A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Canadian doctors say getting COVID-19 poses much bigger risk of blood clots than the vaccine

Clots occurred at a rate between 1 in 250,000 to in 500,000 people who received the vaccine

The national advocacy group for patients with blood-clot disorders says there is a greater risk of getting blood clots from COVID-19 than there is from the vaccine.

Thrombosis Canada issued an updated statement on the risk of blood clots late Thursday, after the European Medicines Agency released its final report on the risk of blood clots after getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The agency says there is no evidence of increased risk of blood clots from the vaccine, but added there is still not enough evidence to say if the vaccine played a role in a small number of clots in the vein that drains blood from the brain.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said further analysis is ongoing in Canada and around the world.

“Overall, the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and protecting Canadians from COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks,” she said.

Thrombosis Canada, whose board is made up of physicians specializing in blood clots, says the incidence of those clots, known as cerebral sinus vein thrombosis, occurred at a rate between one in 250,000 and one in 500,000 people who received the vaccine.

By comparison, they say blood clots occurred in about one in 20 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and about one in 100 patients who have COVID-19 but were not hospitalized.

Dr. James Douketis, president of Thrombosis Canada and a blood clot specialist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, said it can be hard to reconcile the risk of a serious complication like a blood clot but he said it is an extremely rare reaction.

Douketis said this isn’t just any drug on the market either.

“We’re dealing with a vaccine in the middle of a pandemic that can help potentially millions and millions of people, in many ways, not least of which is preventing blood clots related to COVID,” he said.

At least four European countries that halted AstraZeneca injections pending the review are resuming them, with France, Germany and Italy restarting the vaccinations today and Spain planning to do so next week.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex rolled up his arm to get his dose of AstraZeneca in front of the cameras Friday to try and restore confidence in the vaccine.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did the same.

“The Oxford jab is safe, and the Pfizer jab is safe,” Johnson said Thursday before getting his injection. “The thing that isn’t safe is catching COVID, which is why it is so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes.”

Johnson was infected with COVID-19 last year and spent several days in intensive care last April.

Canada has only received about 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca so far, but anticipates getting 1.5 million more from the United States before the end of the month. Canada is to receive almost 24 million doses of AstraZeneca through different channels, including 20 million directly from the company made at a Maryland production facility, two million from the Serum Institute of India, and another 1.9 million from the global vaccine sharing initiative known as COVAX.

More than three million Canadians have now received at least one dose of vaccine, or about eight per cent of the population. There are to be enough doses delivered to get every adult one dose by the end of June, and a second dose by the end of September.

Most Canadian provinces are spacing out the second dose by up to four months to try and get more people one dose quicker.

Data released by Public Health England show in people over the age of 70, a single dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca had cut the risk of getting symptomatic COVID-19 infections by 60 per cent. In people over 80, the vaccines reduced hospitalization due to COVID-19 by 80 per cent and death by 85 per cent.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Surrey councillor trying to get policing referendum on the table, again

‘I’m sending it back for clarification,’ mayor decides

A simulation lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital has been helping healthcare professionals train during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Memorial Hospital’s simulation lab trains professionals during COVID-19 pandemic

Surrey Hospitals Foundation contributing $100K toward new technologies

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Dr. Bonnie Henry says Surrey immunization targeted at neighbourhoods most at risk

‘What we’ve been looking at is the case rates by neighbourhood,’ provincial health officer says

A horse and driver cruise around the track at Fraser Downs in Cloverdale Sept. 14, 2020 amid smoke from U.S. forest fires. Harness Racing B.C. announced it’s halting the spring season two weeks early because of a lack of money and says racing won’t continue in September without and influx of cash. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Harness racing suspended at Fraser Downs

Spring season ends early, 135 workers out of jobs

Delta police are asking for the public’s help in locating 80-year-old Bob Stout, who police believe went missing from his Tsawwassen home between 1 and 8:30 a.m. on Friday, April 16. (Delta Police Department/submitted photos)
UPDATE: Missing senior found safe

Police think Bob Stout, 80, went missing from his Tsawwassen home between 1 to 8:30 a.m. April 16

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read