OTTAWA — The federal government is expecting to receive about 7.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week, as it adjusts its distribution strategy amid waning vaccination rates and substantial supply.
The new deliveries will include about 3.1 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and four million doses of Moderna.
“In the coming weeks, we will cross a symbolic threshold of 66 million doses, signalling that there are enough doses in Canada to vaccinate every currently eligible Canadian,” Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie said Thursday at a virtual news conference from Ottawa.
Brodie, who is overseeing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, said Canada is moving to a “more nuanced” approach as the supply of doses is on the verge of outstripping demand.
More than two million doses of vaccine are already being held back because provinces have said they can’t use them yet, she said.
The move marks a shift away from the early strategy of sending doses around the country as quickly as possible after they arrive.
“As we pivot from limited supply to sufficient supply, we are implementing a more nuanced approach to ensure that the vaccines are stewarded in a manner that best supports Canada’s enduring domestic needs, as well as optimizes options for supporting global vaccination efforts,” Brodie said.
Provinces can draw more doses from the reserved amount when and if they need to do so.
Canada’s vaccination rate remains among the highest in the world, but is starting to slow as the pool of people still looking for a first or second dose shrinks.
As of Friday, almost 79 per cent of eligible Canadians had received at least one dose of a vaccine and more than 50 per cent were fully vaccinated.
Canada has already said it plans to donate the remaining 17.7 million doses in expected shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the COVAX global vaccine-sharing alliance.
Those doses will be shipped to developing countries that are nowhere close to the level of immunization Canada now enjoys. In Africa, about three per cent of the population has now received at least one dose, and 1.4 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, warned countries such as Canada, where vaccinations are high and case loads under control, to remember the pandemic is not over.
On Thursday, the WHO reported the number of COVID-19 deaths in Africa jumped 43 per cent over the last week, as the Delta variant continued its devastating spread.
Several provinces indicated Thursday that they’ve had to destroy some doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that expired July 1 before they could be used. Health Canada had already extended the expiry date for those doses by one month.
Ontario’s Ministry of Health said Thursday it had 3,190 doses of AstraZeneca that would be destroyed, Prince Edward Island said it was destroying 3,200 doses and New Brunswick 960.
Demand for AstraZeneca plummeted in May after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were preferred because they weren’t associated with the rare but serious side-effect of blood clots potentially linked to AstraZeneca.
Canada has yet to say if or when it will donate any doses of Pfizer or Moderna.
Procurement Minister Anita Anand said 95 million doses of the two vaccines will be delivered by the end of September. That is at least 20 million doses more than Canada could use even if 100 per cent of Canadians chose to get fully vaccinated.
Most polls suggest about 80 per cent of Canadians will be vaccinated. Currently, the vaccines aren’t authorized for kids under the age of 12, although there’s hope that vaccine trials on younger children will be finished by the end of the summer.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday Canada will keep enough doses to ensure supply for younger children when they become eligible. There are about 4.8 million kids in Canada under the age of 12.
“We will never do anything that will jeopardize our ability to have, quickly and safely, access to all the vaccines necessary to immunize any eligible Canadian,” LeBlanc said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 19, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
No changes expected as COVID-19 cases surge in Central Okanagan: Kelowna airport – Revelstoke Review – Revelstoke Review
With new restrictions announced specifically for the Central Okanagan today (July 28), the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) said they are not expecting any changes to their operations.
Senior manager of airport operations Phillip Elchitz said that with the COVID-19 safety plan already in place at YLW, they don’t expect much more to change.
Elchitz also said that they’re not expecting much impact on passenger numbers because of the new restrictions.
“YLW is not anticipating a reduction in commercial scheduled flights as a result of the new provincial health guidelines specific to the Central Okanagan,” he said.
“YLW currently has a mandatory mask policy in place for all areas of the Air Terminal Building and on aircrafts due to Transport Canada requirements.”
Individual passenger temperature is also checked just before they go through security as an added safety measure.
Earlier in the afternoon on July 28, the province announced that masks will be mandatory again in indoor public spaces throughout the Central Okanagan, which includes Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country.
