COVID-19: Ontario won't lower AstraZeneca vaccine age threshold currently given limited supply

WATCH ABOVE: NACI is recommending the age of eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine be lowered to 30 and older, but Ontario is not in a position to act on that advice. Travis Dhanraj reports.

Ontario won’t be lowering the age threshold required to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine currently despite a new recommendation Friday from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott said though NACI now recommends that the vaccine be given to those 30 years of age and older, limited supply means that, for the time being, the shot will continue to be given to those aged 40-plus.

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“We look forward to receiving future shipments of AstraZeneca, which will allow us to begin vaccinating more Ontarians in younger age groups,” Alexandra Hilkene said in a statement.

“With approximately 337,000 doses remaining and future shipments not expected until May, we will continue to administer AstraZeneca to individuals 40 and over in pharmacies and primary care settings until we receive additional supply.

“This is aligned with Ontario’s vaccine rollout which prioritizes age and risk.”

NACI previously recommended that the vaccine be given to those 55 and older due to concerns around blood clots.

NACI now recommends the vaccine be used in people 30 years of age and older, “if the individual does not wish to wait for an mRNA vaccine and the benefits outweigh the risks,” said Shelley Deeks, NACI’s vice-chair.

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Health Canada has approved the vaccine for those aged 18-plus, and earlier this week Ontario and other provinces announced that they would be giving the shot to younger groups despite NACI’s recommendation.

A provincial official said there are approximately 2.8 million Ontarians aged 40 to 55.

As of 8 p.m. Thursday, Ontario had administered a total of 4,400,674 COVID-19 vaccine doses, marking a one-day increase of 133,872. So far, 355,208 people in the province are considered to be fully vaccinated.

— With files from Rachael D’Amore

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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