Canada’s advisory committee has updated recommendations for Covid-19 vaccines

By Thomas I. Likness
Eagle News Service

(Eagle News) — Updated recommendations for vaccinating pregnant women and the use of the Janssen vaccine, were released Monday by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

The committee recommends using an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, during pregnancy or while a mother is breastfeeding if the benefits outweigh the risks for both the mother and fetus.

The committee says because of the risk of rare blood clots during pregnancy, viral vector vaccines should be avoided.

As far as the single-dose Janssen vaccine distributed by Johnson and Johnson, the committee says anyone over 30 can take the vaccine if they do not wish to wait for an mRNA shot and if the benefits outweigh the risks.

But committee vice-chair Dr. Shelley Deeks says mRNA vaccines are the preferred method of immunization.

“The viral vector vaccines are very effective vaccines, but there is a safety risk,” said Deeks, referring to the risk of developing rare blood clots.

“Although it’s very rare, it is very serious, and so individuals need to have an informed choice to be vaccinated with the first vaccine that’s available or to wait for an mRNA vaccine,” she said.

Health Canada has paused distributing a shipment of 300,000 doses of the Janssen vaccine that came from a plant in Maryland that botched 15 million doses bound for the American market until it’s determined none of the doses are tainted.
(Eagle News Service)

TORONTO, ON – APRIL 01: Healthcare worker administers vaccine at Humber River Hospital in Ontario, Canada. Cole Burston/Getty Images/AFP
Cole Burston / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP