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Canada has now given enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover 1 per cent of the population – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Canada has surpassed one per cent of the country’s total population.

There had been 387,899 vaccinations given in Canada as of end-of-day Tuesday, according to data compiled by CTV News. That’s equivalent to 1.021 per cent of the population.

That does not mean more than one per cent of Canadians have been vaccinated, as some of those 378,899 vaccinations have been recipients’ second doses. The two vaccines approved for use in Canada both involve two shots, given weeks apart.

The one-per-cent milestone was achieved 29 days after the first vaccinations were administered in Canada.

At that pace, it would take 5,800 days to give every Canadians two doses of vaccine, meaning the final shots would be given in 2036.

However, politicians and public health leaders have vowed to speed up the process. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said repeatedly that his goal is to have vaccines administered to every Canadian who wants them by September, and that between 40 and 50 per cent of the Canadian population could be vaccinated by the end of June.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist affiliated with the University of Toronto, told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday that, while Canada has “picked up the pace” on vaccine deployment, he would like to see a speedier rollout.

“Yes, things are definitely better, but you cannot have vaccines sitting in freezers. This is a crisis. You’ve got to get these into arms as quickly as possible,” he said.

“It’s the middle of January. We should be a well-oiled machine at this point in time.”

The process could also be accelerated if Health Canada gives the green light to the vaccine candidate manufactured by Johnson and Johnson, which can be administered in one dose. The government has paid to secure up to 38 million doses of this vaccine candidate, should it be approved for use here. Any approval is likely at least several weeks off; the latest report is that the company may seek European lawmakers’ OK next month.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 548,950 doses of the two vaccines had been distributed as of Jan. 7. That means that just over 70 per cent of those doses had been administered as of Jan. 12.

The government expects to ramp up its distribution efforts over the coming weeks, forecasting hundreds of thousands of doses being given to provinces and territories weekly, rising to more than 600,000 doses by the last week of February.

Even with that increased pace, public health experts say it will take some time for the effects of the vaccination program to show up in daily COVID-19 case counts.

“If we are able to vaccinate everyone in long-term care in an expedited manner, we will start to see a reduction in deaths – and maybe we’ll start to see that as early as February,” Bogoch said, adding that the number of cases in the country could then start to decrease “as we enter spring.”

Canada’s vaccine rollout to date lags behind that of other major Western nations, according to Our World in Data. Even after adjusting for population, the United States has been able to vaccinate its citizens at 2.7 times Canada’s rate, while the United Kingdom has done so at more than four times our rate.

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These are Canada's fastest growing communities as cities see record exodus – CTV News

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TORONTO —
In her 40 years in Halifax real estate, agent Sandra Bryant has never seen as many buyers flocking to town shopping for homes as she did in 2020.

“It was my best year ever,” Bryant told CTVNews.ca on Tuesday.

The surging demand has sparked bidding wars in a city where low prices and glacial growth were once the norm. Now Bryant says she’s seeing a record-breaking number of sales, particularly among young out-of-towners from Toronto seeking a different pace of life in picturesque Atlantic Canada.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Bryant said. “I always knew it was an incredible place to be.”

Halifax saw its population grow by two per cent last year, making it the second-fastest growing community in Canada, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo in Ontario tied Halifax with two per cent growth. The only city to grow faster was Oshawa, Ont., a suburban community on the outskirts of Toronto that grew by 2.1 per cent.

At the same time, Toronto and Montreal saw a record-breaking loss of people between July 2019 and July 2020. Statistics Canada said this decisive shift away from cities will be “an important trend to monitor.”

“Personal health, the ability to work remotely, and higher housing costs are among the most important factors contributing to the decision of many Canadians to continue (or to no longer continue) living in large urban centres hardest hit by the pandemic,” wrote the report’s authors.

The report offers a snapshot of what real estate agents have been seeing on the ground for months: young couples once priced out of cities now have the freedom to look for properties elsewhere, thanks to the shift to working from home. Low interest rates have made buying a home even easier.

Lauren Haw, CEO of Zoocasa, a real estate agency that offers market analysis, said the desire for more square footage is tempting urbanites to consider smaller communities where their money goes further.

“People who said, ‘I’m gonna buy this $600,000 one-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto,’ are now saying, ‘I can work from home in Barrie, Ancaster, Guelph or London.’ And people in London are doing the same and moving to Strathroy and Woodstock,” Haw said in an earlier interview.

In Oshawa, which leads the country in population growth, agents have seen stunning competition. In one recent case, a townhouse listed for $550,000 received 39 offers, according to broker Paul Baird.

“This time last year, maybe you’d get a couple offers because the market was starting to heat up. Two years ago in 2019, you’d be lucky to get an offer in the first week on the market. It just took a lot longer to sell a house. And then, all of a sudden, the demand just surged,” he said.

