A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Canadian doctors say getting COVID-19 poses greater risk of blood clots than the vaccine

Clots occurred at a rate between 1 in 250,000 to in 500,000 people who received the vaccine

The national advocacy group for patients with blood-clot disorders says there is a greater risk of getting blood clots from COVID-19 than there is from the vaccine.

Thrombosis Canada issued an updated statement on the risk of blood clots late Thursday, after the European Medicines Agency released its final report on the risk of blood clots after getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The agency says there is no evidence of increased risk of blood clots from the vaccine, but added there is still not enough evidence to say if the vaccine played a role in a small number of clots in the vein that drains blood from the brain.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said further analysis is ongoing in Canada and around the world.

“Overall, the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and protecting Canadians from COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks,” she said.

Thrombosis Canada, whose board is made up of physicians specializing in blood clots, says the incidence of those clots, known as cerebral sinus vein thrombosis, occurred at a rate between one in 250,000 and one in 500,000 people who received the vaccine.

By comparison, they say blood clots occurred in about one in 20 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and about one in 100 patients who have COVID-19 but were not hospitalized.

Dr. James Douketis, president of Thrombosis Canada and a blood clot specialist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, said it can be hard to reconcile the risk of a serious complication like a blood clot but he said it is an extremely rare reaction.

Douketis said this isn’t just any drug on the market either.

“We’re dealing with a vaccine in the middle of a pandemic that can help potentially millions and millions of people, in many ways, not least of which is preventing blood clots related to COVID,” he said.

At least four European countries that halted AstraZeneca injections pending the review are resuming them, with France, Germany and Italy restarting the vaccinations today and Spain planning to do so next week.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex rolled up his arm to get his dose of AstraZeneca in front of the cameras Friday to try and restore confidence in the vaccine.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did the same.

“The Oxford jab is safe, and the Pfizer jab is safe,” Johnson said Thursday before getting his injection. “The thing that isn’t safe is catching COVID, which is why it is so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes.”

Johnson was infected with COVID-19 last year and spent several days in intensive care last April.

Canada has only received about 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca so far, but anticipates getting 1.5 million more from the United States before the end of the month. Canada is to receive almost 24 million doses of AstraZeneca through different channels, including 20 million directly from the company made at a Maryland production facility, two million from the Serum Institute of India, and another 1.9 million from the global vaccine sharing initiative known as COVAX.

More than three million Canadians have now received at least one dose of vaccine, or about eight per cent of the population. There are to be enough doses delivered to get every adult one dose by the end of June, and a second dose by the end of September.

Most Canadian provinces are spacing out the second dose by up to four months to try and get more people one dose quicker.

Data released by Public Health England show in people over the age of 70, a single dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca had cut the risk of getting symptomatic COVID-19 infections by 60 per cent. In people over 80, the vaccines reduced hospitalization due to COVID-19 by 80 per cent and death by 85 per cent.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

I want to fly higher. Eve Moore and her brother Leroy Moore are treated to some high pushes from Simon Temple while swinging at Moose Tot Park on April 15. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Photo Gallery: Prince Rupert tots enjoy fun in the sun

Warmer weather is attracting kids of all ages to play outside

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

The Cancer Care Unit at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, April 14, will benefit from a $100,000 donation from Prince Rupert Port Authority towards renovations. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Port Authority donates $100,000 to hospital renovations

Cancer Care Unit at PRRH to undergo upgradesat PRRH to undergo upgrades

Teresa Van sorts bottles at the April 10 Rainmakers Interact Club bottle drive to earn funds for six Seabin garbage collection units for harbours and waterfronts in the local region. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Bottle drive successful with more collected than can be sorted in one day

Rainmakers Interact Club supports local community with funds toward ocean garbage collection units

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

B.C. Premier John Horgan greets Lt. Governor Janet Austin's dog Macduff as she arrives to present the throne speech at the B.C. legislature, April 12, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of B.C. residents have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Most Read