Alberta stops giving first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta has stopped administering first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement Tuesday, Alberta Health spokesperson Tom McMillan said since there are no known future shipments of AstraZeneca at this time, a determination was made to utilize the remaining supply as second doses.

Read more: Alberta ‘temporarily pausing’ use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for those under 55

“Unlike with AstraZeneca, Alberta is receiving the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in large and consistent shipments,” McMillan said. “More than 236,000 doses are arriving this week alone.”

“Alberta has administered approximately 255,00 first doses of AstraZeneca and 2,200 second doses. The remaining supply of about 8,400 doses will be used as second doses.”

Click to play video: 'Data around use of AstraZeneca needs to be viewed in context of circumstance, experts say' Data around use of AstraZeneca needs to be viewed in context of circumstance, experts say

Data around use of AstraZeneca needs to be viewed in context of circumstance, experts say

Use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been under added scrutiny in recent weeks, particularly after Canada’s panel of vaccine experts recommended that people who aren’t at a high risk of COVID-19 may want to wait to get a dose of BioNTech or Moderna.

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Read more: COVID-19: Ontario likely to mix 1st, 2nd vaccine doses amid lack of AstraZeneca supply

When asked if the move was at least in part due to concerns over rare blood clots linked to AstraZeneca, McMillan replied reiterated the decision was “based on the fact that we are receiving no known future shipments of AstraZeneca at this time but are receiving large quantities of mRNA vaccines.”

“We will continue to monitor the emerging research, and keep Albertans informed in the weeks ahead,” McMillan added, saying the province will continue to adapt depending on supply and emerging research.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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