OTTAWA—Provinces have suspended the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for people under age 55 after a federal advisory committee recommended against injecting it into younger adults due to reports of "rare" blood clotting events, especially in women in Europe. After P.E.I., Manitoba and Quebec announced they would pause AstraZeneca vaccinations except for older Canadians, Health Canada hastily called a news conference to say the federal regulator still believes the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing serious illness and death, especially in older Canadians. That group is at higher risk for catching COVID-19, getting very ill — including developing blood clots — and dying, said Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser. Sharma said regulators will adjust the official authorization to require the company to collect and report more data, and will rely on reports of the vaccine's ongoing widespread use in the U.K. and other parts of the world to make any further decisions. For now, the formal authorization for AstraZeneca in Canadians over 18 — which was issued barely a month ago — has not changed. "There really is still a use for the vaccine," said Sharma. But experts at the arm's-length National Advisory Committee on Immunization… Read full this story
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