A 54-year-old woman has died in Canada after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, the first fatality linked to the drug in the country, provincial authorities announced Tuesday.
“I’m sad to know that a healthy 54-year-old woman… died because she was vaccinated. It’s hard to take,” Francois Legault, the premier of Quebec, told a news conference.
The French-speaking province’s chief public health officer Horacio Arruda said life-saving treatments did not work and the unidentified patient died of cerebral thrombosis after being vaccinated.
But he cautioned that the death should not change the government’s recommendations to use the vaccine for those over 45 years old.
“We knew about serious complications, there was one in 100,000 (doses administered). But we must remember that, to date, we have had more than 400,000 people who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca,” Quebec health minister Christian Dube added.
As of last Friday, just over 1.1 million AstraZeneca doses had been administered nationwide.
Only four other cases of blood clots associated with low platelets have been reported in the country, and each patient recovered.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received an AstraZeneca shot on Friday.
On Tuesday, the Canadian leader said about 60 soldiers had been deployed to overwhelmed hospitals in Nova Scotia to help care for critical patients.
The day before about 30 army nurses and health technicians were sent to reinforce hospital staff in Ontario, which is struggling with a new wave of infections led by variants.
In Quebec, which has suffered the most COVID deaths of any region in the country, the latest data showed rates of infections were slowing, allowing the government to announce it was pushing the start of a nightly curfew in Montreal from 8 pm to 9:30 pm (0130 GMT) starting next Monday.