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307 new COVID-19 cases in Sask.; 7929 vaccines delivered – CTV News

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REGINA —
The province of Saskatchewan reported 307 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. Due to a staffing issue, Saskatchewan was unable to report new recoveries or geographical locations for new cases. The updated information will be provided on Monday.

There were no new deaths reported on Sunday.

There are 187 people in hospital; 156 in inpatient care and 31 in intensive care.

The SHA processed 3,222 COVID-19 tests on Saturday.

SASK. VACCINATIONS

There have been 7,929 doses of COVID-19 vaccines delivered in Saskatchewan. The province noted that some vaccines delivered late Saturday may not have been reported in time.

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Canada’s economy worst on record since 1961 – The Tribune India

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Ottawa, March 3

Canada’s gross domestic product shrank 5.4 per cent in 2020, the worst year for the country’s economy since record keeping began in 1961, according to authorities.

In a statement on Tuesday, Statistics Canada said the country’s worst economic output was due to the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which shut down businesses and caused millions of people out of work in March and April of 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.

Canada’s gross domestic product, including the total value of all goods and services it produced, grew by 2.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2020, but that was nowhere near enough to offset the record-setting plunge it experienced during the first wave.

Since early summer last year, Canadian economic activity has slowly recovered.

The economy grew at an annualized rate of 9.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, down from an annualised growth rate of 40.6 per cent in the third quarter.

However, despite the better-than-expected result for the quarter as a whole, Statistics Canada said total economic activity in December 2020 was about 3 per cent below the pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

For comparison purposes, Canada’s economy contracted almost twice as much as the US did during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the latter seeing far more cases per capita.

For January 2021, Statistics Canada said its early estimate was for growth in the economy of 0.5 per cent, adding that wholesale trade, manufacturing and construction sectors led the increase while retail trade fell to start the year. — IANS

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Half a million AstraZeneca doses arrive in Canada amid confusion over its use – 680 News

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The first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are set to arrive in Canada on Wednesday as confusion persists over who should get it.

Canada is getting the largest number of deliveries the country has seen this week, including half a million doses of the newly-approved shot.

Health officials are facing pressure to efficiently distribute the AstraZeneca doses because 300,000 of the 500,000 doses set to arrive will expire by the first week of April.

The vaccine is the third approved in the county and was authorized for use Friday on all adults, including seniors, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is concerned there is limited data on how well the vaccine will work in older populations.

The NACI is not recommending the shot for anyone over the age of 65.

While all three approved vaccines are 100 per cent effective against death and hospitalization as a result of COVID-19, the NACI says the two mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna should be prioritized for Canadians over 65.

In a recent analysis in England, that study showed a single shot of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces the chance of needing hospital treatment by more than 80 per cent.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, says the message from Health Canada is actually consistent with the advisory committee. That message being that it’s preferable to give seniors the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which have proven in clinical trials to be more effective in guarding older people against COVID-19.

But Sharma says seniors shouldn’t wait for a Pfizer or Moderna shot if they have the opportunity to get the AstraZeneca shot sooner.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the NACI recommendations are not final.

“They will update as needed but this is what they recommend at this point in time,” said Tam on Tuesday.

Tam says all vaccines should be administered as soon as they arrive and that it is up to provinces to determine who is best placed to get which vaccines, but all are safe and effective

Ontario’s health minister said Tuesday that the province is expected to secure doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine next week but will follow a national panel’s advice not to inoculate anyone above 65 years old with the shot.

Christine Elliott announced that the province will make an announcement on the distribution of AstraZeneca’s vaccine soon, adding that the plan to administer the shots is still being finalized. Elliott said the province will wait for confirmation from the NACI on delaying the second dose before releasing details to the public.

Other provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, plan to follow the advisory committee’s advice and target the AstraZeneca vaccine at younger people working in front-line essential services or in high-risk settings like prisons.

Some provinces, including Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, are still mulling over the issue.

“All of these vaccines are 100 per cent good at preventing serious cases,” said epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan to CityNews. “So if your goal here is to avoid having scarred lungs and long-term disability and hospitalization and death, all the vaccines that Health Canada has authorized get that job done.”

Deonandan cautioned against comparing vaccines head to head.

“There may not be a decision to be made,” says Deonandan. “You’re offered what you’re offered.”

Canada is also getting 445,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week.

The country is on track to receive a total of 6.5 million vaccine doses by the end of March.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to give an update on the vaccine rollout Wednesday at a news briefing.


With files from the Canadian Press

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First doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Canada amid confusion over who should receive them – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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OTTAWA — The first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are set to arrive in Canada today as confusion persists over who should get it.

Canada is to receive 500,000 doses of the vaccine, the third approved for use in Canada, from the Serum Institute of India.

But questions about who should receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine continue amid conflicting guidance about its use.

Health Canada last week authorized its use for all adult Canadians but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended Tuesday that it not be administered to people 65 years of age or older.

The committee says there is limited data from clinical trials about how effective the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is for seniors and recommends that they be given priority for the two other vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – already greenlighted for use in Canada.

Both Health Canada and the committee stress no safety concerns have arisen in the clinical studies or among the millions of seniors who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries.

Indeed, Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, insists there’s no real contradiction between what her department and the advisory committee are saying: both agree that where possible, it’s preferable to give seniors the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which have proven in clinical trials to be more effective in guarding older people against COVID-19.

That said, Sharma says seniors shouldn’t wait for a Pfizer or Moderna shot if they can get an AstraZeneca jab sooner.

Real-world evidence, she says, shows the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective at preventing serious cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations and deaths.

Some provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, plan to follow the advisory committee’s advice and target the AstraZeneca vaccine at younger people working in front-line essential services or in high-risk settings like prisons.

Other provinces, including Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, are still mulling over the issue.

In addition to today’s shipment of AstraZeneca doses, Canada is also scheduled to receive 444,600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week.

With AstraZeneca added to Canada’s vaccine arsenal, the country is on track to receive a total of 6.5 million vaccine doses by the end of this month – half a million more than originally expected.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to give an update on the vaccine rollout today at a news briefing.

He’s also expected to announce significant new funding for academic research at dozens of universities across the country. The research to be funded won’t necessarily be pandemic-related.

The funding comes on top of some $1 billion the Trudeau government has plowed into research since COVID-19 started sweeping the country a year ago, in a bid to keep researchers working throughout the pandemic on all manner of projects that the government hopes will eventually help the economy rebound.

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