Provinces can make their own decisions when it comes to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, according to the country’s health minister.
Speaking on Sunday, Patty Hajdu explained that while the National Advisory Committee on Immunization previously suggested this vaccine shouldn’t be offered to people under 55 years old, provincial officials are not required to follow this advice.
Alberta is lowering the minimum age to receive the Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine from 55 to 40. This decision is… https://t.co/6lgj9Gth5C— Jason Kenney (@Jason Kenney) 1618800490.0
"NACI provides advice to provinces and territories," she said. “They can adjust their use for AstraZeneca as per their desire and the advice from their own public health authorities and medical expertise."
She added that Health Canada continues to license the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in all adults over the age of 18, according to CBC News.
Hajdu added that the NACI is still reviewing their advice on the vaccine and will update their guidance in the “near future.”
Le Dr Arruda est tjrs en lien avec ses homologues canadiens au sujet de l’âge pour administrer #AstraZeneca. On a… https://t.co/lOmqg0W4vV— Christian Dubé (@Christian Dubé) 1618793441.0
How are provinces responding?
On Sunday, both Ontario and Alberta announced that they would start offering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 40 years old and over, instead of aged 55 years and older.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, said this would "significantly increase access to vaccines in hot spot communities."
In a statement shared via Twitter, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney added, “This decision is based on growing scientific knowledge about the vaccine & is based on [Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s] advice.”
The Quebec government is considering a similar move as well, with Health Minister Christian Dube tweeting that the province was awaiting the official opinion of their experts.
Speaking on Sunday, Justin Trudeau told Canadians that the best COVID-19 vaccine for them is the very first they are offered.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.