COVID-19 Information

Important Message from AAMAC's Medical Advisory Committee for Adult Patients

Please go ahead and get the COVID vaccine provided you do not have other contraindications from the point of view of your other doctors.  Please be aware that we do not know whether the vaccine is fully effective in patients with blood disorders or receiving immunosuppressive medications (eg. cyclosporine).  Therefore, even after vaccinated, you and the people in your bubble should continue to follow COVID precautions as outlined by the Public Health authorities.  Anyone in your bubble who is eligible for vaccination should be vaccinated if possible, provided they have no contraindications of their own.    This advice applies to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.  Any newer vaccines will need to be discussed once they become available.

AAMAC Webinar – Questions & Answers Covid-19 Vaccines held on February 20, 2021

Here is the recording of AAMAC’s town hall meeting led by Nicole Saba, one of AAMAC’s Board Members.

The webinar focused on:

  • Immunology & Immunity;
  • Approaches to Vaccines;
  • COVID-19 vaccines in Canada; and
  • Bone marrow failure patients.

Please Note: we do not have all the data yet but we do recommend you to talk to your doctors

Click here for the COVIDTrends website referred to in the webinar

Vaccine Updates

What’s new in vaccines?

Since our webinar on COVID-19 vaccines, there have been significant developments on COVID-19 vaccines in Canada. On February 26th, Health Canada approved the ChAdOx1-S vaccine (also known as the AstraZeneca Vaccine). This vaccine was developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and has two approved manufacturers as follows:

  1. AstraZeneca
  2. Serum Institute of India (COVISHEILD)

Unlike the single-stranded RNA (mRNA) technology used by Moderna and PfizerBiontech, AstraZeneca uses a vaccine that uses a double-stranded DNA. This genetic material carries the same instruction for the Coronavirus spike protein as the mRNA vaccines. The DNA is inserted into a harmless virus well known to scientists (adenovirus). The adenovirus acts as a “vector,” or vehicle to deliver the DNA. This technology is commonly referred to as a Viral Vector Vaccine. There is no risk of the DNA integrating into our own DNA.

For more information on the use of this vaccine, refer to https://covid-vaccine.canada.ca/info/astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-en.html

Another Viral Vector Vaccine using a similar approach, Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, was approved in Canada on March 5, 2021. For more information on this vaccine, refer to https://covid-vaccine.canada.ca/info/janssen-covid-19-vaccine-en.html

Reports of clotting following the AstraZeneca Vaccine?

The World Health Organization and Canada do not believe that the recent news of clotting is related to the use of this vaccine. Over the last couple of days, several European countries are resuming vaccination with this vaccine.

You may follow Canada’s monitoring efforts by visiting this website: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/drugs-vaccines-treatments/vaccines/astrazeneca/monitoring.html

Other important resources from trusted websites:

  1. How Viral Vector Vaccines work (source: Centers for Disease Control)
  2. Vaccine Safety: reports in Canada

Canada pauses the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine
Update – March 29 2021

New research has emerged from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in Germany reporting adverse events following the AstraZeneca vaccine. As a result, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has issued a statement on March 29th stating that:
“…AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should not be used in adults under 55 years of age at this time while the safety signal of Vaccine-Induced Prothrombotic Immune Thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) following vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is investigated further.”

You may view the full statement by clicking here.

Already vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine-Induced Prothrombotic Immune Thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) following vaccination remains extremely rare but it is a good idea remain vigilant. VIPIT has two main features:

  1. Occurs between 4 and 20 days following vaccination
  2. Low platelets

Signs of VIPIT may include

  • breathlessness,
  • pain in the chest or stomach,
  •  swelling or coldness in a leg,
  •  severe or worsening headache or blurred vision after vaccination,
  • persistent bleeding,
  • multiple small bruises, reddish or purplish spots, or blood blisters under the skin.

Please remember to always consult your healthcare professional for questions or concerns.

Your Questions About COVID-19, Answered

Dr. Victor Leung, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Providence Health Care, answers staff questions about COVID-19.

Useful Links

Disclaimer

This web site contains links to other sites. AAMAC is not responsible for the accuracy of information found on other sites and makes no representations regarding the content of these links. Links to external websites are not intended to imply an endorsement of the content of these sites. We encourage users of this website to critically evaluate information found on the Internet and to verify information by using many sources. Consult your doctor on all medical and health decisions. AAMAC welcomes links to its site; other organizations and individuals may freely link to us.