Over half of Canada’s AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses will be thrown away after the government was unable to find anyone inside or outside the country willing to take them.
Canada committed to donating nearly 18 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to lower-income countries a year ago. Almost 9 million doses had been delivered to 21 countries as of June 22.
Limited demand has, however, prevented Health Canada from finding anyone willing to take the additional doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In a statement, Health Canada says 13.6 million doses of the vaccine expired in the spring and will be disposed of.
Additionally, Canada donated 6.1 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine from 10 million doses promised for donation, but discarded another 1.2 million doses.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine’s popularity plummeted after studies indicated that younger recipients were at a higher risk of developing blood clots. In response, many Canadians actively sought out clinics offering alternative vaccine brands.
On March 29, 2021, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) advised against administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to patients under the age of 55 due to a higher risk of blood clots.
Most provinces began suspending AstraZeneca vaccine use as of May 20, 2021, citing either the increased risk of blood clots or supply shortages.
As reported by iPolitics, Canada secured its first 20 million doses from AstraZeneca for $8.18 a piece, more than double the price the US government paid.