Multiple provinces are suspending their use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in younger patients. The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations is recommending against administering the shot in anyone under the age of 55. However, the vaccine regulators are not pulling AstraZeneca’s approval in Canada, although the committee says regulatory changes could still be made. Health Canada is demanding the drugmaker do a detailed study on the risks and benefits of its COVID-19 vaccine across multiple age groups following additional reports of European patients developing blood clots after being vaccinated.
Ontario Pauses AstraZeneca:
Ontario’s top doctor says the province will pause use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 55 years old or younger. The decision comes after the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations recommended against using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the age group. Ontario’s chief medical officer says the province has not given that vaccine to anyone under 60. Dr. David Williams says the province will await further guidance from the federal government.
Here is yesterday’s provincial technical briefing:
The Health Minister Took The AstraZeneca Shot Yesterday to Help Prove It’s Safe:
Health Minister Christine Elliot received her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday at a Toronto pharmacy in an effort to combat vaccine hesitancy. Elliot says some people have expressed concern about the vaccine or a preference to receive the shot from their own family doctor — but the shots are safe. She made the comments before Health Canada recommended that the vaccine not be used for those younger than 55. The provinces will make their own recommendations but PEI and Quebec have already suspended use of the vaccine for younger residents and Premier Doug Ford says his government has been in discussions with the federal government.
Premier Ford’s News Conference:
Canada Approaching 1 Million COVID-19 Cases:
Updated data on Canada’s COVID-19 file has the number of confirmed cases across the country closing in on 972,000. There were nearly 4,600 new cases reported Monday. All three territories reported no new cases Monday, as did Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. New Brunswick was the only Atlantic province to report any new cases Monday, with 11.
Middlesex-London Is Now in the Red Zone:
The Middlesex-London Public Health Region is the latest in the province to see tighter COVID-19 restrictions due to rising cases, including variants of concern. The province moved them into the red zone as of midnight. It says the decision was made at the request of the local medical officer of health after the region’s case rate increased by 86.9 per cent over the past week — to 64.4 cases per 100,000 people.
Effective March 30 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario is moving @MLHealthUnit into the Red-Control level of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework due to the concerning trends in public health indicators in the region. https://t.co/r9RjWiSeTB pic.twitter.com/8R1lI9AGY6
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 29, 2021
BC Imposes New Restrictions:
BC’s provincial health officer says there has been an exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in the province, so she is imposing a three-week circuit breaker on some activities. Dr. Bonnie Henry says there will be no indoor dining or activity at fitness centres, and the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort will be closed as of midnight until April 19th. She has also reversed last week’s easing of restrictions on indoor religious services. In the last three days, BC has recorded more than 2,500 COVID-19 cases, which Premier John Horgan says is unacceptably high.
Comic-Con Will Remain Virtual But A Live Event Will Happen In November:
Some big news for comic fans. Organizers say while San Diego Comic-Con will remain virtual for a second-straight year between July 23rd and 25th, but there will be a smaller scale event in November over the US Thanksgiving weekend. Comic-Con Special Edition will be the convention’s first in-person convention since 2019, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event online. Comic-Con normally attracts more than 135,000 people — often elaborately costumed — and is estimated to generate more than $147-million dollars annually for the local economy.
There are 2,094 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario yesterday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 618 of those new cases were in Toronto. She also said there were 368 new cases in Peel Region, 277 in York Region, 132 in Ottawa and 104 in Durham Region. More than 50,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Ontario in the 24-hour period.
Ontario is reporting 2,094 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 39,500 tests completed. Locally there are 618 new cases in Toronto, 368 in Peel, 277 in York Region, 132 in Ottawa and 104 in Durham
As of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, 2,031,735 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 29, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Waterloo Public Health announced just 39 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, along with a new death. It was a woman in her 80’s. The death toll is now at 242. Hospitalizations increased by three. There are now 24 people in hospital. Six are in intensive care. The number of active cases is down by two, to 299.
Public Health of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph announced 61 new cases yesterday from the weekend. More than half of those were in Guelph. 15 were in Dufferin. The number of active cases increased to 149, which is eighteen more than on Friday. There are still just 5 people hospitalized with 2 in the ICU. The local death toll is at 106.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Christine Elliott via Twitter