Pharmacies report many cancellations of appointments to get AstraZeneca vaccine
HALIFAX -- Despite widespread availability, it seems a lot of people are still leery about getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
In Nova Scotia, it's been an option for people aged 55 to 64 for a while now, and some provinces have dropped the age to 40.
But the shot has been associated with rare blood-clots and even as the pandemic drags on, some people would rather wait for another option.
With cameras clicking, Nova Scotia's top doctor today received a COVID vaccine.
"I got a dose of Pfizer vaccine," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "That's the vaccine we're using at the healthcare worker clinics. I was asked before, was I going to get AstraZeneca vaccine. I said 'no, because I have a choice.'"
And it would seem a growing number of others do as well.
Although it would have been unthinkable a few months ago, there were plenty of un-booked appointments for AstraZenica at some pharmacies in the Halifax area on Tuesday.
The government says it expected that when it dropped eligibility ages for Pfizer and Moderna to 60-plus on Monday.
"When it was lowered yesterday, I cancelled the AstraZeneca and booked for the Pfizer," said Michael Moore of Lower Sackville, N.S.
The hesitancy seems to be widespread. At least four provinces have now dropped eligibility for AstraZeneca to 40-plus - and some are jumping at the opportunity.
CTV Question Period host Evan Solomon got his shot Tuesday, and tweeted he was happy to get it.
Pharmacists, who are leading the rollout in Nova Scotia, note choosiness is only going to slow down the overall effort, but with a longer shelf life, they're convinced the AstraZeneca doses won't go to waste.
Anyone with concerns should check with a healthcare provider or a reputable source.
"Find out the actual information and the actual risks before they cancel an appointment," said Allison Bodnar of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia.
Expected guidance on Tuesday from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) regarding AstraZeneca did not come as the announcement was cancelled before it began
Nova Scotia has said it will wait to hear what the experts say before passing advice to everyone else.
Officials in Europe announced Tuesday they’ve recorded more than 300 cases of blood clots worldwide, most of them associated with AstraZeneca.
In Nova Scotia, it would seem there’s plenty of it available, but only a limited appetite to actually get it.