However, the death over the weekend of a 40-year-old woman following a thrombotic episode, which is still under investigation by the EMA for its possible connection to the AstraZeneca jab, as well as other reported thrombotic episodes was among the arguments presented during the meeting as valid reasons to restrict the specific vaccine.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says the man, in his 40s, died after receiving a first dose of the vaccine in late April.
Yaffe said that Ontario has a total of 16 cases of thrombotic thrombocytopenia, of which 13 cases now meet the criteria for VITT.
Ontario paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a first dose on May 11 after administering almost a million doses due to an increased risk of blood clots.
Timelines for getting the second vaccine dose are uncertain due to a shortage occasioned by delays by Covax.More news: NY prosecutors probing Trump form grand jury
A spokeswoman for the health minister said many pharmacies and doctors would reach out to patients directly, and asked people to only contact participating pharmacies listed on the province's booking website.
"The risks associated with this vaccine are rare, but they are real", she said. "We have not heard of people dying because they did not get the second dose", he said.
Those who got their first shot of AstraZeneca between March 10 and March 19 became eligible to book their follow-up appointment on Tuesday but many have already taken to social media to complain after discovering that the pharmacy where they received their first shot is not administering second doses.
The recommended interval between AstraZeneca shots is at least 12 weeks, but the second injection is being offered to the first group of recipients after 10 weeks in Ontario to use up the province's stockpile.
One individual even said that she called a dozen GTA pharmacies in search of an appointment after being told that her neighbourhood pharmacy wasn't being allocated vaccines this time around.More news: European Union to cut air links with Belarus following flight diversion incident
Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Medical Officer of Health, said the difference in vaccine efficacy at 10 weeks as opposed to 12 weeks is negligible. "We took the advice that the best vaccine is the first one you're offered and we're more than happy to take the AstraZeneca, but now I feel we might fall through a crack here".
Earlier, CITF informed that over 300,000 slots for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine had been booked as of 12.56pm today, less than an hour after the registration opened to people aged under 60.
The province has said those who got their first dose of AstraZeneca after March 19 will be able to book their second in the near future, but no additional details have been provided so far.
Both jabs were nearly as effective two weeks after two doses were administered - Pfizer was 88% effective against the Indian variant while AstraZeneca was 60% effective.
"When it comes to what I understand is your suggestion that we alter the vaccine rollout programme for people in their 60s".More news: India's coronavirus death toll passes 300,000