Trudeau said.
“The effects of capturing COVID are far greater and much more deadly, as we’ve seen across the country, than the potential side effects. Let me remind everyone that every vaccine administered in Canada is safe and effective, as assessed by Health Canada.
Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, each received a dose of the AstraZeneca product at an Ottawa pharmacy late last month. He said today that he has no regrets.
NACI, an independent body made up of volunteer experts, said on Monday that Canadians who are less likely to contract COVID-19 might want to wait until an mRNA injection from Pfizer or Moderna is available because these products do not include not the same risk of very rare, but serious, blood clots.
“What we’ve always said is that mRNA vaccines are the vaccine of choice,” said Dr. Shelley Deeks, NACI Vice President.
She said the suggestion that some people might want to wait for another vaccine comes after NACI received more information about the possibility of developing vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) – low platelet count associated with clots blood.
Based on current data, NACI estimates that VITT occurs at a rate of 1 in 100,000 strokes rather than the 1 in 250,000 previously projected.
“Viral vector vaccines are very effective vaccines, but there is a safety signal, a safety risk, and the problem with the safety signal is that, although it is very rare, it is very serious, so individuals must have an informed choice, ”Deeks mentioned.
“When we first made recommendations for COVID vaccines in Canada, we didn’t know the vaccine safety signal. Now there has been a vaccine safety signal and we have changed the recommendations.
WATCH: NACI says Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines are preferred type
Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Officer of Canada, said today she can “sympathize with people who struggle to keep up with the advancement of advice” – as public health officials have since said weeks that Canadians should opt for the first product available to them. .
She said Canadians should do a risk-benefit analysis before rolling up their sleeves for a shot.
In areas where COVID-19 is endemic, such as Alberta and Ontario, it makes sense to go with the vaccine available immediately, she said, because the risk of contracting the virus is high.
In places, like Prince Edward Island, where transmission rates are lower, Canadians might want to wait for another option, she said. She added that Canadians should follow guidelines issued by local public health officials.
“NACI takes into account the data that we collect in real time and evolves the advice based on that,” she said. “As the benefits and risks are assessed, these parameters may change over time.”
Tam said that while current guidelines allow AstraZeneca recipients to get a second dose of the same product, NACI is reviewing research on mixing AstraZeneca with an mRNA injection.
“Watch this space,” she said.