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B.C.'s third case of rare AstraZeneca-related blood clot reported in Island Health

A case of a rare blood clot linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine — the province’s third — has been reported in Island Health. The man, who in his 30s, is receiving treatment and recovering in hospital, provincial health officer Dr.
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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19 on Monday, May 31, 2021. GOVERNMENT OF B.C.

A case of a rare blood clot linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine — the province’s third — has been reported in Island Health. The man, who in his 30s, is receiving treatment and recovering in hospital, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.

The province’s first case of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT, was reported on May 6 in a woman in her 40s in Vancouver Coastal Health after she received her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca. She was recovering in hospital.

A second case was announced May 14 involving a man in his 40s in Fraser Health.

VITT has only been associated with AstraZeneca/Covishield (and Johnson & Johnson in the United States). If adverse events occur, it is usually four to 28 days after vaccination.

On Monday, the province reported 708 new cases of COVID-19 over three days — 258 on Saturday, 238 on Sunday and 212 on Monday. That includes 18 in Island Health, 140 in Vancouver Coastal, 394 in Fraser Health, 113 in Interior Health, and 42 in Northern Health.

On Monday, there were 2,953 active cases in B.C.. Of those, 249 were in hospital, including 78 in intensive or critical care. Another 11 deaths were reported: one person in their 40s, two in their 60s, six in their 70s, and two over age 80.

Henry cautioned that while the province is making headway vaccinating people, and case counts and hospitalizations are decreasing, new strains of the virus are circulating and outbreaks are still occurring. Anyone who may have contracted the virus over the long weekend could be starting to see symptoms now.

“We have seen a few new outbreaks in these recent days, and we all need to take our precautions to prevent more,” she said.

Six active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living and one in acute care were reported Monday.

Henry said easing of restrictions at long-term care homes will happen slowly. Even with most people vaccinated, there has been rapid transmission of highly spreadable variants, and not all residents and visitors have received their second doses, she said.

“We are not at a place yet where we can take off those restrictions in long-term care homes,” she said, noting masks will be required for the next few months. “We’re looking at least to July, then we can see where we are in terms of transmission in our community.”

Henry said 3.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., with 69 per cent of the adult population vaccinated, and just over half of eligible youth ages 12 to 17 have booked an appointment.

Henry, who stressed the need for people to get their second doses, said details of the province’s approach for second doses for those who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine will come Thursday.

Manitoba has said people who received AstraZeneca as a first dose can mix and match for the second, opting to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead of AstraZeneca.

Study results B.C. has been waiting for out of the United Kingdom have been delayed; Henry said the province is reviewing other data. It is also working out the presentation of risk-benefit data and operational logistics of providing the second doses.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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