The presence of the “unloved vaccine” worries more and more citizens who come to the various vaccination centers. On Wednesday, citizens who left the Center de foires de Sherbrooke were also asked if they had received the AstraZeneca.
Since the start of the campaign, some 200 doses of AstraZeneca (or its derivative CoviShields) have been administered in Estrie to people under the age of 55. “Which represents about 4% of all the doses we had,” said Mr. Délisle.
Still, the confusion surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine raises concerns. Not only among citizens, but also among those responsible for vaccination in Estrie. They hope that the “different messages” will soon be corrected so that the objective of vaccinating all Estrians who wish to be reached by June 24.
During the press scrum held on Wednesday, both Dr Alex Carignan and campaign director Jean Délisle said they were “concerned” by the multiple reversals of public authorities with regard to this vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the ‘University of Oxford.
After being deemed “at risk” in Europe for people aged 65 and over, inoculation of AstraZeneca is now temporarily suspended in Quebec and Canada for people under 55, after being recommended by Health Canada and the Quebec Public Health Department.
This confusion has the effect of placing the citizens in front of a worrying dilemma: to accept or refuse to be vaccinated with what is commonly called “the unloved of vaccines”?
“I can understand, indeed, that for people, there is a bad message circulating about this vaccine, agrees Dr. Carignan, microbiologist-infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS. Indeed, there were different messages. And the AstraZeneca vaccine journey has been bumpy from the start, ”he admitted.
An active member of the Quebec Immunization Committee which decreed the temporary suspension of the vaccine since Tuesday, Dr. Carignan nevertheless continues to believe in the usefulness and effectiveness of AstraZeneca among the arsenal of vaccines to fight the COVID-19.
“As long as you continue to use it, you are convinced of its effectiveness and usefulness as a weapon. Several weapons are needed today to fight the pandemic. But it is certain that at the level of public relations, it is more difficult. ”
Just like Dr. Carignan, the director of the vaccination campaign in Estrie, Jean Délisle, also says he is concerned about the reversals surrounding the AstraZeneca, but that his role is first and foremost to ensure that the vaccines transported in Estrie are distributed efficiently.
“We all have concerns, we all have concerns. I have them as a citizen. I am concerned about what we will be able to achieve as a goal, but we are doing everything we can to achieve them. I am very sensitive to the concerns of citizens. There is a part of communication which does not necessarily belong to me, which belongs to the Ministry. In the background, we do all the work, all the dialogues to achieve our objectives and catch up with the situation in the coming weeks. ”
60,500 Estriens vaccinated
Since the start of the campaign, 60,582 Estriens have received a first dose of vaccine against COVID-19, said Mr. Délisle. The campaign peaked on Tuesday when 3,500 people received their first dose that day.
“This means that our capacities to vaccinate between 25,000 to 30,000 people over seven days are already there. Our goals of reaching 40,000 or even 50,000 are achievable and in preparation.
The campaign to deliver the second dose will kick off in mid-April.
“Despite the announcements surrounding the AstraZeneca, we still have the objective of vaccinating all those who wish it before June 24,” said Mr. Délisle.
For now, he added, the goal remains to vaccinate people aged 65 and over.
“As soon as we have completed the 65 and over age group and our most vulnerable groups already identified, we will eventually be authorized to open (time slots) to other groups. The prioritization provided by the Ministry must follow its course. ”
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