Canada Recommends Not Using AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines in People 55 and Younger

The country’s federal health agency decided upon this action based on the small number of vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) incidents in Europe, which are being investigated.

Health Canada, the country’s federal health agency, announced today it is not recommending the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to be administered in its citizens for anyone 55 years old and younger. This decision was based on a small amount of VIPIT incidents that occurred in Europe.

This recommendation comes specifically from the country’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

“Given the rare but severe VIPIT events reported in Europe, mainly in women under 55 years of age, and a plausible causal mechanistic explanation, NACI has evaluated the benefit/risk ratio comparing this adverse event to the risk of COVID-19 deaths for individuals in Canada in various age strata and considering the supply of alternate COVID-19 vaccines available in Canada (mRNA vaccines),” NACI wrote. “While awaiting the results from Health Canada inquiries and the overall risk assessment, NACI recommends immediately pausing the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in all individuals less than 55 years of age in Canada.”

The country said it is on track to vaccinate its population with the mRNA vaccines by the fall of 2021. Health Canada said the AstraZeneca vaccines were expected to be used in a small capacity, and they report this will not significantly delay COVID-19 vaccines in the country.