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Surrey teachers, staff to receive Pfizer vaccines Monday amid AstraZeneca concerns

Last Updated Mar 29, 2021 at 12:46 pm PDT

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

NACI has recommended suspension of use of AstraZeneca vaccine in people under 55

Surrey teachers, staff unsure of what vaccine will be administered after Monday

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Surrey teachers and staff who have appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday have been informed they’ll get the Pfizer shot, not the AstraZeneca one.

This comes amid concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine and its possible links to rare but serious blood clots.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has advised provinces to stop giving that vaccine to people in that age group due to safety concerns.

Many European countries suspended the use of this vaccine when reports of blood clots first arose, but the European regulator, World Health Organization and Health Canada have previously all determined the shot is safe.

Matt Westphal, the president of the Surrey Teachers Association, says he’s already hearing from members who received the AstraZeneca vaccine last week and have concerns.

“Several thousand people working in Surrey schools and a lot of those people have contacted me and are very worried about what this means. The other concern is what the implications are for the vaccination program, because we think that’s a really important piece of protection for people in Surrey schools,” he explained.

Westphal says many who have received the AstraZeneca shot are feeling uneasy amid reports of blood clots.

There’s no confirmation on what vaccine teachers and school staff will receive beyond Monday at this time.

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Dr. Joss Reimer with the Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force has said the chances of someone developing one of these rare clots is in the range of one in 100,000 to one in a million.

Westphal admits the current situation has many on edge.

“It’s a big concern. It is not a good feeling that some people have been on a roller coaster,” he told NEWS 1130.

Earlier this month, B.C. had said priority groups — including K-12 teachers, child care staff, and grocery store workers — would receive the AstraZeneca shot.