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Busiest travel day of the year at Edmonton's airport – CTV News

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EDMONTON —
School’s out, Christmas is just around the corner and thousands of people are preparing to leave town for the holidays.

Dec. 20 is expected to be the busiest day of the year at the Edmonton International Airport, with 25,000 passengers flying in and out.

Another 50,000 people will be dropping people off or welcoming them to Edmonton.

EIA has a new, bigger security screening area to move more travellers through more quickly, but officials are still encouraging people to give themselves extra time.

“It’s always better to be a little bit more relaxed, take some time and get to the airport early,” EIA Vice President of Operations and Infrastructure Steve Maybee said on CTV Morning Live Edmonton.

Flyers are being urged to get to the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international trip.

Maybee also recommended packing your own bag and checking the CATSA rules on what can be packed where.Flyers are being urged to get to the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international trip.

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Pfizer CEO says 'filled with emotion' as relative receives vaccine in Greece | Kathimerini – www.ekathimerini.com

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Albert Bourla, the Greek chairman and chief executive of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, took to social media on Monday to announce that his father-in-law just got vaccinated in Greece.

“This is my father-in-law, the 1st member of our family to receive his 1st dose of the vaccine,” he said in a post on Twitter accompanied by a photo.

“At 84, he is high-risk & graciously waited his turn in Greece. I’ve heard many stories from people filled with emotion at seeing their loved ones get vaccinated. Now, I know the feeling.”

Greek health authorities announced on Monday that a total of 176,689 people have been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab from the start of the vaccination campaign, of which 168,809 have received the first dose while the remaining 7,880 the second one as well.

A health Ministry official also said that the country received a batch of 100,000 Pfizer vaccines on Monday and expects 815,000 doses by the end of February and 1,415,000 by the end of March.

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Canada seeking reassurance as Europe mulls export controls on COVID-19 vaccines – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he remains confident in Canada’s vaccine supplies despite threats from Europe that it might impose export controls on vaccines produced on that continent.

Speaking to reporters outside his Ottawa residence Tuesday morning, Trudeau said the situation in Europe is worrisome but he is “very confident” Canada is going to get all the COVID-19 vaccine doses promised by the end of March. And despite the sharp decline in deliveries of a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech this month, he said Canada will still vaccinate all Canadians who want shots by the end of September.

“We will continue to work closely with Europe to ensure that we are sourcing, that we are receiving the vaccines that we have signed for, that we are due,” Trudeau said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement posted to Twitter Tuesday that Europe will set up a “vaccine export transparency mechanism” so Europe knows exactly how many doses are being produced in the world’s largest trading bloc and where they are being shipped.

“Europe invested billions to help develop the world`s first COVID-19 vaccines to create a truly global common good,” she said. “And now the companies must deliver.”

Europe is also getting smaller shipments from Pfizer than promised, because the company temporarily slowed production at its plant in Belgium so it can be expanded.

AstraZeneca has also warned Europe its first shipments of vaccine will be smaller than expected because of production problems.

But Europe, which invested more than C$4 billion in vaccine development, is demanding the companies fulfil their contracts on time.

“Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business,” said von der Leyen.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng said she had spoken to her European counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, about the situation and will keep working with Europe to keep the supply chain open.

“There is not a restriction on the export of vaccines to Canada,” Ng said in question period.

Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner accused Ng of playing games with her response, noting the issue isn’t that there is an export ban now, but that Europe is threatening to impose one.

With all of Canada’s current vaccine doses coming from Europe, “that’s a concern,” Rempel Garner said.

“If the Europeans ban exports of vaccines, what’s Plan B for Canada?” she asked.

Both Pfizer and Moderna are making doses of their vaccine in the U.S. and in Europe, but all U.S.-made doses are currently only shipped within the U.S.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump invoked the Defence Production Act last year to prevent export of personal protection equipment. He then signed an executive order in December demanding U.S.-produced vaccines be prioritized for Americans only and threatened to use the act to halt vaccine exports as well.

President Joe Biden has already invoked the act to push for faster production of PPE and vaccines. Though he has not specifically mentioned exports, Biden has promised 100 million Americans will be vaccinated within his first 100 days of office, making the prospects the U.S. shares any of its vaccine supply unlikely.

Canada has contracts with five other vaccine makers, but only two are on the verge of approval here. AstraZeneca, which has guaranteed Canada 20 million doses, needs to finish a big U.S. trial before Health Canada decides whether to authorize it.

Johnson and Johnson is to report results from its Phase 3 trial next week, one of the final things needed before Health Canada can make a decision about it. Canada is to get 10 million doses from Johnson and Johnson, but it is the one vaccine that so far is administered as only a single dose.

