HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is facing some backlash for getting a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine instead of AstraZeneca for himself.

Although millions have gotten the AstraZeneca vaccine, it has made headlines for extremely rare links to blood clots.

Many online expressed the opinion that Dr. Strang should have opted for the AstraZeneca vaccine, in order to help ease concerns around its use. 

After getting his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday, Strang told reporters he was "happy and excited," and added he "didn’t even feel it."

Strang, wearing a Hawaiian shirt featuring the Montreal Canadiens logo, also seemed ready for the inevitable question about which vaccine he got.

"If I had taken the AstraZeneca vaccine, that would have been a vaccine that somebody 55 to 64 who has no other choice," said Strang. "They wouldn’t have been able to use that vaccine."

Strang, being a medical professional, is eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. It’s reserved for healthcare workers in Nova Scotia’s vaccine rollout.

"He had a choice, and he chose Pfizer over AstraZenica," said Porters Lake, N.S. resident Lynne Erickson. "I'm scheduled for my vaccine appointment tomorrow, and now I’m really waffling on whether I should get it or not."

In an email, Erickson initially said the spike in cases in Nova Scotia on Wednesday was the reason she would keep her appointment. However, she later sent CTV Atlantic another e-mail saying that she decided to cancel her appointment and will wait for another vaccine.

Her husband, David Mott, already got a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"It's mixed messaging," he said. "I’m not sure why he would even not take AstraZeneca."

Nova Scotia Health, for its part, sent the following statement to CTV News:

"All Nova Scotians have a right to make an informed decision on the vaccine that is right for them. Dr. Strang is eligible for an mRNA vaccine as a health-care worker. As there is a limited supply of AstraZeneca available for a small age group, he felt it was more appropriate to get an mRNA vaccine instead as that would allow a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine for someone who is not able to choose an mRNA vaccine at this time."

Overall, vaccine experts are asking anyone who has the chance to get an approved COVID-19 vaccine to show up to their appointment, and not choose between types.


A previous version of this story misidentified Lynne Erickson's husband as David Erickson. His name is David Mott, and the story has been updated to reflect this.