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Alaskan health worker stable after allergic reaction to Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine – Global News

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An Alaskan health worker had a serious allergic reaction after getting Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, but is now stable, public health authorities said on Wednesday.

The adverse reaction in the person, minutes after taking the Pfizer shot on Tuesday, was similar to two cases reported last week in Britain.

Britain’s medical regulator has said that anyone with a history of anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reactions to a medicine or food, should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more:
Health Canada warns people allergic to COVID-19 vaccine ingredients as cases surpass 450K

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that most Americans with allergies should be safe to receive the vaccine. It said only people who have previously had severe allergic reactions to vaccines or ingredients in this particular vaccine should avoid getting the shot.

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The Alaskan patient did not have a history of allergic reactions, Lindy Jones, the director of the emergency department in the capital Juneau where the patient was treated, told reporters at a virtual briefing.

The symptoms in the middle-aged patient resolved after being administered with allergy treatment epinephrine, Jones said.

The patient was still in Juneau’s Bartlett Regional Hospital being monitored on Wednesday.


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Coronavirus: FDA commissioner comments on reported allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines


Coronavirus: FDA commissioner comments on reported allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines

Pfizer said the vaccine comes with a clear warning that appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in case of anaphylaxis, but it would update the labeling language for the vaccine if needed.

Administration of the vaccine began Monday in the United States, following emergency-use authorization last week. Early doses have been set aside for healthcare workers and nursing home residents

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Former FDA Chief Scientist Jesse Goodman called the allergic reaction concerning but said that more information must be known in order to better understand the risks.

“What we need to know is what the denominator is — how many doses have been given? Is this going to be something that’s going to be seen at a higher incidence with this vaccine than with others?” Goodman said. “We’re going to have to find out those things to inform whether that changes recommendations or how this is used.”

© 2020 Reuters

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Canada will experience 'temporary' delays with Pfizer shipments: Anand – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Over the next month Canada will be experiencing a “temporary” delay in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments due to the pharmaceutical giant’s expansion plans at its European manufacturing facility, with the shortage resulting in an average of 50 per cent of coming doses delayed each week.

While shipments will continue in the coming weeks, the amount of doses in them will be lessened, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of doses.

“Pfizer has confirmed that Canada’s deliveries will be impacted for the next four weeks. We will see an average reduction over this timeframe of 50 per cent of expected deliveries. There will minimal impact next week… The most profound impact will be in the week of January 25,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Canada’s logistical rollout. 

This setback to Canada’s short-term COVID-19 vaccine delivery schedule means the number of doses going to each province and territory will have to be readjusted. Fortin said that the allocations will begin to scale back up in the first two weeks of February, before returning to the size of doses originally anticipated. 

Canada was planning on receiving between 124,800 and 366,600 Pfizer doses every week between now and the end of February, as part of the plan to have six million doses total from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March when Phase 1 ends.

The delivery for the week of Jan. 25, which Fortin said is likely to see the largest reduction, was set to be 208,650 doses. If that’s reduced by half, Canada will receive 104,325 Pfizer doses that week, which is fewer than the forecasted allocation received this week.

“In my conversation this morning with Pfizer, it was very clear that we’re are still correct in our planning assumption to receive approximately four million doses of Pfizer by March 31,” Fortin said,

Fortin said that knew the company would at some point need to scale-up their manufacturing to ramp-up its mass production, but the news of the looming construction project was brought to the federal government’s attention in the last 24 hours, according to Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos.  

Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced the delay on Friday, saying all nations who are receiving vaccines from this Pfizer facility will be receiving fewer doses.

“It is a temporary reduction, it’s not a stoppage… We will make up those doses,” Anand said.

Addressing the setback during his Rideau Cottage address on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that shipments have largely been ahead of schedule so far, but that “with an undertaking this historic, it’s only to be expected that there will be a few bumps along the way.”

Norway, which is also receiving Pfizer doses from its Europe facilities has announced that “for some time ahead” their deliveries will be reduced. In the coming week their shipment will be reduced by approximately 18 per cent.

“The reduction is due to a reorganisation at Pfizer in connection with an upgrade of production capacity… It is not yet clear how long it will take before Pfizer is up to maximum production capacity again,” said the statement published by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. 

The government sought to ensure that all countries who will be impacted, will be “equitably treated” in terms of delivery reductions, according to Anand. Fortin confirmed later Friday that this will be the case, with all seeing deliveries reduced by 50 per cent on average.

Anand said that while Canada is expecting to be able to catch up, the delay is “unfortunate.”

“However such delays and issues are to be expected when global supply chains are stretched well beyond their limits,” Anand said.

By end of the day Friday, the federal government will have distributed a total of 929,000 doses of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines, around 84 per cent of which have been administered.

WON’T IMPACT PHASE 2  

The plan is to receive “more than” one million doses of approved vaccines every week, on average, starting in April with Phase 2. 

Trudeau said that while this issue is out of Canada’s hands, the country “must still get ready for the ramp-up,” in Phase 2. 

Fortin said the delays “will not change our second quarter goals,” though he could not guarantee future delays. He said he understands and feels the “disappointment,” but “we need to move forward.”

He committed to keep all key stakeholders, and Canadians appraised of any future delivery schedule changes. 

The ongoing initial vaccination stage has seen Canada pushing to properly allocate and prioritize key groups like residents and staff in long-term care homes as well as front-line health-care workers. 

In this first stage of the vaccine campaign, Canada has seen both doses sitting in freezers as well as provinces saying they are running short, while those on the front line have sought to sort out who should and shouldn’t be receiving shots at this time.

“It was with precisely these types of issues in mind that Canada pursued the aggressive procurement strategy that we did,” Anand said. “This approach of ensuring diversity and volume months ago is what now gives us flexibility and margins to remain on track in difficult times.” 

