Ontario reports first confirmed case of blood clotting linked to AstraZeneca vaccine

TORONTO — A man in his 60s is the first confirmed person in Ontario to be diagnosed with blood clotting linked to the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, the province has announced.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams made the announcement in a news release issued on Friday, saying the man has received treatment and is now recovering at home.

“We have confirmed the first case of the rare blood clotting condition known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) in Ontario,” Williams said in the statement.

“While these serious reactions remain extremely rare, we have a robust process in place to monitor for any adverse events and have taken steps to ensure that these events are identified and treated as quickly as possible.”

Instances of blood clotting linked to the vaccine have been reported around the world and in other parts of Canada, but experts say the instances are rare.

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) did advise provinces to pause the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in people under the age of 55 because of the safety concerns.

However, Health Canada has maintained that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19, and the agency approved the use of the vaccine for people 18 years old and over.

Premier Doug Ford, Minister Elliott and Toronto Mayor John Tory all received their first dose of the AstraZeneca shots on camera recently in order to dispel concerns over the vaccine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, are scheduled to receive their first doses of the vaccine in the afternoon on Friday.

Earlier this week, the Ontario government began offering the vaccine to people 40 years old and over in pharmacies and primary care settings.

Williams reiterated in his statement on Friday that all COVID-19 vaccines administered in Canada are safe and prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death related to the deadly disease.

“This case marks the fourth case of VITT out of more than 1.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that have been administered in Canada to date,” he said.

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