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Manitoba Halts AstraZeneca Vaccine For Those Under 55

March 29, 2021 6:22 PM | News

Coronavirus Vaccine

A health worker holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 to be administered to members of the Italian Army at a vaccination center set up at the military barracks of Cecchignola, in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2020. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP)

Dr. Joss Reimer

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical officer of health and medical lead for the Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force speaks about COVID-19 vaccination initiatives and answers media questions during a COVID-19 live-streamed press conference at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg on Friday, March 5, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — Manitoba is suspending the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in people under 55-years-old.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine task force, says Manitoba is limiting the vaccine’s use to people between the ages of 55 and 64 as more information is being sought around some adverse symptoms in younger people noticed in the United Kingdom.

Reimer says a serious blood clot, one of the possible side effects, could appear four to 20 days after inoculation.

Reimer says Manitoba has given out about 14,000 of 18,000 AstraZeneca doses, which are available through medical clinics and pharmacies.

People under 55 who have booked an appointment to get the AstraZeneca shot will be contacted and asked to cancel.

Reimer said the change is not expected to have a significant effect on the timeline for vaccine distribution at this time.

“This is a pause while we wait for more information to better understand what we are seeing in Europe,” she said Monday.

The pause comes as the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is expected to announce similar recommendations surrounding the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Those people under 55 who have already booked vaccine appointments with their doctor or at a pharmacy will have their booking cancelled, Reimer says.

— With files from The Canadian Press