The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is recommending that Canadian provinces give the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to adults 30 years of age and older.
NACI also suggests provinces can use the single-dose vaccine on people who may have more difficulty booking a second dose of another vaccine.
NEW: The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends provinces give the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to adults 30 years of age and older #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) May 3, 2021
The advice is almost identical to that issued for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine last month and comes as both are suspected of causing a new and very rare blood clotting syndrome.
In Canada, there have been seven known cases of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT, one of them fatal.
As of April 24th, 1.7 million people in Canada have been given at least one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
For the J&J vaccine, in the clinical trial, one case of cerebral venous thrombosis was reported among 21,895 vaccine recipients, NACI says.
“There is evidence that the Janssen vaccine offers some protection against the B.1.351 variant of concern first identified in South Africa as well as the P.2 variant of interest first identified in Brazil,” NACI concludes.
“There is evidence that the AstraZeneca vaccine does not offer protection against the B.1.351 variant.”
Last week, Health Canada announced the distribution of the J&J shot would be paused due to quality concerns over Canada’s batch of vaccines.
It was revealed that parts of the lot were made in the same Baltimore plant where millions of other doses meant for rollout in the U.S. had spoiled.
That plant was forced to close, while the United States Food and Drug Administration investigates.
In a statement, Health Canada said those doses will only be released when “once Health Canada is satisfied that they meet the Department’s high standards for quality, safety and efficacy.”
Health Canada is currently working with the FDA and Janssen to check these vaccines.
Around 300,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived in the country last week and are on hold at a Toronto-area warehouse pending investigation to ensure they are safe.
Canada has pre-ordered 10 million doses of the one-shot vaccine, with options to order up to 28 million more.
Of the four vaccines currently approved for use in Canada, Johnson & Johnson is the only one that requires a single dose to be fully effective.
That makes it ideal for hard-to-reach, vulnerable groups, such as those who are homeless or migrant workers.
In mid-April, the U.S. recommended a “pause” in the administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said they were investigating the reports of reduced platelet counts and blood clots that occurred in six women in the two weeks following vaccination.
More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S to date. The one-shot vaccine has yet to be distributed in Canada.
“The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has demonstrated efficacy of 67 percent against confirmed symptomatic moderate to
severe/critical COVID-19 infection based on trials conducted in South Africa and Brazil while B.1.335 and P.2 were circulating, respectively,” says NACI.
Vaccine hesitancy and concerns over approved shots remain a problem across the country.
Toronto’s top doctor Eileen de Villa spoke out over the fears of developing adverse side effects to vaccines.
De Villa said back in April the risk of blood clots with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one-in-one-million.
“I want to reassure you, news about the vaccines emerges frequently,” she said.
“There is a lot of information available on the internet and some very unqualified vaccine skeptics sowing fear and misinformation through social media.”
The J&J vaccine was authorized for use in Canada on March 5, 2021.
With files from 680 NEWS Parliament Hill reporter Cormac Mac Sweeney, The Canadian Press