May 04, 2021
By Jane Brown
Canadians may be more confused than ever over which COVID-19 vaccine is the one to take, and that confusion is linked to the people who are supposed to be giving clear advice on the topic.
Members of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization are being criticized for contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that is offered.
NACI scientists said Monday, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are “preferred” and that Canadians should weigh the risks of waiting for one of them before deciding whether to take a more immediate jab of either of the other two approved for use in Canada.
The AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines have been linked to an extremely rare blood-clotting syndrome.
Doctor Caroline Quach is chair of NACI and explains, “if my sister for instance were to get the AstraZeneca vaccine and died of thrombosis when I know that it could’ve been prevented, and that she’s not in a high risk area, I’m not sure I could live with it.”
NACI members also say someone working from home in a province where there is not much disease might want to wait for a shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
But they say it would be a very different risk-benefit analysis for someone working in a manufacturing plant without personal protective equipment in a province where COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire.
NACI’s advice appears to contradict Health Canada’s long-standing recommendation that the best vaccine is the first one available.