According to the ministry, "the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently evaluating a potential link between certain health complications and AstraZeneca vaccine in people under the age of 55 who have received it."
"In light of this new information, administration of the Covishield vaccine to people under the age of 55 is temporarily on hold pending expert assessments," said the ministry.
The ministry highlighted that while the "EMA still considers the product to be safe and effective, [...] the possibility of a link between the vaccine and bleeding disorders and cerebral venous thrombosis cannot be completely ruled out at this time."
It also emphasized that no such complications from the AstraZeneca vaccine have been reported in Canada.
The ministry is keeping a close eye on developments.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.
A recent post on the agency's official Twitter account states that "the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will now be named Comirnaty, the Moderna vaccine will be named SpikeVax, and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria."
(1/4) Health Canada has authorized brand name changes for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.
— Health Canada and PHAC (@Health Canada and PHAC)
Health Canada asserted that "these are only name changes. There are no changes to the vaccines themselves."
Canada has four approved vaccines: Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), SpikeVax (Moderna), Vaxzervia (AstraZeneca), and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
"All COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada are proven safe, effective and of high quality," Health Canada wrote on Twitter.
"We, the undersigned, demand that the Government of Quebec publicly reject, as of now, the idea of a mandatory vaccination passport and that it commit itself to do like the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has done, that is to say, prohibit the obligation to present a vaccination passport in order to attend certain events and practice certain activities," the petition states.
Samson, a former Coalition Avenir Québec member who switched sides in June, held a press conference about the petition alongside Conservative Party of Quebec leader Eric Duhaime on August 12. They explained that the party had already collected 133,000 signatures on a previous petition that did not meet the criteria of the National Assembly.
"We reviewed the wording [...] So we're going to ask these hundreds of thousands of people to re-sign their petition on the National Assembly website, and we're going to invite Quebecers who don't agree with the vaccine passport to come forward as well," Samson said.
The petition, which was posted to the National Assembly website on August 12, had garnered more than 75,000 signatures at the time this article was published.
"Today, it is important to recognize the systemic racism against First Nations and Inuit within the health and social services network in order to put in place structuring actions to promote a more egalitarian and fairer relationship between these communities and nurses," said a statement by Luc Mathieu, president of the OIIQ.
The organization said that, after Echaquan's death, it made a "firm commitment" to prevent similar acts of racism by health care providers, as well as to rebuild trust with Indigenous communities to ensure they get the safe medical care they are entitled to.
In order to strengthen nurses' knowledge on Indigenous relations in health care, the OIIQ said it tasked its education committee with evaluating nurses' initial training in intercultural relations and cultural safety for First Nations and Inuit patients.
The organization also said it is taking necessary steps to implement continuing education activities for nurses on the same topics.
Furthermore, the Minister added, "vaccination status cannot be a factor of discrimination in hiring."
The news comes on the heels of the government's plan to introduce vaccine passports. The passports would allow double-vaccinated Quebecers to have access to certain non-essential services if there were to be another outbreak of new cases.
These services would include "high risk" activities like "gyms, team sports, bars, restaurants," as well as "moderate or low-risk activities involving a larger number of people."
The passport system would only be applied "once the possibility of having access to two doses of a vaccine has been offered to the entire Quebec population aged 12 and over," the health ministry said in a press release.