The reason for these bidding wars is simple: “There’s just too much demand and not enough supply,” Baird said.

The closest precedent to today’s demand, Baird said, was in 2017 when investors began competing for properties in Oshawa, sometimes buying up multiple properties at once. These days, the typical profile of buyers is much different.

“I think a lot of the people we see now are just trying to buy their first house,” he said.

According to Statistics Canada, the communities with the highest population growth rates are:

  • Oshawa (2.1 per cent)
  • Halifax (2 per cent)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge (2 per cent)
  • Kelowna (1.9 per cent)
  • Calgary (1.9 per cent)
  • Saskatoon (1.9 per cent)
  • Moncton (1.8 per cent)
  • Edmonton (1.8 per cent)
  • Barrie (1.8 per cent)
  • Belleville (1.6 per cent)
  • Ottawa-Gatineau (1.6 per cent)
  • London (1.6 per cent)
  • Lethbridge (1.5 per cent)
  • Trois-Rivières (1.5 per cent)
  • Guelph (1.5 per cent)
  • Sherbrooke (1.5 per cent)

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These are Canada's fastest growing communities as cities see record exodus – CTV News

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TORONTO —
In her 40 years in Halifax real estate, agent Sandra Bryant has never seen as many buyers flocking to town shopping for homes as she did in 2020.

“It was my best year ever,” Bryant told CTVNews.ca on Tuesday.

The surging demand has sparked bidding wars in a city where low prices and glacial growth were once the norm. Now Bryant says she’s seeing a record-breaking number of sales, particularly among young out-of-towners from Toronto seeking a different pace of life in picturesque Atlantic Canada.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Bryant said. “I always knew it was an incredible place to be.”

Halifax saw its population grow by two per cent last year, making it the second-fastest growing community in Canada, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo in Ontario tied Halifax with two per cent growth. The only city to grow faster was Oshawa, Ont., a suburban community on the outskirts of Toronto that grew by 2.1 per cent.

At the same time, Toronto and Montreal saw a record-breaking loss of people between July 2019 and July 2020. Statistics Canada said this decisive shift away from cities will be “an important trend to monitor.”

“Personal health, the ability to work remotely, and higher housing costs are among the most important factors contributing to the decision of many Canadians to continue (or to no longer continue) living in large urban centres hardest hit by the pandemic,” wrote the report’s authors.

The report offers a snapshot of what real estate agents have been seeing on the ground for months: young couples once priced out of cities now have the freedom to look for properties elsewhere, thanks to the shift to working from home. Low interest rates have made buying a home even easier.

Lauren Haw, CEO of Zoocasa, a real estate agency that offers market analysis, said the desire for more square footage is tempting urbanites to consider smaller communities where their money goes further.

“People who said, ‘I’m gonna buy this $600,000 one-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto,’ are now saying, ‘I can work from home in Barrie, Ancaster, Guelph or London.’ And people in London are doing the same and moving to Strathroy and Woodstock,” Haw said in an earlier interview.

In Oshawa, which leads the country in population growth, agents have seen stunning competition. In one recent case, a townhouse listed for $550,000 received 39 offers, according to broker Paul Baird.

“This time last year, maybe you’d get a couple offers because the market was starting to heat up. Two years ago in 2019, you’d be lucky to get an offer in the first week on the market. It just took a lot longer to sell a house. And then, all of a sudden, the demand just surged,” he said.

The reason for these bidding wars is simple: “There’s just too much demand and not enough supply,” Baird said.

The closest precedent to today’s demand, Baird said, was in 2017 when investors began competing for properties in Oshawa, sometimes buying up multiple properties at once. These days, the typical profile of buyers is much different.

“I think a lot of the people we see now are just trying to buy their first house,” he said.

According to Statistics Canada, the communities with the highest population growth rates are:

  • Oshawa (2.1 per cent)
  • Halifax (2 per cent)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge (2 per cent)
  • Kelowna (1.9 per cent)
  • Calgary (1.9 per cent)
  • Saskatoon (1.9 per cent)
  • Moncton (1.8 per cent)
  • Edmonton (1.8 per cent)
  • Barrie (1.8 per cent)
  • Belleville (1.6 per cent)
  • Ottawa-Gatineau (1.6 per cent)
  • London (1.6 per cent)
  • Lethbridge (1.5 per cent)
  • Trois-Rivières (1.5 per cent)
  • Guelph (1.5 per cent)
  • Sherbrooke (1.5 per cent)

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Feds on defensive as no Pfizer vaccine shipment arriving next week – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canada will not be receiving any shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses next week, which the federal government says will be the hardest hit the country gets during a month-long shortage in deliveries from the drug giant.

