Alberta's AstraZeneca doses not linked to issues found in Europe: Dr. Hinshaw
EDMONTON -- Alberta's top doctor continued to vouch for the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday after some European countries suspended its use.
Denmark announced it will stop using AstraZeneca for two weeks following reports of some patients developing blood clots after being inoculated.
"Blood clots happen in the general population for many different reasons, and there is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these events," Dr. Deena Hinshaw said, adding more than 11 million doses have been administered in the U.K. "with no indication that blood clots have happened more often than in the general population.
"I want to assure everyone that the current doses of Covishield/AstraZeneca vaccine offered in Alberta have not been linked to these issues," she went on to say.
The chief medical officer of health touted Canada's and Alberta's "robust" surveillance system in place to detect any issues with vaccines after they have been given.
Once again, she encouraged Albertans to make an appointment for any of the approved vaccines once they're eligible.
As of 2:30 p.m., more than 23,000 Albertans had signed up for the AstraZeneca shot.
"The bottom line is that there is no current evidence that the vaccine is causing the reported blood clots and we are not using the same batches of vaccine that were used in Europe.
"We take vaccine safety extremely seriously."
Alberta Health Services had administered 317,500 vaccine shots as of Wednesday.
THURSDAY COVID-19 DATA
Dr. Hinshaw also reported 364 cases of COVID-19 including 41 variant infections, and a positivity rate of four per cent.
Alberta has 4,488 active cases of the coronavirus and 259 people in hospital, including 38 patients in ICU.
Five more deaths were announced on Thursday.
Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, and since last March, Alberta has reported 137,137 cases and 1,933 deaths.
RAPID TESTING AT SCHOOLS
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced a rapid testing pilot at two Calgary schools.
The province set aside 100,000 tests for the pilot project expected to last three weeks.