Anand reminds Canadians that Trudeau, O'Toole, Singh all received AstraZeneca
OTTAWA -- In an effort to restore public confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine after news that Ontario is pausing the first dose of the drug amid rare blood-clotting concerns, the federal procurement minister listed off a handful of political leaders who have received the shot.
“The leaders of the political parties, Jagmeet Singh, Erin O’Toole, and our prime minister have all had AstraZeneca, so they may not be able to agree on policy, but they certainly have agreed AstraZeneca is a safe and effective vaccine to take,” said Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand in an interview on CTV News Channel’s Power Play on Tuesday.
Anand said the government will continue to accept its procured AstraZeneca shipments as Health Canada has approved it as safe and effective.
In total, Canada is expecting to receive 23.9 million AstraZeneca doses. Twenty million will come from the U.S., while another two million will come from the Serum Institute in India, and 1.9 million will be sent through the COVAX program.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the decision to halt the first dose of the vaccine was done out of an abundance of caution.
“It is not that the risk for individuals has gone up extensively at this time, but because it is sometimes severe we want to be cautious and say ‘let's pause it’ while we look at the data and information,” he said.
As of April 19, the AstraZeneca vaccine was made available to those 40 and older at vaccination locations across the province. Health Canada has approved it for use for those 18 and older and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended it for use in those 30 and older.
Overall, vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VIITT, is estimated to occur in one in every 100,000 to one in every 250,000 people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In a separate interview on CTV’s Power Play, Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner weighed in on Anand’s interview, stating “talking points aren’t going to cut it and what we just heard is not going to alleviate any of the questions or concerns Canadians might have tonight.”
NDP health critic Don Davies said it’s time vaccine advice be streamlined into one avenue to prevent hesitancy and confusion.
“First of all, I got the AstraZeneca shot too so I’ve got these questions as well. I think it’s important to note that Canadians are really tired and they’re hurt,” he said. “I’d like to see the federal government, NACI, and Health Canada speak with one voice, we can’t have any more of these contradictions and confusion.”
With a file from CTV News' Rachel Aiello