AstraZeneca vaccines arriving in June

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African countries have so far received over 29.1 million vaccine doses and administered 10.3 million, focusing on healthcare workers, the elderly and people with comorbidities, Nkengasong said.

Most adverse reactions reported after patients were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca Plc shot happened in the United Kingdom, where the government has staunchly defended the homegrown shot even as European regulators investigated reports of blood clots.

By the end of April, he said, more than three million doses per week would be provided to doctors' offices.

On Monday, Ontario's chief medical officer of health said that those above 55 who have already received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are not at risk.

"A causal link with the vaccine is not proven, but is possible and further analysis is continuing", the EMA said in a statement on Wednesday.

Henry said programs and advice would be updated in the coming days.

"By the end of this week, 107 million vaccine doses will have reached European Union countries", the Commission tweeted on Wednesday.

Germany is the latest country to advise against using the AstraZeneca jab.

This adverse event, called vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT), has occurred primarily in women under 55, the vice-chair of NACI, Dr. Shelley Deeks, said.

In Berlin, the federal government pleaded for citizens to have patience as Germany's 16 states reorganized their vaccine strategies in light of the AstraZeneca decision.

AstraZeneca Germany
German health officials have now agreed to only give the vaccine to people aged 60 or older. Pic Michael Kappeler Pool via AP

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, does not provide a conclusive explanation for why some people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot develop the rare blood clots.

"What we do know is this is very rare and it's unlikely we will see any cases here in British Columbia or Canada", Henry said.

Adam Finn, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol, said there was no compelling evidence yet that the vaccine is to blame for the rare clots.

COVAX, a global initiative led by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other European countries, aims to equally distribute coronavirus vaccines across the world.

'There is substantial uncertainty about the benefit of providing AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to adults under 55 given the potential risks, ' she said.

The new avenue to hurry out vaccines comes as the province recorded its highest daily COVID-19 case count yet at 1,013 cases after new restrictions were introduced this week on restaurants, gyms and religious services.

In February, Vietnam received about 117,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses of the 30 million doses it has ordered from the producer, and started its mass vaccination campaign on March 8. But he said the supply would now be made available to people over 60 who might otherwise have had to wait longer, reducing their risk of falling seriously ill with COVID-19.

France has limited its use to over-55s, while Spain has done the same for under-65s.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) speaks at the Chancellery during a press conference after an online meeting with state premiers to discuss how to proceed with the Astrazeneca vaccine.

Tanzania's COVID-sceptic president John Magufuli died last month, and Nkengasong said Africa CDC officials are "using different channels" to engage with the administration of his successor, Samia Suluhu Hassan.

World Health Organization says virus origins report will be released on Tuesday
Scientists have concluded that a leak from a laboratory is the least likely hypothesis, after visiting several facilities. The report was written jointly by a team of 17 scientists from around the world and 17 Chinese scientists.

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