FILE PHOTO: People line up outside an immunization clinic in Edmonton, Canada, to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. © Jason Franson/Global Look Press/Keystone Press Agency
A 54-year-old woman in Quebec has died from a blood clot after receiving AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, the province’s public health chief Horacio Arruda has said. It is the first such fatality in Canada.
“We just had our first patient who has died of a thrombosis, cerebral thrombosis, following vaccination from AstraZeneca,” Arruda told a news briefing on Tuesday.
Speaking about the fatality, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he was “very sad to know that a 54-year-old woman in good shape… died because she was vaccinated.”
Arruda said tests at McMaster University laboratory in Hamilton had discovered antibodies which had caused a problem with platelets in her blood, which led to her death.
Some 400,000 people have received AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine in Quebec, Arruda said.
Three other cases of blood clotting are being investigated, including one person who is recovering and two cases that have not been confirmed as linked to the vaccine.
Earlier this month, Canada’s first instance of a blood clot in someone injected with Vaxzevria was also confirmed in a woman in Quebec.
A number of cases of blood clotting linked to the vaccine were already reported in EU countries and reviewed by the bloc’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The EMA gave its backing to the jab after the review found that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets are a “very rare” side effect, estimated to occur in one in 100,000 vaccinated people.
The regulator said that most blood clotting cases in people given Vaxzevria occur in women under 60 years old within three weeks of vaccination.
In late March, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) suspended the use of the jab in people under 55 in light of the rare reports of serious blood clots among Vaxzevria recipients, but subsequently revised its recommendation so the vaccine can be given to those over 30.