Asked whether Canada will be looking to revisit their decision to not procure additional Moderna doses to make up the shortage over the next few weeks, Fortin said the amount scheduled to arrive from that company will stay the same.

As previously reported, the additional 16 million Moderna doses that the federal government left on the table in talks with that company would not be arriving until late 2021. 

As for whether Canada looked into being able to receive Pfizer shipments from the  United States facility, Fortin said that the federal government looked into it, but for now Canada’s line of doses will continue to come exclusively from the European facility.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu added that because as part of the regulatory approval granted to Pfizer, Health Canada approves the manufacturing sites as well as the vaccine itself.

“So, should we procure from even the same company a different site, then there would need to be review of the manufacturing data,” she said. 

Several federal officials sought to reassure Canadians Friday that the country remains on track to vaccinate everyone who wants to be, by the end of September.   

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Pfizer shortage will have 'significant' impact in immediate period, says B.C. health minister – CBC.ca

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British Columbia’s health minister says the reduction in shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Canada will have a significant effect, but just in the immediate period.

Adrian Dix said the limited supply of vaccine because of a delay of shipments announced by the pharmaceutical giant will affect vaccination plans through February and March in B.C.

The shortage means the province will receive about half of the 50,000 doses it was supposed to get through that period, Dix said at a news conference Friday.

“And obviously, any time we get reports that we’re going to get more vaccine, we’re happy,” he said. “And any time we get reports that we’re going to get less vaccine, we’re not as happy.”

The shortage could mean that health officials have to revisit the 35-day gap between providing the first and second doses of the vaccine, he said.

“So, what it means for British Columbia is it’ll have some effect, some significant effect, on this stage of the priority one groups that we’ve laid out over when they get their doses,” he said. “And a contributing factor to that is the discussion of second doses and when they come forward.”

Hopes for ‘a small blip’

The province has concentrated distribution of its first doses of vaccine to front-line health-care workers, those working and living in long-term care facilities and First Nations communities.

The World Health Organization recommends the doses of vaccines be given 21 to 28 days apart. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said B.C.’s decision for a 35-day gap is safe and would allow for more people to get their vaccine.

The province reported 509 new COVID-19 cases on Friday for a total of 60,117 infections in British Columbia.

It also reported an additional nine deaths, bringing the number of fatalities to 1,047.

Almost 76,000 residents have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far.

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Friday there would be an “unfortunate” delay where only half of Canada’s promised COVID-19 vaccine doses by Pfizer-BioNTech will arrive in the next month. The delay is caused by production issues at a plant in Belgium.

Dix said there’s no change in the amount of Moderna allocation that the province is receiving.

The premier and health officials will have further announcements about proceeding with vaccination plans in the coming week, he said.

“It’s our hope that this is just a small blip in what’s happening,” Dix said. “But regardless, with the change in circumstances, we’ll have to get organized around that change.”

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B.C. faces tough choices as near-term Pfizer vaccine shipments cut in half – Global News

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British Columbia health officials are working to determine how to prioritize who gets a COVID-19 immunization, amid a reduction in shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine they admit will have a significant effect.

Pfizer has announced a temporary delay in shipments of the vaccine as it scales up its European production centre.

Read more:
‘Temporary delay’ chops Canada’s deliveries of Pfizer vaccine in half for four weeks

That means that the 50,000-dose shipment British Columbia was expecting in February will be slashed in half.


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Ottawa reassures Canadians after announcement of COVID-19 vaccine delay


Ottawa reassures Canadians after announcement of COVID-19 vaccine delay

“In some sectors the delivery will be delayed and that is just the reality we face,” Dix told Global News on Friday.

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“What it will really affect is the February and March period … it obviously impacts the priority groups and second doses as well.”

Read more:
Pfizer vaccine delay a ‘blow,’ will affect Alberta’s vaccine schedule: health minister

Dix added that there was no interruption in the supply of the Moderna vaccine, and that the delay would have little effect on Pfizer shipments next week.


Click to play video 'Focus BC: Vaccine rollout, long term care strategy during the pandemic'



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Focus BC: Vaccine rollout, long term care strategy during the pandemic


Focus BC: Vaccine rollout, long term care strategy during the pandemic

In an interview with Global’s Focus BC, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said her team was working to determine who will and won’t get their shot in that time period.

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Officials must weigh whether to skip some front-line workers who are still waiting for their shot, or to extend the time period between when each person receives their first and second dose.

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Pfizer guidelines call for the doses to be administered 21 days apart, while Canada’s vaccine advisory committee has recommended vaccines be given a maximum of 42 days after the first.

Quebec is considering spreading the doses by as many as 90 days.

Read more:
Coronavirus: New vaccine appointments paused in Manitoba as Pfizer announces delay

“People need to be reassured that even after 48 days and longer, it does not just drop off dramatically,” Henry said.

“We will look at how much vaccine is coming in, how many people are due to get their vaccine in that week (when) we will have less, and then we will have to make decisions on we have to optimize who gets vaccine at that time.”


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How will I know it’s my turn to get the vaccine? Your COVID-19 questions answered


How will I know it’s my turn to get the vaccine? Your COVID-19 questions answered

Henry said the silver lining of the temporary delay in doses was that the work Pfizer is doing at its plant will allow it to produce more vaccine down the road, some of which will come to British Columbia.

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As of Friday, B.C. had given at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to nearly 76,000 people.

The province has concentrated distribution of its first doses of vaccine to front-line health-care workers, those working and living in long-term care facilities and First Nations communities.

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Friday the issues at Pfizer’s Belgium plant would result in an be an “unfortunate” situation where Canada would see its expected shipment of vaccine in February cut in half.

— With files from Richard Zussman and the Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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