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Canadian pharmacists 'disappointed,' worried NACI advice will stoke vaccine hesitancy

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization set off a firestorm of fear and anger Monday after saying mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are 'preferred' because viral-vector vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson carry a remote risk of blood clots
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Photo from The Canadian Press

The Canadian Pharmacists Association says advice from a national panel on vaccines is unhelpful and likely to make it harder to get enough people in the country vaccinated to end the pandemic.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization set off a firestorm of fear and anger Monday after saying mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are "preferred" because viral-vector vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson carry a remote risk of blood clots.

NACI, a panel of physicians and other vaccine experts, provided non-binding advice to provinces that the viral-vector vaccines should only be used on people over the age of 30, who are at higher risk of getting COVID-19.

Phil Emberley, a veteran pharmacist and acting director of professional affairs for the national pharmacists group, says he is "disappointed" with NACI's statements and is worried the advice will make more Canadians hesitate to get vaccinated.

He says when you weigh the risks that come with COVID-19 against the risks of any of the vaccines Canada has authorized, preventing the virus is always the better choice.

Emberley says he got the AstraZeneca vaccine himself three weeks ago and has no regrets or concerns that he should have held out for a different vaccine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2021.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly referred to CTV's political show as Power and Politics.

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