Mar
29
2021

Prince Edward Island follows national recommendation to pause administration of AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 55 years of age

Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, has announced that Prince Edward Island will pause the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 55 years of age in the province. 

“The risk of developing a health problem after being immunized is very low and serious side effects are extremely rare.  We take vaccine safety very seriously and believe this is the right decision at this time,” said Dr. Morrison. “The vaccine remains an important layer of protection against this virus and I urge all Islanders to continue to be eager and enthusiastic to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Earlier today, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended an immediate pause in the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in individuals under 55 years of age in Canada. The recommendation follows European reports of very rare, but serious, cases of blood clots associated with low levels of blood platelets following immunization with the AstraZeneca vaccine. No blood clotting abnormalities have not been reported throughout Canada. 

The Chief Public Health Office contacted the Island pharmacies administering AstraZeneca first thing this morning and asked them to hold further administration of the vaccine, pending additional information. 

A total of 1,680 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in PEI. Those who have received the vaccine are asked to seek immediate medical attention if they experience the following symptoms between 4 and 20 days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine: shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, sudden onset of severe of persistent headache or blurred vision and skin bruising (other than the site of vaccination). More information about the AstraZeneca vaccine pause is available on the provincial website, at the six partner pharmacies, as well as through health care providers across the province. 

“Although the pause will slow down our vaccine roll-out plan, we remain on track to give all eligible Islanders over the age of 16 a single dose by the end of June,” said Dr. Morrison. “Regardless of the future of AstraZeneca vaccine in PEI, we will have enough mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) vaccine to immunize all Islanders with two doses by the fall.” 

Islanders are urged to get tested if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19, even after a previous negative test, and to self-isolate until the results come back. Islanders are also encouraged to download the free national COVID Alert app, which will let them know if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Prince Edward Island currently has 11 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 156 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic. Information about the province’s COVID-19 cases is available online.

For the latest information about Prince Edward Island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Prince Edward Island.

Backgrounder: 

The Chief Public Health Office continues to work closely with the federal government, provincial and territorial counterparts, government departments and Health PEI to monitor the pandemic situation and prepare for all COVID-19 related impacts to the province, including health, social and economic. The public health risk of COVID-19 is continually reassessed and Islanders will be updated as new information becomes available.

Everyone is encouraged to follow routine prevention measures:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water 
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue 
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well 
  • Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth 
  • Keep your circle of contacts small 
  • Wear a mask in closed, indoor public spaces 
  • Physical distance - stay two meters (6 feet) apart 
  • Don’t share items like drinking glasses and water bottles 
  • Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops 
  • Visit a drop-in-clinic to be tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms 

Media Contact:
Samantha Hughes
Health and Wellness
shughes@gov.pe.ca 

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca