The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was only available to adults over the age of 55. Over the weekend, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced that people over the age of 40 will be able to schedule appointments to get their vaccination. The decision was made in the midst of record-breaking COVID-19 case counts. Some reports suggested that pharmacies were experiencing hesitancy due to extremely rare cases of blood clots in those who had received the vaccine.
The risk is estimated to be one in a million, and the head of the Ontario Pharmacists Association stated that more work is needed to make the vaccine available to all adults. “We are definitely aligned with the shared goal of getting as many people vaccinated as possible,” OAPA president Justin Bates said. He also stated that his organization is working on a “daily basis” with other levels of government to see if there is a way for pharmacies to participate in some of the mobile and pop-up clinics that are taking place in high-crime areas. He claims that the vaccine is risk-free.
According to the drug’s manufacturer, Oxford-AstraZeneca, the vaccine is extremely effective. Between March 29 and April 4, the province received 538,400 doses of the vaccine, with 500,000 of those doses delivered to pharmacies and doctors’ offices.