Ontario health minister will get the AstraZeneca shot on camera to fight vaccine hesitancy
Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, responds to a question during a press conference regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution, at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
TORONTO -- Ontario’s health minister says she will get the AstraZeneca shot on camera to fight hesitancy to the vaccine and prove to residents that the jab is safe.
“It’s unfortunate there is still a lot of vaccine hesitancy around AstraZeneca,” Elliott said Monday. “It is safe, it works, it prevents hospitalizations, and it saves people’s lives.”
The shot has been the subject of concern in recent weeks following reports of blood clots in a handful of people who received it in Europe.
More than 15 European countries halted the use of the AstraZeneca injections last week pending an investigation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The EMA would later declare in a review of the AstraZeneca vaccine that it found no evidence the shot raises the overall risk of blood clots.
Health Canada doubled down on that finding Thursday by saying that the benefits of the shot far outweighed the risks associated with catching COVID-19.
There has been only one report of a stroke in an individual following vaccination with the version of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, which health officials determined not to be related to the vaccine.
Elliott’s announcement comes days after her Quebec counterpart, health minister Christian Dubé, got his vaccine on camera. Dubé said at the time that he wanted to document his inoculation to set a good example for others while also dispelling fears about AstraZeneca’s safety, a sentiment Elliott echoed on Monday.
“If I could convince one other person to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, and that helps protect them and their health and safety and that of their families, I’m more than happy to do that,” she said.
Ontario began rolling out the AstraZeneca vaccine in select pharmacies and doctor offices across the province to people between the ages of 60 and 64 two weeks ago.
Since then, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has revised its recommendations on the shot, clearing its use for people 65 and older.