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Changing AstraZeneca vaccine guideline 'messes everything up,' Ontario Premier Ford says

Elisabetta Bianchini
·1-min read

Ontario Premier Doug Ford expressed some frustration when it comes to the changing National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) guidance of the administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

NACI now recommend the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine be given to individuals over the age of 65. This comes after the committee previous stated it not be used on Canadians 65 and older due to concern around its efficacy in older age groups.

Ontario is in the process of executing a pilot project, administering the vaccine in pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington.

"We’re going to fulfill the commitment with the people who have already registered," Ford said on Tuesday.

The premier added that changing the guidance like this "just messes everything up" in terms of the distribution

"It’s good news that they can go older than 65 but man, we have everything setup, we've got everyone lined up and all of a sudden, without notice today, now we can move the goal post again," he said. "It’s not easy."

Despite concerns out of Europe about reported blood clots after individuals received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said there has been "no indication that the vaccine caused the observed events."

"The benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh its risks," Dr. Tam said.

Ford was also asked about priority healthcare workers, like chiropractors, naturopaths and massage therapists, in York Region being able to get a COVID-19 vaccine while individuals 80 years old and older still have not all been vaccinated yet.

The premier said public health units are going at a different pace but stressed that the 80 and older age group should be "prioritized."