PEI

Older Islanders to be offered AstraZeneca starting April 12

Starting on Monday, April 12, Islanders aged 55 and up may book an appointment at one of 12 P.E.I. pharmacies to receive an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Use of AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 was suspended on P.E.I. last week

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine will be available at 12 P.E.I. pharmacies next week for people 55 and over, says Dr. Heather Morrison. (Matthias Schrader/The Associated Press)

Starting Monday, April 12, Islanders aged 55 and up may book an appointment at one of 12 P.E.I. pharmacies to receive an AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.

P.E.I.'s chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison made the announcement at her regular weekly briefing Tuesday.

The province's allotment of the AstraZeneca vaccine was originally set aside for younger people working directly with the public, since at first it had not been approved in Canada for people over 65. Health Canada removed that restriction in mid-March. 

Use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Canadians under 55 was suspended in late March due to evidence linking it to blood clots in some people who received it elsewhere around the world.

Those blood clots appeared in a very small number of younger people, and in particular women. After closer examination of the evidence, P.E.I. has now decided to follow the example of several other Canadian provinces and proceed with using the vaccine for older people.

"Someone who wants to get the AstraZeneca vaccine, they may be able to get an earlier appointment by booking at a pharmacy," said Morrison.

"Alternatively, they can wait and get an appointment at a public clinic where the Moderna and Pfizer products are being administered."

More on vaccine rollout

Morrison announced that other Islanders would be eligible to book appointments at public health clinics this week.

Health-care workers that work in the community, such as physiotherapists and optometrists, and their support staff may start booking now.

Starting Friday, Islanders aged 40-59 with one of a specified list of serious underlying health conditions may start booking.

Several groups are being added next week.

  • Front-line workers aged 40 to 59.
  • Islanders aged 55 to 59.
  •  People aged 18-39 with underlying medical conditions.

Getting the first dose of vaccine provides good immunity, said Morrison, but a person is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after they have received their second dose. The goal remains to have accomplished that for all Islanders that want it by the fall.

Herd protection will come with 80 per cent of the population being fully immunized, she said.

"For us all to be protected, and to be able to change our broad public health measures, we will need more people to be vaccinated. Until we achieve this we will do our best to protect Islanders from COVID-19, and that includes all the things we've been doing: border measures, self-isolation, testing," said Morrison.

"Each one of us that is immunized benefits the entire province."

This coming week will be the busiest yet for administering vaccines, said Morrison, with a plan to deliver 7,200. As of Saturday, 27,448 doses had been administered to Islanders.

More from CBC P.E.I.

Clarifications

  • Dr. Heather Morrison said Tuesday that the AstraZeneca vaccine would be available again this week, but the province later told CBC News the AZ rollout would resume Monday, April 12.
    Apr 06, 2021 3:22 PM AT

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