Trudeau said AstraZeneca isn’t supplying Canada from its European production lines. A spokeswoman for Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada will not say where the other vaccines are coming from because of the concerns about security of supplies.

AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson have set up multiple production lines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, India, Australia and Africa. Canada has no current ability to produce either those vaccines or the ones from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. It is entirely reliant on foreign production at the moment.

More than 113,000 people in Canada have received two full doses of either the Moderna or BioNTech vaccine. Another 752,000 have received a single dose.

But the reduction in Pfizer shipments to Canada forced most provinces to slow the pace of injections. Europe, Mexico, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia also have slowed their vaccination campaigns because of the supply limits.

Trudeau said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla assured him the full shipments will resume in mid-February, and that Canada will get its contracted four million doses by the end of March. He said he spoke to Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel Tuesday morning and was promised Moderna’s shipments of two million doses by March 31 are also on track.

MPs were scheduled to have an emergency debate on Canada’s vaccine program Tuesday night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021

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European Union aims to tighten its control of vaccine shipments – The Globe and Mail

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Priority patients wait to receive the AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine as they attend the NHS Nightingale North East hospital on Jan. 26, 2021 in Sunderland, England.

Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

The European Union plans to exert more control over the export of COVID-19 vaccines as part of a growing row with drug makers that threatens to disrupt vaccination programs in several countries including Canada.

The EU said Tuesday that it’s finalizing a proposal that will require pharmaceutical companies to register their vaccine exports from the bloc. The plan is expected to come into force later this week and it could lead to restrictions on exports.

The move is the latest twist in a dispute between EU officials and AstraZeneca over delays in shipments of the company’s vaccine, which has been developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford. However, any export-control measure would affect vaccine production by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which also have manufacturing facilities in Europe. Moderna’s vaccine is manufactured outside of the EU but final processing and distribution takes place within the bloc.

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All of Canada’s supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines comes from the companies’ European sites. Canada has yet to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is made in several locations including Belgium. The federal government has purchased 20 million doses, if it’s authorized by Health Canada, and shipments are expected to start in the second quarter of 2021.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau batted away any suggestion that the EU threats would affect vaccine shipments to Canada.

Mr. Trudeau said he spoke with executives at Pfizer and Moderna who assured him “that we are very much continuing to be on track for receiving our full doses of vaccines in the timelines provided.”

“It was very, very clear that the Canadian contracts that have been signed and the delivery schedule laid out will be respected,” he added.

Canada has purchased 40 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, which is made at a facility in Switzerland, according to Paul Monlezun, a spokesperson for Moderna. After initial production in Switzerland, which is not an EU member, the vaccine is bottled and packaged in Spain and shipped to Canada through Belgium.

The 40 million doses that Canada has bought from Pfizer are expected to come from the company’s Belgian plant.

A statement from Pfizer Canada said it’s critical that governments don’t impose export restrictions or other trade barriers on the vaccines. “We look forward to receiving further details on the EU proposal and assessing its impact on patients,” Pfizer spokesperson Christina Antoniou said Tuesday.

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The EU’s action highlights the mounting tension over lagging vaccine production. AstraZeneca and Pfizer have both announced production slowdowns in recent weeks, leaving many countries scrambling to meet vaccination targets.

Pfizer said recently that it was remodelling its plant in Belgium in order to nearly double its production to two billion doses this year. The company said the refurbishment would affect some shipments until mid-February, but it added that the allocation of doses to Canada and other countries “will balance out” by the end of March. Canada was hit particularly hard by the slowdown and received no Pfizer doses this week, and is only expecting 79,000 doses next week. Updated numbers for the rest of February have not yet been released.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is expected to be approved by EU regulators this week and health officials were counting on 80 million doses this quarter. However, last Friday, AstraZeneca said that because of production issues in Europe it would only be able to supply 31 million doses.

That enraged EU officials who have accused AstraZeneca of failing to properly explain the delay. “This new schedule is not acceptable to the European Union,” said Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. The EU “wants to know exactly which doses have been produced by AstraZeneca and where exactly so far and if or to whom they have been delivered.”

The EU and AstraZeneca will hold further talks on Wednesday to try to resolve the issue, but EU officials have made it clear they will be taking a tough line. The new regulations don’t amount to an export ban, but they will force drug makers to provide details about how many doses they manufacture in the EU and where they are shipped.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn wants the EU to go further and restrict exports altogether. “This is not about EU first; this is about Europe’s fair share,” he said.

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also indicated that the EU expects a return for its investment in vaccines. “Europe invested billions to help develop the world’s first COVID-19 vaccines,” Ms. von der Leyen said in a speech at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday. “And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations.”

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