Ontario government checking report of 2nd rare blood clot linked to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Ontario government officials officials say they are working to confirm a report of a second instance of a man in his 60s who developed a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after being contacted by Global News.

In an announcement released Friday morning, it was revealed a man in his 60s developed a clot after receiving his first dose of the vaccine (vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, which is also known as VITT). It was not clear when the man was inoculated, but officials said he was treated and is currently at home recovering.

After the statement was released, Global News was contacted by family members of another man in his 60s who, they said, was admitted to a southern Ontario hospital weeks ago and noted he had his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in late March.

The family members, who didn’t want to be identified due to privacy concerns, said the man has been in an intensive care unit for the past three days.

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Read more: 1st known case of rare blood clot linked to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine confirmed in Ontario

“He has had a confirmed stroke. He still has the clots, the blood clots (are) in his brain, and he is on oxygen. He was on a ventilator. He’s not anymore,” a family member said.

Global News also confirmed the second man received a positive diagnosis for VITT on Tuesday.

However, the provincial government only disclosed one unrelated case to the public on Friday.

“While these serious reactions remain extremely rare, we have a robust process in place to monitor for any adverse events and have taken steps to ensure that these events are identified and treated as quickly as possible,” Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said in the statement.

Read more: NACI recommends AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine be offered to Canadians 30+

“All COVID-19 vaccines available in the province have been determined to be safe and effective by Health Canada, and have been shown to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.”

Williams said in the statement of the 1.1 million doses of the vaccine that have been administered in Canada, only four blood clot cases have been detected to date.

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When contacted by Global News Friday morning, representatives in the premier’s office and health minister’s office said they were only aware of the one case and would investigate the report.

In the course of making multiple inquiries, a Global News reporter was told to call the local public health unit to ask for an update on the issue even though the second man was still hospitalized. Hospital systems are ultimately accountable to the Ontario Ministry of Health.

READ MORE: Ontario won’t lower AstraZeneca vaccine age threshold currently given limited supply

As of Friday afternoon, the Ontario government had yet to release additional information relating to the second report.

Meanwhile, Williams encouraged people to get vaccinated in an effort to protect themselves against COVID-19.

“The Health Canada-approved vaccines are the best way to protect your health and those around you. Ontarians are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and monitor their health after receiving their vaccination,” he said Friday morning.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization previously recommended the vaccine should only be made available to Canadians over the age of 55 after reports of blood clots in younger recipients. The body revised its guidance on Friday, saying it could be offered to people as young as 30 under certain criteria.

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Read more: Blood clots from COVID-19 up to 10 times more likely than vaccines: researchers

On Sunday, the Ontario government announced it was lowering the threshold for people to get the AstraZeneca vaccine to people who are 40 and older. On Friday, a spokesperson said due to a lack of supply the government wouldn’t be lowering the threshold to those 30 and above.

Both the European Medical Association and Health Canada have both maintained that the benefits of using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine still outweigh any of the risks.
“Reports of blood clots with low platelets in people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are very rare,” the Public Health Agency of Canada previously told Global News in a statement.

“Based on all of the evidence available internationally to date, Health Canada continues to consider that the benefits of the AstraZeneca and Covishield vaccines to protect against COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks.”

— With files from David Lao

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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