The news Canada will be experiencing a “temporary” delay in shipments resulting in an average weekly reduction of 50 per cent of coming doses due to the pharmaceutical company’s expansion plans at its European manufacturing facility came on Friday. 

On Tuesday, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin who is leading Canada’s logistical rollout revealed that in reality, while this week’s shipment includes 82 per cent of what was originally planned, next week no new deliveries of doses will be coming to this country.

That means over the next two weeks Canada is set to receive just over 171,000 vaccine doses instead of the more than 417,000 planned before Pfizer announced its delay.

“Next week’s deliveries have been deferred by Pfizer in their entirety,” Fortin said, adding that the company just confirmed the amounts Tuesday morning. He said deliveries will start back up in the first two weeks of February.

“But those numbers remain to be confirmed by Pfizer Canada,” Fortin said, adding that because the shipments come in trays with 975 doses, some provinces will feel the impact more than others, but the federal government will strive to keep the future allotments as proportional per capita as possible. 

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in an interview on CTV’s Power Play that Canada is still waiting for the future delivery schedule from Pfizer.

The shipment shortage has strained provincial rollout campaigns— plans are being made to hold off on giving first doses to more people and to delay the administration of second doses for some—and has put the federal government on the defensive.

In his Rideau Cottage address on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to reassure people about having access to considerably fewer Pfizer shots over the next few weeks, saying that “doses are coming,” and vaccinations for long-term care home residents and health-care workers continue.

Trudeau said he knows there is “a lot of work still to do,” but the overall goal of vaccinating six million prioritized people by March, and then everyone who wants to be by the end of September 2021, remains on track despite this “roadblock.”

Asked why he hasn’t tried to put more direct political pressure himself on Pfizer to rectify Canada’s complete absence of doses next week, Trudeau said the company remains contractually obligated to provide Canada with the doses purchased.

The federal government also faced questions about why it appears Pfizer is not treating all countries equally as promised when it comes to scaling back the size of shipments, with some European countries reporting their deliveries will not be as severely impacted as Canada’s.

Neither Trudeau or Anand could offer an explanation, with the prime minister stating that in his weekend call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel she too raised that she was being criticized for her country’s rollout.

“She sort of complained to me that every day she gets it from the German media that they’re not doing as well as Canada. I think a lot of people are comparing stories from country to country, and trying to figure out how we can all move quicker,” Trudeau said.

According to CTV News’ vaccine tracker, Canada is immunizing people faster than Germany by a small margin. 

Anand said the situation with Pfizer’s delay is “very disappointing,” and she “spent the weekend on the phone with Pfizer executives,” pushing for Canada to return to the regular delivery schedule as soon as possible.

She said Canada “insisted” on equitable treatment, which she said Pfizer assured her Canada is receiving.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday he was “very angry” about the situation and if it was up to him, he’d be “on that phone call every single day,” with Pfizer. He then floated that in the interim, President-Elect Joe Biden should send Canada one million doses from the U.S.-based Pfizer facility, which is not experiencing delays.

Anand said Tuesday in response to Ford’s suggestion that all the vaccines being made at the U.S. plant will be distributed within Canada but she will “continue to press all levers.” 

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period that aired on Sunday, Anand said she’d heard concerns from some vaccine companies about lengthy delays between vaccine doses, as they go beyond what their clinical-trial-based recommendations are. 

In an email, Pfizer said some provinces decision to delay the administration of their second doses was not a factor in the current delivery schedule for Canada, stating that the decision to scale-up at the Belgium plant is so that by the end of 2021 the pharmaceutical giant can deliver 2 billion doses worldwide.

“Pfizer is working closely with all Governments on allocation of doses.  While the precise percentage allocation may fluctuate, we anticipate that it will balance out by the end of Q1 2021. Pfizer remains dedicated to helping each country meet the vaccination needs of its citizens without compromising our highest safety and quality standards,” said spokesperson Christina Antoniou. 

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. Officials continue to state that once next week passes, deliveries will ramp-up and make up for the loss with larger batches arriving.

Fortin said Tuesday that Canada’s Moderna deliveries will continue as planned. These vaccines are delivered in a three week cycle, with the next shipment of 230,400 doses coming the first week of February.

Anand said come the spring Canadians will see a “dramatic increase in vaccine deliveries,” but cautioned about “additional supply challenges along the way.”

“This is precisely why we have multiple agreements in place with multiple manufacturers,” Anand said.

In a statement, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he is “deeply frustrated by the government’s on-going failure to procure and deliver vaccines for Canadians.”

He is calling on the Liberals to deliver an “emergency plan,” and disclose Canada’s precedence in comparison to other countries’ vaccine delivery contracts.

“We cannot accept this kind of failure, not with so much at stake,” O’Toole said. 

So far, more than 604,000 Canadians have received their first dose of one of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines, and nearly 37,200 have received both shots required in the two-dose regimen.

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