Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a woman receive her COVID-19 vaccine, during a tour of a vaccination clinic in Montreal on Monday, March 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a woman receive her COVID-19 vaccine, during a tour of a vaccination clinic in Montreal on Monday, March 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a woman receive her COVID-19 vaccine, during a tour of a vaccination clinic in Montreal on Monday, March 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a woman receive her COVID-19 vaccine, during a tour of a vaccination clinic in Montreal on Monday, March 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Trudeau offers reassurance on AstraZeneca safety as European countries suspend use

Prime minister said none of the doses Canada has received are from the batch linked to possible side-effects

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered reassurances on the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Monday as the list of European countries suspending its use due to safety concerns grew.

Germany joined others in Europe pausing their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over reports of blood clots in some recipients, even though European regulators say there’s no evidence the shot is to blame.

Trudeau said Health Canada regulators are constantly analyzing all the available information about vaccines and have guaranteed those approved in Canada are safe for use.

“Health Canada and our experts and scientists have spent an awful lot of time making sure every vaccine approved in Canada is both safe and effective,” he said at a news conference in Montreal.

“Therefore, the very best vaccine for you to take is the first one that is offered to you.”

The prime minister told reporters none of the AstraZeneca doses Canada has received are from the batch linked to possible side-effects reported in Europe.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault told the same news conference that provincial health officials see no risk associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. “All the vaccines that are offered are without risk,” he said.

The European countries’ decision to suspend AstraZeneca’s vaccine comes as Canada’s national vaccine expert panel is expected to update its recommendations on whether use of the vaccine should be expanded.

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization initially recommended that people 65 and over be prioritized for the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which had more evidence of how they work on seniors, rather than AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

The chair of the committee, Dr. Caroline Quach, told The Canadian Press last week it was discussing newer evidence of how the AstraZeneca vaccine worked for seniors in “real-world” use and said an updated statement could be expected soon.

AstraZeneca said on the weekend that a review of 17 million patients who received the shot in Europe and the U.K. shows no elevated risk of blood clotting.

Trudeau was in Montreal to tour a mass vaccination centre and make an economic announcement alongside Legault. He said he was happy to see seniors getting their shots, noting that his mother, Margaret, received her vaccine last week.

He said he wasn’t sure when he would get his own COVID-19 vaccine but would happily take it when his turn comes.

Several provinces were expanding their vaccine rollouts on Monday, including Ontario, which launched its COVID-19 vaccine booking system for those aged 80 and up.

The online booking system went live at 8 a.m., and the site showed more than 8,000 people in the queue for an appointment a few minutes later, with an estimated wait time of about an hour.

In Quebec, the province’s booking site expanded its list of potential vaccination sites to include some 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area, which are expected to begin giving COVID-19 vaccines next week. The province is currently vaccinating people 65 and up in Montreal, and 70 and up elsewhere in the province.

READ MORE: B.C.’s essential workers on hold until late April for AstraZeneca shots

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeauvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Most Read