UPDATE 1-Canada's Alberta province halts AstraZeneca vaccine first shots due to supply issue
Adds detail on decision, background
By Nia Williams
CALGARY, Alberta, May 11 (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Alberta has stopped administering first doses of the AstraZeneca AZN.L COVID-19 vaccine because of limited supply, a provincial government spokesman said on Tuesday.
"This decision is based on the fact that we are receiving no known future shipments of AstraZeneca at this time but are receiving large quantities of mRNA vaccines," Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan said in an email, referring to messenger RNA vaccines from Moderna MRNA.O and Pfizer/BioNTech PFE.N, BNTX.O.
Last week, Alberta reported its first case of a patient dying from a rare blood clot condition after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. There have been three such deaths in Canada. nL4N2MS0VJ
When asked if Alberta halting first doses of AstraZeneca was linked to concerns about side effects, McMillan said the decision was based on supply.
Alberta has administered approximately 255,000 first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The remaining supply of about 8,400 doses will be used as second doses.
The province is now receiving large and consistent shipments of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, with more than 236,000 doses arriving this week.
(Reporting by Nia Williams
Editing by Bill Berkrot)