The man’s identity is not being released to protect patient confidentiality, but Alberta Health has reported he is receiving treatment and is recovering after being diagnosed with a case of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“I continue to recommend AstraZeneca for anyone who is 55 and older, and to recommend that all Albertans get vaccinated as soon as they are able. It is the best way to protect your health and the health of those around you,” Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in a statement.
“The Alberta case marks the second cases of VITT out of more than 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca or CoviSHIELD/AstraZeneca that have been administered in Canada to date. This does not change the risk assessment previously communicated to Albertans.”
Early this week, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Quebec health ministry reported the first case in Canada of a person getting a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Hinshaw said statistics gathered from around the world indicate there is approximately one case of a blood clot for every 100,000 to 250,000 doses of vaccine administered.
On Saturday, she noted again Albertans 55 and older who are diagnosed with COVID-19 have a one in 200 chance of dying from the virus, and are “at least 1,500 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than experiencing VITT after getting AstraZeneca.”
“The main benefit this vaccine provides is how it protects against COVID-19,” Hinshaw said on Thursday, adding AstraZeneca’s first dose reduces infection by 60 to 70 per cent and reduces hospitalization from COVID-19 by 80 per cent, including with the B.1.1.7 variant.
On April 7, the European Union’s drug regulator said it found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and a rare blood clotting disorder but recommended that vaccinations continue in adults, saying the benefits of the shot still outweigh risks.
The European Medicines Agency described the clots as “very rare” side effects. It said most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 within two weeks of vaccination — but based on the currently available evidence, it was not able to identify specific risk factors.
This vaccine is currently available to anyone in Alberta between the ages of 55 and 64 through pharmacies and online through AHS.
Hinshaw has urged those who are eligible for AstraZeneca to book their appointment or use the walk-in option.
Starting on Saturday, Alberta also began offering walk-in AstraZeneca vaccinations at 26 pharmacies in Edmonton and Calgary over a five-day period.
AHS also opened two walk-in AstraZeneca clinics at the existing rapid flow clinic at the Edmonton EXPO Centre and at the Southport clinic in Calgary on Saturday.
Currently, 710 pharmacies continue to offer appointments for AstraZeneca vaccine and the Calgary rapid flow clinic at the Telus Convention Centre will continue to offer AstraZeneca by appointment.
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