AstraZeneca, EU both claim a win in vaccine delivery tussle

AstraZeneca, EU both claim a win in vaccine delivery tussle

British Columbians who chose to get a first dose of AstraZeneca should not get it for their second dose and instead get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a key federal advisory committee said Thursday.

Ontario said it now has approximately 160,000 doses of AstraZeneca available, with shots offered through pharmacies and some primary care settings.

Lawyers for the European Commission said that they won on "principle", while AstraZeneca highlighted that the court had dismissed E.U. demands over deliveries and acknowledged difficulties the company faced in an "unprecedented situation".

"Mixing an mRNA after a dose of AstraZeneca may give some boost to the immune system, but we don't know whether that translates into whether you're better protected or not".

"It's based on the better treatment option that's available, it has nothing to do with any kind of harm to anyone", says Windsor-Essex County Health Unit medical officer of health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed.

"We still know from the information that we're seeing here in B.C., but also primarily in the United Kingdom, where a lot of AstraZeneca has been used, that vaccine effectiveness is very good for both AstraZeneca and the mRNA vaccines", she said at a Thursday news conference.

But Douglas Weeks, who received his second AstraZeneca shot on June 5, isn't concerned.

Walk-ins for the other two approved vaccines, AstraZeneca and Moderna, will continue.

Nonetheless, pharmacists said many of their customers with AstraZeneca appointments were now unsure of what to do.

"A lot of people are really stressed out about having to make the decision", said Violo, who was unsure if her pharmacy should still carry the vaccine moving forward.

Kyro Maseh, owner of a Pharmasave in Toronto, said he was frustrated over the shifting messages on AstraZeneca and the impact that had on his operations. "And I think people are legitimately confused and frustrated over the constant changes of guidance around the vaccine".

After winning emergency approvals, the vaccine launch ran into supply shortfalls and safety concerns over rare blood clots following vaccination.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the vaccine was recommended for use in people over 60 and those under 60 would now be offered the Pfizer shot.

According to Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan, B.C. received 438,000 doses of AstraZeneca - or just under 10 per cent of the total number of doses delivered across the province.

As of Friday, Saskatchewan still has 9,741 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The province reported 345 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and one death linked to the virus. There are 1,320 active cases of COVID-19 in the community and 131 being treated in hospital, of which 44 are in intensive care.

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