The province is also discouraging non-essential travel to and from the Central Okanagan, especially for those who are not vaccinated or who don’t have both doses yet.
Nenshi says lifting Alberta’s remaining COVID-19 health orders is the ‘height of insanity’ – Global News
The mayor of Calgary says it’s the “height of insanity” that Alberta is moving ahead with removing almost all of its remaining COVID-19 public health orders, even as cases climb in the province.
Alberta has ended isolation requirements for close contacts of people who test positive and contact tracers will no longer notify them of their exposure. The province has also ended asymptomatic testing.
Further measures are to be eliminated Aug. 16. People who test positive will no longer be required to isolate. Isolation hotels will close as quarantine supports end.
“It is inconceivable to me. It is the height of insanity to say we don’t even know what’s happening,” Nenshi said Thursday.
“It is putting the health of Albertans at risk. To stop contact tracing, to stop testing people for the coronavirus and to become one of the first _ if not the first — jurisdictions in the world to say that people who have tested positive, who are infectious, can just go about their lives.”
Majority of Canadians worried about lingering COVID-19 threat, according to poll
Naheed Nenshi, who was making an announcement at the Calgary airport, said if he were in another jurisdiction he would be thinking hard whether to put travel restrictions on Albertans starting Aug. 16.
“I’m aware of no science that backs this up. It is clear for the last month or so on this file (that) our government has been grasping and struggling, just trying to get some good news out of something,” he said.
“To say we don’t want to know who has the coronavirus, we don’t want to track outbreaks. Even the most fervent of the anti-maskers wouldn’t say (to) unleash people who are actually infectious into the population.”
Nenshi said he worries that the decision to lift the health orders is politically motivated and has nothing to do with science at all.
“The only possible explanation here is a political one. It might be that they’ve run out of money, but you know what? Don’t spend $1.5 billion on a pipeline you know isn’t going to get built if you’re running out of money.”
© 2021 The Canadian Press
Businesses, tourism sector worried about impact of local virus restrictions in Central Okanagan – Kelowna News – Castanet.net
Come to the Central Okanagan, but only if you’re fully vaccinated.
That is the message from the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and Tourism Kelowna after the provincial government announced new local steps Wednesday to try and lower COVID-19 cases.
A new regional mask policy was announced by Interior Health after 240 new cases of the virus were identified among Central Okanagan residents in the last week.
Along with the indoor mask mandate, the province is now discouraging non-essential travel into and out of the Central Okanagan for people who are not immunized.
TOTA says after an extremely tough 15 months they are concerned about how it might affect the industry, but she says it is a necessary step.
‘’I think the bigger concern is that if we don’t address it now and get things under control we will continue to lose ground. We have done so well up until now. I think that doing this to make sure that we nip it in the bud and we get a good rest of the summer and fall is very important,” said senior vice president Ellen Walker-Matthews.
Tourism Kelowna president and CEO Lisanne Ballantyne says the change will likely impact frontline staff the most.
“We know especially with having dealt with the haze and smoke recently that this is going to have an impact on our tourism businesses. Primarily it is going to be our frontline staff I’m afraid. These are the folks who are dealing with the public every day, and because this health order is only for the Central Okanagan, many travellers don’t realize that it is in effect and it is the frontline staff that have to do the education.”
The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce says the regional mandate has also caused some confusion amongst businesses.
“Earlier this year we were loud and clear along with chambers across the Interior when our numbers were extremely low we petitioned the province to do regional decision making because the rates were so high in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley they introduced the circuit breaker,” said Kelowna Chamber of Commerce president Dan Rogers.
“When they did that it had a massive impact on our businesses even though our rates were low. The line we heard from the province at that time was all of our decisions would be made province-wide and there won’t be any regionally based decision making. Now they have flip-flopped,” Rogers added.
The Interior’s vaccination rate is slightly lower than the provincial average, with 60 per cent of eligible people having received both doses, compared to B.C.’s 63.2 per cent.
Interior Health did not announce an end date for the new measure but says it will be in place for “at least 14 days.
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