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Canada's deliveries from COVAX join growing list of COVID-19 vaccine confusion – CTV News



The global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX told Canada last week it could expect to receive between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine before the end of June.

The numbers were confirmed to Canada Tuesday.

But public numbers posted by COVAX Wednesday point only to the lower end of that range, heaping another helping of confusion on an already anxiety-laden vaccine effort.

The vaccine alliance was established last year as part of an international effort to prevent wealthy countries from snapping up all available vaccines or COVID-19 treatment drugs, leaving the world’s poorest nations to go without.

Canada bought into it with $440 million in September, half of which secured doses for Canadians, and the other half to help buy doses for 92 nations who need help to buy vaccines.

The COVAX Facility is co-ordinated by the World Health Organization, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

COVAX has agreements with multiple vaccine-makers to buy about two billion doses this year, which will be distributed among the members nations to vaccinate up to one-fifth of each country’s population.

On Jan. 30, it sent letters to all participating nations to lay out what they could expect to get in the first round of deliveries, between February and June, including 240 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine produced at the Serum Institute of India and between 96 million and 153 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced elsewhere.

That letter, obtained by The Canadian Press, shows Canada was to get between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, from SK Bioscience in South Korea. That was to include between 500,000 and 1.1 million doses by the end of March, pending approval of AstraZeneca by both the World Health Organization and Health Canada.

The letter said the range “reflects the expected distribution due to potential supply constraints, based on latest understanding, while the high end reflects the contracted number of doses.”

The letter warned things could change, but Canada was sent a draft of the document COVAX intended to publish to its website Wednesday, which again listed a range of doses between 1.9 million and 3.2 million.

But when COVAX shared the information publicly Wednesday morning, the upper range of deliveries had disappeared.

A spokeswoman for Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada hasn’t been given an explanation.

“Canada has not received further communication since this information was shared,” said Cecely Roy.

Canada is not the only country affected. The Philippines was told last week it would get between 5.5 million and 9.3 million AstraZeneca doses from COVAX in the first round, but Wednesday COVAX says the Philippines will be allocated 5.5 million.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness tweeted Tuesday that Jamaica had been told it would get between 146,400 and 249,000 AstraZeneca doses, while Wednesday COVAX said Jamaica was getting 146,400.

While Canadians have been getting vaccinated since December, Jamaica and the Philippines haven’t started vaccinating yet. Both anticipate doing so this month with the COVAX deliveries.

Anand said the COVAX deliveries would boost Canada’s expected deliveries of vaccine by the end of March.

Canada has authorized two vaccines thus far, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, and with them aims to vaccinate three million people by the end of March and another 10 million by the end of June.

Those numbers have been jeopardized because of recent production problems facing both manufacturers, though the government insists the full deliveries will arrive as planned.

Canada could vaccinate another 1.6 million people by June if the upper end of the COVAX range had materialized, and Public Services and Procurement Canada is now seeking clarity from COVAX about why the range was not included in Wednesday’s publication.

With 1.9 million doses, Canada could vaccinate about 950,000 more people.

The COVAX doses are over and above the 20 million doses Canada bought from AstraZeneca directly, which are to start flowing once Health Canada approves it for use, something anticipated within the next two weeks.

Canada has now vaccinated close to a million people with at least one dose of vaccines from either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

But vaccine efforts slowed close to a full halt last week when no new doses were delivered.

Production issues from Pfizer-BioNTech cut Canada’s deliveries from them by two-thirds between Jan. 18 and Feb. 14, and Moderna reduced this week’s shipment by 20 per cent because of a production problem.

AstraZeneca has also faced production issues in Europe, prompting the European Union to impose export controls requiring vaccine makers to document all production and shipments of COVID-19 vaccines on the continent.

Canada’s entire supply of COVID-19 vaccines to date comes from Europe. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has assurances from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that Canada’s doses will not be affected.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission said in an email Europe has a “duty” to vaccinate its own citizens quickly but doesn’t intend to prevent other countries from doing the same.

“In particular if these countries do not have their own manufacturing capacity,” the statement reads.

Europe authorized the export of shipments to Canada this week.

“We have already been receiving requests for deliveries, including for Canada,” the statement says. “Member States have handled these requests very swiftly and these exports have been authorized in accordance with the opinion of the Commission. It proves that the system is working and that we will use it only in very limited cases.”

Canada’s COVAX doses are coming from SK Bioscience in South Korea, but Anand said negotiations are ongoing about where the 20 million doses purchased directly from AstraZeneca will be made.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2021.

