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AstraZeneca says late-stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine were 'highly effective' in preventing disease – CBC.ca

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 AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed that its COVID-19 vaccine with Oxford University was up to 90 per cent effective in preventing disease.

The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine, AstraZeneca said.

The trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month apart was 90 per cent effective. A second regimen using two full doses one month apart was 62 per cent effective. The combined results showed an average efficacy rate of 70 per cent.

“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives,” Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said in a statement. “Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 per cent effective.”

AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late-stage results for its potential COVID-19 vaccine as public health officials around the world anxiously wait for vaccines that will end the pandemic that has killed almost 1.4 million people. Pfizer and Moderna last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95 per cent effective.

Yet unlike many of its rivals, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine does not have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it far easier to distribute in developing countries.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said the simple supply chain for AstraZeneca’s vaccine and the company’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the pandemic mean it will be affordable and available to people around the world.

“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” Soriot said.

The results come as COVID-19 infection rates are rising in most U.S. states and in many countries amid a resurgence of the virus that is once again prompting governments to shut down businesses and restrict social gatherings around the world. England is still in the middle of a four-week lockdown that has closed all non-essential shops, while in the U.S., the government’s top health agency has recommended that Americans not travel to visit family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday this week.

‘Great sense of relief’

Now that AstraZeneca has released its interim results, regulators must approve the vaccine before it can be widely distributed.

Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if it gains approval from the regulator.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at the news of the AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness.

He said just months ago, as the virus raged, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which have got high effectiveness . I would have given my eye teeth for.”

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BC records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths – Burns Lake Lakes District News

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B.C. public health officials reported 500 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, in line with recent results, as Fraser Health deals with an outbreak at Surrey Pretrial provincial prison.

Prisons and homeless shelters are among the priorities for B.C.’s immunization program after front-line health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care homes receive vaccine. There were 14 additional coronavirus-related deaths reported Wednesday, for a total of 1,104 since the pandemic began in B.C.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said recent test results show “our COVID-19 curve is trending in the right direction,” as vaccine delivery is expected to slow until early February. B.C. is approaching 100,000 vaccine doses given.

B.C. public health officials reported 584 new cases in the 24 hours up to Saturday, another 445 up to Sunday and 301 up to Monday, a lower total that generally reflects fewer test results completed on Sunday. There were 465 new cases on Tuesday.

The case distribution for Jan. 20 continues the recent pattern, with 216 cases in the Fraser Health region, 125 in Vancouver Coastal, 91 in Interior Health (Okanagan and Kootenay region), 35 in Northern Health and 32 on Vancouver Island.

There were two new outbreaks reported in the health care system, at Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert and Villa Cathay Care Home in Vancouver. Outbreaks at Guildford Seniors Village in Surrey, Maple Ridge Seniors Village, Mountainview Village in Kelowna and Village by the Station in Penticton have been declared over.

RELATED: Penticton, Kelowna outbreaks get COVID-19 clearance

RELATED: Virus spike in Fernie, North Okanagan seeing increase


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Province pushes on with huge revamp of health care amid pandemic – Winnipeg Free Press

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More than 1,600 workers battling the pandemic braced for more upheaval after the Manitoba government said it would forge ahead with the second wave of health-care restructuring.

Health Minister Heather Stefanson and Mental Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced the plan on Wednesday.

“Key information management and public health roles (will be) consolidated within Manitoba Health and Seniors Care, while an integrated mental health and addictions service (will be) established within Shared Health, Health and Seniors Care.”

“By establishing a solid foundation within Shared Health, we will be able to adopt new and improved ways of delivering care provincially, in ways that improve access to these vital services closer to home for many Manitobans,” Gordon said in a news release.

Responsibility will be given to Shared Health, or another entity to be established by government, for Cadham Provincial Laboratory, Selkirk Mental Health Centre, the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba; as well as some employees who currently work in the Department of Health and Seniors Care, the Department of Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery; and the Department of Central Services. 

The changes were identified by the 2018 health system transformation blueprint, the province said, and the transfer won’t take place before May 20.

The reorganization represents yet another stressful challenge for health-care and front-line workers, who are coping with the challenges of COVID-19, says the head of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union.

“It is very concerning that this government would trigger such large-scale disruption for health-care staff and operations in the middle of the ongoing pandemic,” union president Michelle Gawronsky said in an email.

“Many of the impacted members are focused on processing COVID-19 tests. Others are providing mental health and addictions treatment at a time when we know the need for these services has never been greater,” Gawronsky said. Health workers are busy keeping the system going while it is under tremendous strain, she said.

“It is simply unconscionable that the government would add the disruption, anxiety, and risk associated with implementing large-scale restructuring on our health-care system,” Gawronsky said.

Critics said the timing of the announcement and the restructuring — on a day when the news media is focused on the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden and during a pandemic — is telling.

“The government shouldn’t be using the pandemic as cover to try and sneak through significant changes to the health-care system they had planned long before COVID-19,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

He’s especially concerned about “turning the management of Cadham lab upside down during the pandemic.” 

“I don’t think they should be making these huge changes to the very office that is doing the testing for COVID,” said Kinew. “It’s an opportunity for more mistakes to creep into our pandemic response.” 

Pushing ahead with  “transformation” while COVID-19 is raging is “absolutely irresponsible and reckless,” Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said. The timing of the announcement, he said, suggests the Tories don’t want much publicity.

“It’s inauguration day in the United States. It’s pretty clear what’s going to be the lead story tomorrow… It’s not going to be the fact that the Pallister government, in the middle of a pandemic, is still pursuing more upheaval and more changes to the health-care system,” Lamont said.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 – Thompson Citizen

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The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 41,760 new vaccinations administered for a total of 692,899 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,828.264 per 100,000.

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There were 18,975 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 907,515 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 76.35 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,258 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,549 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.326 per 1,000. There were 2,400 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 13,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 62.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,684 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,910 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 37.257 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.64 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 5,344 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 9,175 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.402 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 23,000 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 39.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,704 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,436 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.379 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 17,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 58.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 10,207 new vaccinations administered for a total of 174,260 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 20.365 per 1,000. There were 16,575 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 237,125 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 73.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 13,784 new vaccinations administered for a total of 237,918 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.197 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 277,050 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.88 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 2,514 new vaccinations administered for a total of 20,265 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 14.717 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 46,290 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 43.78 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 2,658 new vaccinations administered for a total of 27,233 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.095 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 29,300 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 92.95 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 2,928 new vaccinations administered for a total of 95,243 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 21.636 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 101,275 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 5,756 new vaccinations administered for a total of 98,125 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.122 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 133,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 73.52 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,347 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 32.278 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 18.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,893 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 41.956 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 26.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,545 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 65.718 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 42.42 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 21, 2021.

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