This followed Pfizer and BioNTech’s statement last week in which it said early data for its candidate suggested it was 90 per cent effective at preventing the virus.
Canada has already secured up to 358 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from a wide range of different manufacturers. But how will the vaccines be distributed and with limited supplies in the initial stages, who should get them first?
The general consensus among health experts and government agencies is that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, who are at a greater risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, should get immunized first.
Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canadians must ‘double down’ on public safety measures until vaccine is ready
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), has identified key populations that also include health care workers, caregivers in long-term care facilities and all essential front-line responders essential in managing the COVID-19 response, according to preliminary recommendations.
People who are unable to work remotely and are at risk of exposure, like police, firefighters and grocery story staff, are also among the key groups in NACI’s recommendations.
Other essential workers will be defined by the provinces and territories with the federal government, but the final decision will depend on the data and vaccine efficacy, Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, NACI chair, told Global News.
“If, for instance, we decided ahead of time that the elderly population should come first, but we see looking at the trials results that population does not have a great efficacy, but it could be more efficacious in another population like younger, healthy individuals, it’s very possible that at that point in time, things switch,” she said.
Raymond Tellier, a microbiologist and infectious diseases expert at McGill University, told Global News that people working in transportation services and the food industry should be prioritized before a mass rollout to the general population.
“You also want to vaccinate essential workers who were involved during confinement or a lockdown – people that need to continue their work in order to make sure that the basic services are maintained,” he said.
“If you want to interrupt the transmission of the virus most efficiently, you want to vaccinate people that are in contact with a lot of people.”
The Travel Lady: Will proof of a COVID-19 vaccination become necessary for travel?
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government was developing a plan to make sure that vulnerable Canadians get these vaccines on a priority basis.
“We are busy establishing different logistical approaches for the range of vaccines that will be hopefully arriving in Canada in the coming months,” he said during a press conference.
Given the “significant logistical challenge” of transportation and distribution, the government may seek assistance from the military, Trudeau said.
During the same press conference, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said provinces are currently working on their individual plans to identify where the vaccines will be deployed and sufficient freezers are being purchased to help with the storage.
Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines need to be kept in cold storage and have specific temperature requirements.
Pfizer’s vaccine must be shipped and stored at -70 C. It can be stored for up to five days at standard refrigerator temperatures, or for up to 15 days in a thermal shipping box.
Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective
Moderna expects the vaccine to be stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 48 degrees F) for 30 days and it can be stored for up to six months at -20 C.
If the vaccines are approved by Health Canada following the review of the clinical trials, the country is expecting to receive its first shipment early next year.
But the doses will arrive in different batches, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said on Tuesday.
And when can the general public expect to receive the vaccine?
Njoo said: “Certainly, we’re looking at hopefully covering the vast majority of the population by the end of next year.”
— With files from Carolyn Jarvis, Global News and Reuters.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Ontario reports 1,373 new COVID cases today – SooToday
Public Health Ontario has confirmed 1,373 new cases of COVID-19 today, as well as 35 deaths.
The deaths reported today include one person between 20 and 39 years old, two people between the ages of 40 and 59 years old, eight people between the ages of 60 and 79 years old, and 26 people over the age of 80. Twenty-two of the people who died were residents at long-term care facilities.
Since yesterday, 51 people have been hospitalized with the coronavirus and seven people have been admitted to intensive care units with COVId-19.
Included in the 1,373 new cases reported today are 415 cases from Peel, 445 cases from Toronto, and 136 cases from York Region.
The province has also reported 162 new school-related cases today, including 138 student cases and 24 staff cases. There have been 1,193 school-related cases reported in the last 14 days and 4,269 school-related cases reported to date.
There are 688 schools in the province with one or more reported COVID-19 cases and four schools are closed because of cases.
Today, there are 23 new cases of COVID-19 reported in licensed child care settings. Eleven of the cases are children and 12 are staff/care providers. Five centres and one home are closed because of COVID-19 cases.
The province reported 1,476 recoveries today, bringing the total number of active cases down.
There are currently 12,779 active, lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, which is down from 12,917 active cases yesterday. There are 523 people hospitalized with the coronavirus, which is down from 523 yesterday. There are 159 COVID patients in intensive care units and 106 COVID patients on ventilators.
Since yesterday’s report, Ontario’s public health labs have processed 36,076 COVID-19 tests and those results produced a 4.7 per cent positivity rate. There are 44,950 COVID tests awaiting processing.
To date, the province has confirmed 107,883 cases of COVID-19 and has reported 91,550 recoveries and 3,554 deaths.
In Northern Ontario, all but two of the health unit regions are currently classified as green under the province’s new regional restrictions. It means the areas are permitted the broadest allowance of Stage 3 activities.
Public Health Sudbury and District and Thunder Bay District Health Unit are in the yellow (protect) restriction level.
Since yesterday, five of the seven Northern Ontario health units reported a total of 31 new cases. There are 128 known active cases.
The breakdown of Public Health Ontario data for the rate of cases for Northern Ontario health units is:
- Algoma Public Health: 58 cases, rate of 50.7 per 100,000 people. The health unit has reported 60 cases. There are three known active cases. The last case was reported Nov. 24.
- North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit: 66 cases, rate of 50.9 per 100,000 people. The health unit has reported 68 cases. There are nine known active cases. The last cases were reported Nov. 24.
- Porcupine Health Unit: 106, rate of 127 per 100,000 people. There are three known active cases. The last case was reported Nov. 20.
- Public Health Sudbury and Districts: 222 cases, rate of 111.5 per 100,000 people. The health unit has reported 224 cases. There are 14 known active cases. The last case was reported Nov. 24.
- Timiskaming Health Unit: 18 cases, rate of 55.1 per 100,000 people. There is one known active case. The last case was reported Nov. 15.
- Northwestern Health Unit: 108 cases, rate of 123.2 per 100,000 people. The health unit has also reported two probable cases. There are 23 known active cases. The last case was reported Nov. 24.
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit: 248 cases, rate of 165.4 per 100,000 people. The health unit has reported 252 cases. There are 75 known active cases. The last cases were reported Nov. 25.
The Ontario rate of infection is 725.8.
Saskatchewan suspends sports, expands masking as COVID-19 numbers rise – Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Article content continued
Restrictions will be revisited by chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab on Dec. 17.
While the province is no longer seeing “super-spreader” events, Shahab said Saskatchewan has reported an average of more than 200 new cases per day over the past week, quadruple what it saw approximately a month ago.
“Some of the measures we’ve made in the last few weeks have made a difference, but the difference has not been enough to bring our numbers down,” Shahab said.
U of S epidemiologist Dr. Cordell Neudorf said the latest set of restrictions is positive, but warned they might not be sufficient given the extent of community transmission.
His advice is to hunker down and support local businesses via curbside pickup or delivery, he said.
“The danger is that all we’re going to do is affect the slope, and the cases are just going to keep going up, and that might be enough to take our hospitals over capacity in the coming weeks. That’s the danger in this kind of move.”
Moe said the government is considering financial relief for businesses affected by new restrictions, but would not say which businesses may received it, or when further details might be provided.
He said the new measures are “significant” and expressed confidence they will reduce the infection rate.
However, he did not rule out further steps in the weeks ahead.
“Had (previous measures) worked perfectly, we wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
The province reported a record 111 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 19 in intensive care. Seventy-nine people were reported to have recovered.
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