Britain’s medicines regulator has reported that 30 people who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed rare blood clots, up from five cases the agency disclosed last month.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said in an updated safety report issued late Thursday that out of 18.1 million vaccinations with the AstraZeneca jab, it had received a total of 22 reports of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, a sometimes fatal condition that occurs when clots form in veins that drain blood from the brain. The MHRA said it had also received eight reports of other clotting events coupled with low platelets, which can lead to heavy bleeding.
It had no similar reports from people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been used in about 11 million vaccinations.
The MHRA concluded that “on the basis of this ongoing review, the benefits of the vaccines against COVID-19 continue to outweigh any risks.”. It added that “all vaccines and medicines have some side effects. These side effects need to be continuously balanced against the expected benefits in preventing illness.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been called into question in several countries because of the blood clotting issue which has been found mainly in younger women. Norway has reported six cases of rare blood clots, including four who died, while Germany has seen 31 cases and nine deaths. The vaccine has been suspended for use in Norway and Denmark while health officials in Canada, France, Sweden and Germany have recommended that it should only be used in older people.
The European Medicines Agency and other regulators have yet to find a direct link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots and it has recommended that countries continue to use the shot. “This is a safe and effective vaccine,” Emer Cooke, the EMA’s executive director, told reporters last month. However, the EMA has recommended that the vaccine should carry a warning about possible links to severe blood clots so that health practitioners can be on the lookout for it.
“No medical intervention is ‘safe’, and the balance of benefit to risk is crucial,” Sir David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge said Friday. He added that the MHRA’s report equates to an average risk of less than one in 500,000. And he pointed out that “a month’s delay in vaccinating 500,000 people between 44 and 54 would be expected to lead to around 85 severe cases requiring hospitalisation, of which perhaps five would die.”
Adam Finn, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, said more researcher into the possible connection to blood was needed. “Nevertheless, the extreme rarity of these events in the context of the many millions of vaccine doses that have been administered means that the risk-benefit decision facing people who are invited to receive COVID19 vaccines is very straight forward: receiving the vaccine is by far the safest choice in terms of minimising individual risk of serious illness or death,” he said on Friday.
Britain has relied heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed at the University of Oxford, and the government has insisted that the shot is safe. The country has had one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the world and as of Thursday 31.1 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine, mostly the AstraZeneca jab.
The MHRA’s report, which covered vaccinations up to March 24, also examined reports of other side effects and it concluded that both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were safe. The reported side effects were “not unusual in comparison to other types of routinely used vaccines,” the agency said.
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Canadian Business During the Pandemic
In 2019 the world was hit by the covid 19 pandemic and ever since then people have been suffering in different ways. Usually, economies and businesses have changed the way they work and do business. Most of which are going towards online and automation.
The people most effected by this are the laymen that used to work hard labors to make money for there families. But other then them it has been hard for most business to make such switch. Those of whom got on the online/ e commerce band wagon quickly were out of trouble and into the safe zone but not everyone is mace for the high-speed online world and are thus suffering.
More than 200,000 Canadian businesses could close permanently during the COVID-19 crisis, throwing millions of people out of work as the resurgence of the virus worsens across much of the country, according to new research. You can only imagine how many families these businesses were feeding, not to mention the impact the economy and the GDP is going to bear.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said one in six, or about 181,000, Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating shutting down. The latest figures, based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and 16, come on top of 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020.
An estimate by the CFIB last summer said one in seven or 158,000 businesses were at risk of going under as a result of the pandemic. Based on the organization’s updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people could be out of work. A staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs.
Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research, said it was an alarming increase in the number of businesses that are considering closing.
“We are not headed in the right direction, and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision,”
He said in a statement.
“The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose, and the harder it will be for the economy to recover.”
In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic, the organization said.
The new sad research shows that this year has been horrible for the Canadian businesses.
“The beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, in a statement.
She called on governments to help small businesses “replace subsidies with sales” by introducing safe pathways to reopen to businesses.
“There’s a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams,”
“Let’s make 2021 the year we help small business survive and then get back to thriving.”
The whole world has suffered a lot from the pandemic and the Canadian economy has been no stranger to it. We can only pray that the world gets rid of this pandemic quickly and everything become as it used to be. Although I think it is about time, we start setting new norms.
Shopify shares edge up after falling on executive departures
By Chavi Mehta
(Reuters) -Shopify Inc shares edged higher on Thursday, recovering partially from the previous day’s fall, with analysts saying the news of planned senior executive departures may have limited impact due to the company’s deep talent pool.
Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday the company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all leave their roles.
“We remain confident it (Shopify) can continue to execute at a high level, despite the departures,” Tom Forte, analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co said, pointing to the company’s “deep bench of talented executives.”
Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the past year as many businesses went virtual during the COVID-19 lockdowns, turning it into Canada‘s most valuable company.
Shopify declined to comment further on Lutke’s statement suggesting current company leaders would step in to fill the three roles. After chief product officer Craig Miller left in September, Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.
The Ottawa-based company is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.
Jonathan Kees, analyst at Summit Insights Group, called the timing of the departures “a little alarming” but said the specific roles make it less concerning, given that the executives leaving are “more back-office roles.”
Lutke said each one of them had their individual reasons to leave, without giving details.
“I am willing to give Tobi’s explanation the benefit of the doubt,” Kees added.
Toronto-listed shares of Shopify were up 3.5% at C$1526.41 on Thursday, giving it a market value of C$188 billion ($150 billion). It ended down 5.1% on Wednesday.
“While we would refer to the departure of three high-level executives as ‘significant,’ we would not refer to it as a ‘brain drain,'” Forte added.
($1 = 1.2541 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Dan Grebler)
Almost half of Shopify’s top execs to depart company: CEO
By Moira Warburton
(Reuters) – Three of e-commerce platform Shopify’s seven top executives will be leaving the company in the coming months, chief executive officer and founder of Canada‘s most valuable company Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday.
The company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all transition out of their roles, Lutke said, adding that they have been “spectacular and deserve to take a bow.”
“Each one of them has their individual reasons but what was unanimous with all three was that this was the best for them and the best for Shopify,” he said.
The trio follow the departure of Craig Miller, chief product officer, in September. Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.
Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the last year as many businesses went virtual during COVID-19 lockdowns. It has a market cap valuation of C$182.7 billion ($146 billion), above Canada‘s top lender Royal Bank of Canada.
It is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.
“We have a phenomenally strong bench of leaders who will now step up into larger roles,” Lutke said, but did not name replacements.
Shopify said in February revenue growth would slow this year as vaccine rollouts encourage people to return to stores and warned it does not expect 2020’s near doubling of gross merchandise volume, an industry metric to measure transaction volumes, to repeat this year.
Chief talent officer, Brittany Forsyth, was the 22nd employee hired at Shopify and has been with the company for 11 years. She said on Twitter that post-Shopify she would be focusing on Backbone Angels, an all-female collective of angel investors she co-founded in March.
Shopify shares fell 5.1% while the benchmark Canadian share index ended marginally down.
($1 = 1.2515 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Aurora Ellis)