If second doses started today, Manitobans would get matching COVID-19 vaccine shots: province

WINNIPEG — There is no word on when Manitoba will get another shipment of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government, but the province is not letting that change its distribution plans.

According to a provincial spokesperson, a total of 84,000 AstraZeneca doses have been distributed to doctors and pharmacists in Manitoba and by the last count, 76,000 of those have been administered.

On Tuesday, Alberta public health officials announced that the province will halt the first doses of this viral vector vaccine, and saving the remaining doses it has for second-round shots.

Tuesday also saw Ontario announce plans to pause the rollout and administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the province due to an observed increase in vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), a rare blood clotting disorder.

“Over the last few days, there have been increased reports of VITT, with a rate of 1.7 per 100,000 doses administered,” said Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, during a news conference. “In collaboration with health experts at Public Health Ontario, the Science Advisory Table, and our federal, provincial and territorial partners, we are reviewing the data to consider options for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for second doses and more broadly moving forward.

“Data from the UK points to a much-reduced risk of VITT in second doses of AstraZeneca, and we look forward to providing more guidance in advance of people’s needing to receive their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

At the moment, Manitoba will not be making any changes with regards to AstraZeneca doses.

“At this time, Manitoba’s vaccination rollout will continue as planned,” a provincial spokesperson told CTV Winnipeg in a statement.

“Booking of second dose appointments is expected to start May 22. It is our goal to complete the second dose campaign by the end of July.”

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