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Canada will be short 82,000 doses in next shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine – National Post

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Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin said Thursday Moderna assured the government Canada will receive the full two million doses it was promised by the end of March

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Canada will receive 82,000 fewer doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the next shipment, leaving the company to fill a 1.3-million dose shortfall in March in order to meet the federal government’s targets.

The reduction is the latest blow to the federal government’s vaccine deliveries which have also seen Pfizer significantly reducing the doses Canada has received in recent weeks.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is in charge of the federal vaccine rollout, said Thursday Moderna had assured the government Canada will receive the full two million doses it was promised by the end of March.

“We have no reason to doubt that. We’re in constant discussion with them,” he said at a press conference in French.

The next shipment of Moderna is expected to arrive in Canada the week of Feb. 22, and will include 168,000 doses, Fortin said. That’s down from the 250,000 the government had originally expected.

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Fortin said the government has been told to expect another two shipments to arrive in March, though he couldn’t specify exactly when they will arrive or the amount of vaccines that will be included in each shipment.

Moderna began regular delivery of its vaccine in December. Its last shipment at the beginning of the month was also about 20 per cent short of what the company had promised. By the end of February, Moderna will have delivered just short of 700,000 doses in just over two months.

Fortin also said the government still expects to receive the promised four million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine by the end of March. Pfizer was supposed to deliver 1.15 million doses of its vaccine over the past four weeks, but instead only received 339,000, according to the Canadian Press.

That rollout is set to accelerate in the coming weeks, with the government counting on approximately 403,000 doses arriving next week, 475,000 the last week of February and 444,000 in each week of the first two weeks of March.

Those numbers “reflect the recent label change authorization from Health Canada,” Fortin noted. Pfizer initially counted five vials per dose in its vaccine. After health care providers realized they could extract six doses, the company asked Health Canada to recognize that each vial contains six doses, which the regulator did Tuesday.

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The government has ordered 64 million of specialized low-dead space syringes that help extract more liquid from each dose of the vaccine.

Fortin said the government is in the process of distributing the syringes. “In some cases they will arrive in the coming couple of days. All provinces will have sufficient quantities for the next several weeks, and more are coming,” he said.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, added the government held English-language webinar training with 1,800 participants on techniques for vaccinators to use to extract the sixth dose, and will hold another in French, as well as additional educational support. “We’re supporting the provinces and territories,” he said.

To date, the government has distributed a total of 1.4 million doses of both vaccines, Fortin said.

Also on Thursday, the Manitoba government announced it had reached its own deal for two million doses of a Canada-made vaccine, contingent on that vaccine receiving regulatory approval from Health Canada. Providence Therapeutics’ mRNA vaccine began Phase 1 human trials late last month.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/File

When asked about Manitoba’s deal, Dr. Njoo was skeptical about the idea of provinces going on their own to strike vaccine agreements, noting Health Canada is the only regulator in the country that can approve vaccines.

“I’m not quite sure I understand in terms of how quite how individual jurisdictions may enter into any sort of agreement at this point with any sort of unapproved products,” he said in the press conference. “I think we need to wait for Health Canada to get a submission… and go through the very strict and regulatory process for approval.”

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He added economies of scale apply to vaccine procurement, and that “it’s in some ways better for… the government of Canada as a bulk buyer on behalf of Canada and provinces and territories.”

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said in the press release announcing the Providence Therapeutics agreement that the province has been reliant on the federal government buying vaccines that are manufactured outside of Canada, which has resulted in Canadians being slower to receive vaccines than residents of many other countries.

Officials were asked about why Canada lags other countries, such as the U.K., at the press conference Thursday. In the U.K., nearly 20 per cent of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, in comparison to 1.7 per cent of Canadians, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It’s always challenging to compare different countries, because every country has its own particular context. Geographical factors, the way the health care system is set up, and so forth,” Dr. Njoo said. He added that although the vaccine rollout may be going faster in the U.K., the country is “having a tough time with COVID-19 in general.”

“I think it’s not just vaccination itself that should be looked at,” Dr. Njoo said.

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Key COVID-19 numbers in the Ottawa area today – CBC.ca

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  • Ottawa is reporting 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.
  • Western Quebec has confirmed 31 cases and one death.

Today’s Ottawa update

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday but zero deaths. 

Another 56 cases have been classified as resolved.

Ottawa and communities under the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are now in the orange alert level, with slightly more restrictive rules than the rest of eastern Ontario, which is green.

Ottawa’s medical officer of health is backing up what some key numbers and experts have suggested: that the capital is close to moving to the red zone if the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t slow.

Numbers to watch

35: The weekly incidence rate, a rolling seven-day total of new COVID-19 cases expressed per 100,000 residents. The red zone threshold is 40.

.98: The number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). Health officials consider the spread under control if it’s below one.

34: The number of outbreaks in Ottawa.

488: The number of known active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa. One month ago there were more than 1,200.

Across the region

Western Quebec identified 31 new cases on Saturday and one more death. 

