February 28, 2021

Health Canada Approves New COVID-19 Vaccine from AstraZeneca

On February 26, 2021, Health Canada authorized the use of a third COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1-S). This new vaccine is a viral-vector based vaccine which uses a harmless virus, in this case an adenovirus, to deliver the genetic information (DNA) that instructs the body on how to make the surface spike protein of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This process allows the body to trigger an immune response without exposing the person to the live virus. The initial indication of the AstraZeneca vaccine is for use in people 18 years of age or older.

Health Canada approval was based on an interim analysis of pooled data from ongoing multicentre, placebo-controlled trials which involved 8,895 participants who were randomized equally to receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine 4-12 weeks apart. The trial demonstrated the vaccine is 62% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection beginning two weeks after the second dose. Overall, there were no major safety concerns identified in the data reviewed.

The MS Society of Canada is working with global MS organizations, researchers and healthcare providers to provide more specific advice for COVID-19 vaccinations for people living with MS and will continue to provide updated information. Individuals with MS are encouraged to speak with their neurologist and healthcare teams about the COVID-19 vaccines.


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