European Union and AstraZeneca both claim victory after COVID-19 vaccine fight

James Marshall
June 19, 2021

The Ministry of Health says Fiji maintains its stance to use the AstraZeneca vaccine on people ages 18 and above.

The cancellations flooded in after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization changed its recommendation on Thursday for people who got AstraZeneca as a first shot, saying it was better if they got the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines as a second dose.

In Windsor-Essex, more than 37,000 people received their first dose of AstraZeneca before it stopped being offered as a first dose.

Saskatchewan will continue to administer second doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, despite the National Advisory Council on Immunization's (NACI) latest recommendation for provinces to stop giving it as a booster shot.

So far, AstraZeneca has shipped more than 70 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Europe. The company is the second-largest pandemic vaccine supplier to the European Union, behind Pfizer, which so far has provided 233 million doses of its vaccine compared to AstraZeneca's 66 million.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association said the situation had many of its members anxious their remaining stock of AstraZeneca could end up going to waste, despite the province maintaining that residents could still opt for that vaccine if desired.

NACI also recommended that an mRNA vaccine is preferred as a first dose unless one is inaccessible or there is a contraindication, for example, an allergy to an mRNA vaccine or its components.

"Mixing an mRNA after a dose of AstraZeneca may give some boost to the immune system, but we don't know whether that translates into whether you're better protected or not".

But some continue to share that they are comfortable getting two doses of AstraZeneca.

Twenty per cent of B.C.'s adult population is now fully immunized, while 74.5 per cent of people aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine.

After a sluggish start earlier in the year, Canada has sharply increased its administration of Covid-19 vaccines in recent months.

The court ordered AstraZeneca to deliver a total of 80.2 million doses to the European Union from the time the contract was agreed up until September 27.

The donation won't cost Canada anything, and will be on top of the 44 million doses Canada has purchased directly from Moderna.

As of Friday, Saskatchewan still has 9,741 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The World Health Organization has made repeated pleas for wealthier countries to share more doses with developing countries, some of whom have vaccinated very few people at all. Its contract with the Commission foresaw an initial 300 million doses being distributed, with an option for another 100 million, but the speed of deliveries was far slower than the company originally thought. Weeks said, noting he took what was offered at the time.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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