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There’s no ‘best’ vaccine, expert says as Canada OKs AstraZeneca shots – Globalnews.ca

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Vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford have now been approved in Canada.  While Canadians may not get a choice about which COVID-19 vaccine to take, all three offer protection against severe illness, according to experts.

“All of these vaccines are good,” Dr. Bradly Wouters, executive vice-president of science and research at the University Health Network told Global News Friday.

Read more:
What are the differences between Canada’s approved COVID-19 vaccines? Here’s what we know

Available data shows all these three vaccines have the “ability to impact hospitalization” and offer “protection against severe illness,” he said.

Which vaccine is the best?

There’s no “best vaccine” option.

Whichever vaccine is available first, “it’s going to protect you,” Wouters said.

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Parts of the world are already facing which-is-best challenges. Astrazeneca’s vaccine for instance, was cleared for use in Britain and Europe after data suggested that it was about 70 per cent effective.

Italy’s government recently decided to reserve Pfizer and Moderna shots for the elderly and designate the Astrazeneca vaccine for younger, at-risk workers, sparking protests.

“Right now, it’s not vaccine against vaccine, it’s vaccine against virus,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, recently told The Associated Press.

Wouters reiterated a similar notion.

“In a pandemic, you need fast results,” he noted and the “priority is to ensure everyone gets vaccinated” and not “debate over which vaccine is better.”

“Each trial involves different people in different places,” he said, and while many may be making comparisons between vaccines from the results of different Phase 3 trials, “such comparisons are misleading,” he said.

After Pfizer and Moderna, AstraZeneca is the third shot officially authorized in the country.


Click to play video 'Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works'



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Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works


Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works

The two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna shots were found to be about 95 per cent effective against the virus as compared to the AstraZeneca shots that stand at 62 per cent in preventing symptomatic cases.

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However, Wouters said they will all work “as effectively as possible as long as combined with mask-wearing, handwashing and social distancing.”

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“We must continue to follow public health guidelines, being cautious until positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths are significantly reduced nationwide,” he said.

Following Canada’s approval of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Procurement Minister Anita Anand cautioned against deliberation over “the sort of good or bad” vaccines.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks'



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Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks


Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks

“If there is a vaccine and it’s been authorized by Health Canada, it means that it’s met standards,” Anand said during a press conference Friday.

AstraZeneca shots may not seem equal to its opponents at first glance but “these vaccines do have a use,” she said.

“We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that have been over 80, and that has shown a significant drop in hospitalizations, to the tune of 84 per cent,” she said.

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“The idea is to have a suite of vaccines that are available. I think Canada is hungry for vaccines, we’re putting more on the buffet table to be used.”

Standards of efficacy

Speaking of the “standards of effectiveness,” Anand said vaccines “should meet at least 50 per cent.”

“If we compare that to the influenza viruses that we authorize every year, if you look back, for example, just to last year, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine against the most common strain was about 64 per cent, across to the next common strain was about 54 per cent,” she said.

As more information becomes available from real-world use, “the efficacy” of the AstraZeneca vaccine might prove to “be much higher,” Anand added.

Read more:
Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

Considering all the five vaccines that are currently under review, including the Novavax and Johnson & Johnson shots, Anand emphasized that nobody has died so far from “adverse effects” of these vaccines.

“If you look across all the clinical trials of the tens of thousands of people that were involved, the number of cases of people that died from COVID-19 that got vaccine was zero. The number of people that were hospitalized because their COVID-19 disease was so severe was zero. The number of people that died because of an adverse event or an effect of the vaccine was zero,” she said.

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The idea is “to prevent” serious illness, hospitalizations and “of course prevent death,” Anand said.

Storage and distribution

Compared to the other vaccines, the AstraZeneca shot is also easier to administer.

The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C/36 to 46 F) for at least six months and administered within existing health-care settings.


Click to play video 'Cold storage of COVID-19 vaccine complicates rollout'



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Cold storage of COVID-19 vaccine complicates rollout


Cold storage of COVID-19 vaccine complicates rollout – Dec 8, 2020

The Moderna and Pfizer options, meanwhile, must be stored at subzero temperatures until they’re ready to be used, at -4 F and -94 F, respectively.

This is “something we need to take into account,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said during a press conference Friday.

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He said the onboarding of the AstraZeneca vaccine is “another tool in our toolbox.”

“Following the approval of Health Canada, the efficacy stands at 62 per cent, but we have to look at the entire profile of each vaccine because this vaccine is easier to administer than Pfizer and Moderna, so this is something we need to take into account,” he said.

— With files from The Associated Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Long lines, guests leaving rooms at Canada's COVID-19 quarantine hotels – Global News

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[unable to retrieve full-text content]

  1. Long lines, guests leaving rooms at Canada’s COVID-19 quarantine hotels  Global News
  2. Province reports 4 new cases of COVID-19 as tighter restrictions come into force  CBC.ca
  3. Nova Scotia reports four new COVID-19 cases Saturday, active cases rise to 39  CTV News Atlantic
  4. JIM VIBERT: COVID complicates new Nova Scotia government’s moves  TheChronicleHerald.ca
  5. VOICE OF THE PEOPLE — Feb. 27, 2021  TheChronicleHerald.ca
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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