Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health released that reassuring message in a statement on Thursday, days after the province announced it was pausing the use of the vaccine.
At least 20,000 people locally received AstraZeneca during the vaccination rollout.
“Getting AstraZeneca means you were vaccinated earlier than you would have been had you waited for another vaccine,” said Dr. Matthew Tenenbaum, associate medical officer of health.
“That protected you and the people around you from COVID-19 and helped move our community toward the end of this pandemic.”
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The government announced on Tuesday that it is pausing the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to safety and supply issues.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution because of increased instances of an extremely rare and potentially fatal blood clotting disorder, vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), linked to the shot.
“We are reviewing the data to consider options for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for second doses and more broadly moving forward,” he told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
In Canada, at least 12 VITT cases have been confirmed out of more than two million doses given and three women have died. In Ontario as of May 8, there were eight VITT cases reported after approximately 901,800 Oxford-Astrazeneca doses were administered.
Tenenbaum said anyone who develops symptoms such as persistent and severe headaches, seizures, blurred vision or shortness of breath should contact their doctor or go to the emergency department immediately.
“No one wants to hear that a medical treatment they’ve received might put them at risk. But, the surveillance system has done what it is supposed to do — take new scientific information and adapt our practices accordingly,” he said.
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Tenenbaum couldn’t say what this means for those who received a shot of AstraZeneca and are waiting for a second dose.
“I know many of you now have concerns about what this means for your second dose,” he said.
“Please rest assured we will follow provincial and federal direction on future vaccinations, guided by the best and most up-to-date information.”
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