Updated recommendations for AstraZeneca and COVIDSHIELD vaccines

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, announced today that we are temporarily suspending the use of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine in people under the age of 55. This is a precautionary measure, as the vaccine may be associated with rare cases of blood clots, totalling less than 30 cases worldwide. More than 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII Covishield vaccines have been administered in Canada; to date, no cases of the rare blood clotting adverse events have been reported. The cases identified in Europe have been primarily in women under the age of 55 years, although cases in men have also been reported; they have mostly occurred between four and 20 days after receipt of vaccine.

If you received this vaccine within the past three weeks, and experience any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. The condition is treatable.

  • prolonged headache
  • blurred vision
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • leg swelling
  • persistent abdominal pain
  • abnormal bruising or bleeding

Further information on signs and symptoms of this adverse event and treatment can be found on Health Canada’s website

Continuing with the parallel track of vaccinations: age-based cohorts and individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable


The provincial COVID-19 Immunization Program continues on schedule, and is now focused on older people and those with health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe illness.

As of today, non-Indigenous seniors aged 73 and older and living in urban areas of the VCH region are invited to call into the public call centre to book an appointment. Those aged 70 and over living in the Sea to Sky, Sunshine Coast, or Powell River areas can continue to book their appointments via phone. Indigenous seniors and Elders 55 years and over are also invited to call in, as are individuals who have received letters about their eligibility due to a complex health condition

Updated recommendations for AstraZeneca and COVIDSHIELD vaccines


Today a change has been announced in the use of AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD vaccines in Canada. Vaccines go through rigorous trials before approval and ongoing surveillance once the vaccine is in use in the population. When safety surveillance detects a signal, an investigation is initiated. At this time, a safety signal has been identified in Europe following use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

While the investigation into these reports continues, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is recommending that the AstraZeneca and COVIDSHIELD vaccines not be offered to those less than 55 years of age in Canada. For more information, please see the latest Physicians Update.

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