Canada’s top vaccine authority now recommends AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine be offered to those 30 and older.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations said the vaccine can be offered to those in the age group who don’t want to wait for an mRNA vaccine, with the benefits outweighing the risk. Those who want it must not have pre-existing symptoms or medical conditions.

The new guidance was expected from NACI earlier this week but was postponed. That was because new data on variants had come to the surface and needed to be fully analyzed.

The federal government has authorized the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in Canada for adults 18 and over. Health Canada has labelled the shot as safe and effective.

To date, there have been five cases in Canada of the rare but serious blood clotting condition associated with taking the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine. NACI said at the end of the day, provinces and territories are responsible for determining their vaccination policies, and that NACI’s guidance is considered but not mandated in their decision-making.

NACI Statement on Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia. (Supplied by the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations)