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BC prepares for steep increase in COVID-19 vaccinations – Prince Rupert Northern View – Prince Rupert Northern View

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As B.C. public health officials subtract another year of age each day to ramp up COVID-19 mass vaccination, the groups admitted to the program get larger quickly.

As of Saturday, age 79 and up were eligible to call one of five regional health authority call centres, adding 30,630 people to the vaccination group. As of Monday, vaccination appointments open to B.C. residents age 78 and up, meaning another 34,254 are eligible to call for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment as of March 22.

Age 77 bookings open Tuesday, a group estimated to be 36,816. Age 76 on Thursday adds 38,117 and the age 75 group, opening Saturday March 27, represents 41,739. That’s a total of more than 181,000 people eligible this week, and the biggest groups, the back end of the post-war baby boom population age 60 and up, are still to come.

RELATED: Here’s how to book by age, and what information you need

The decision to open an age group each day is to smooth the flow of phone calls to centres that were briefly overwhelmed as community vaccinations opened for age 90 and up in early March. Fraser Health, with the largest population and highest coronavirus transmission rate, has the only working online booking system for appointments, but that changes in early April to prepare for the peak of B.C.’s largest mass vaccination.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the vaccination team have targeted April 6 to begin taking online registration in Northern Health, Interior Health, Island Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, in addition to the call centres. They expect to book more than 420,000 appointments for the age-based program by April 18.

The parallel program to target supplies of the more portable AstraZeneca vaccine to priority work groups is also ramping up quickly. Fraser Health received 22,500 doses to immunize people in 71 food processing plants, 48 farm and greenhouse operations and any industrial sites with outbreaks.

Northern Health’s 15,000 doses are mainly for five industrial projects using camps: Coastal GasLink, LNG Canada, B.C. Hydro’s Site C, the Trans Mountain twinning project and Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kemano T2 tunnel project.

Interior Health gets 6,500 doses for people in three industrial camps, 34 food processing sites and six farms or nurseries, while Island Health is assigned 1,000 doses for four large food production facilities.

Vancouver Coastal has 16,000 doses for 53 food processing facilities, six industrial sites with a history of COVID-19 clusters, five group staff housing sites at Whistler, and thousands of temporary foreign workers who arrive and go into isolation at hotels in Richmond.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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COVID cases in Ontario could spike to 30,000 per day by June

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TORONTO (Reuters) – New cases of COVID-19 in Canada‘s most populous province could rise more than six fold, topping 30,000 per day by early June if public health measures are weak and vaccination rates remain flat, a panel of experts advising the province of Ontario said on Friday.

Even if measures to control the virus are “moderate,” the number of patients in Ontario ICUs could reach 2,000 in May, up from 695 on Friday.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors last week they may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive intensive care.

 

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Chris Reese)

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Moderna sees shortfall in Britain COVID vaccine shipments, EU deliveries on track

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ZURICH (Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Moderna expects a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain hitting second-quarter delivery quantities for Britain and Canada, though European Union– and Swiss-bound shipments are on track, a spokesperson said.

The delays, first announced on Friday when Canada said Moderna would be delivering only about half the planned 1.2 million doses by the end of April, come as Switzerland’s Lonza ramps up three new production lines to make active ingredients for Moderna vaccine supplies outside of the United States.

“The trajectory of vaccine manufacturing ramp-up is not linear, and despite best efforts, there is a shortfall in previously estimated doses from the European supply chain,” Moderna said in a statement.

Lonza didn’t immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment on any issues in its production.

 

(Reporting by John Miller; editing by David Evans)

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Moderna says vaccines to Canada to be delayed due to Europe shortfall

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(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Friday a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain will lead to a delay in deliveries to some countries including Canada.

The drugmaker would be delivering only 650,000 doses by April end as opposed to 1.2 million, Canada‘s Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in a statement.

She said one to two million doses of the 12.3 million doses scheduled for delivery by Moderna in the second quarter would be delayed until the third.

Moderna officials in Europe did not immediately comment on the reason for the delays or give the total number of countries that would be impacted.

“Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process and a number of elements, including human and material resources have factored into this volatility,” said Patricia Gauthier, an executive at Moderna Canada.

Canada has distributed a total of 2.82 million doses of the Moderna vaccine as of April 14 and 12.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in total.

Moderna has been aiming to deliver 700 million to 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 globally this year, including from plants in Europe and the United States.

Swiss contract drug manufacturer Lonza makes active ingredients for Moderna’s vaccine in Visp, but it was still ramping up three new production lines that once operational would be able to produce 300 million shots annually.

The current supply, demand and distribution landscape has led the drugmaker to make adjustments in the expected second-quarter deliveries, Gauthier said.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru, Allison Martell in Toronto and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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