A researcher who oversaw the development of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine has described Canada's overall vaccine strategy as "acting on a lot of hearsay, not facts."

Speaking during CTV News' Question Period, Oxford University regius professor of medicine Sir John Bell specifically criticized Canada's approach to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which he was involved in developing.

"At my last look you guys are 3.6% vaccinated with two doses," Bell said. "So just wait for [B.1.617, the variant first detected in India] to rip through the Canadian population and then the problems you've had with these very rare clotting events will look pretty insignificant."

The professor's comments come as multiple Canadian provinces paused first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, citing either supply issues or concerns about rare blood clotting incidents.

While most regions are holding on to their remaining AstraZeneca COVID-19 doses to give to those who've already had their first dose, Ontario remains undecided on whether residents will be offered a second dose of AstraZeneca at all.

Responding to this, Bell said, "Unless you've got two doses of mRNA vaccine sitting in a back room, you need to get on and vaccinate people… all this messing around is going to cost lives. This is a public health decision [...] you know it's not some academic game."

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