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UK’s Kendal Nutricare to deliver 2 million cans of baby formula to the US by June



London, United Kingdom (UK)- Will McMahon, the commercial director of Kendal Nutricare, has said the company will deliver 2 million cans of baby formula to the United States (US) by June this year.

Baby formula shortages began to take hold in the US last year amid supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the situation deteriorated in February when Abbott Laboratories, one of the country’s main manufacturers, with a 40 percent market share, recalled some of its products and shut down a manufacturing plant after four babies who had been fed formula made at the facility contracted a rare bacterial infection (Cronobacter sakazakii) with two of them later dying.

“The bigger opportunity here is as a company we have been in touch with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and working with them for over five years with the aim of bringing a product into the US. There is enormous curiosity and demand for Kendamil in the States, so we are hopeful that we will have everything in place with the FDA to be able to continue to supply legitimately well beyond November,” said McMahon.

More so, the US normally produces 98 percent of the infant formula it consumes, with imports mainly coming from Mexico, Ireland and the Netherlands but last week, the White House eased import requirements and announced an effort to transport baby formula from abroad dubbed Operation Fly Formula.

Nevertheless, the FDA said it is doing everything in its power to make sure there is enough baby formula for parents and caregivers who need it adding that it is in discussions with other manufacturers and suppliers about bringing other baby formulas to the US.

“Our recent steps will help further bolster the supply of infant formula, including through the import of safe and nutritious products from overseas based on our increased flexibilities announced last week.

Importantly, we anticipate additional infant formula products may be safely and quickly imported into the US in the near-term based on ongoing discussions with manufacturers and suppliers worldwide,” said FDA Commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf.

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Trudeau cancels appearance at Surrey fundraiser over protest-related safety concerns –



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled plans to attend a Liberal party fundraising dinner in Surrey on Tuesday evening as a result of safety concerns over a large gathering of protesters outside the event.

Protesters allegedly harassed and hurled racial slurs at attendees and volunteers, many of whom were South Asian, according to Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai. 

The fundraiser was being held at Aria banquet hall.

Sarai says that a group of protesters were stationed outside the front gates of the event, eventually growing to around 100 people.

“They just started swearing, yelling, screaming at anyone that was going through,” said Sarai.

“We had a lot of South Asian volunteers… that were harassed, sworn at, called towel head, rag head, you’re all immigrants.”

He says it’s unclear what the group was actually protesting.

Surrey RCMP confirmed in a statement that there were several vehicles and larger trucks towing trailers that were travelling “in a convoy style loop around the roadway.”

“Due to the size and composition of the protest group and for the safety of everyone in attendance, a decision was made that it was not safe for the prime minister to attend the location,” said Cpl. Vanessa Munn.

Trudeau did not enter the building and spoke to a crowd for about three minutes by Zoom instead of making a speech in person. Trudeau said he would return to see his supporters in Surrey in the future.

WATCH | Justin Trudeau talk about the unruly crowd and its impact on free speech:

Trudeau says nobody should be intimidated for supporting a political party

7 hours ago

Duration 1:27

The prime minister comments on protesters yelling racial slurs at an event he was forced to cancel.

Wednesday, at an event in Saskatoon, Trudeau addressed what happened at the fundraiser in Surrey, adding that nobody should be intimidated for supporting a political party.

“The safety of Canadians choosing to make their voices heard in politics should never be in question as it was last night,” he said.

“The fundamental freedoms we have as a country, and we enjoy as Canadians, need to be defended, need to be protected.”

Protesters swore at Prime Minister

Protesters used expletives as they chanted against Trudeau and honked horns outside the convention centre. About half a dozen RCMP officers stood by watching the crowd.

Sarai says the protesters turned the event into a hostile environment.

“This is not reflective of Surrey at all,” he said.

“Surrey is a very diverse city, a very friendly city, a very welcoming city.”

And while he respects the public’s right to protest, he says “you should never spew hate and use the vulgarity that was being used there.”

Protests against party leaders

Earlier this month, police began investigating after a video circulated on social media showed people hurling verbal abuse at NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh during a protest in Peterborough, Ont.

The federal NDP leader had dropped by the campaign office of an Ontario NDP candidate running in the provincial election.

A video shows Singh encountering protesters as he left the campaign office, and they can be heard shouting expletives at him and calling him a “traitor”‘ as he gets inside a vehicle.

Singh later told reporters he found the experience “intense, threatening [and] insulting”‘ but that he is more worried about what it means for politics in general.

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The latest on the French-language Conservative leadership debate in Laval



LAVAL, Que. — Conservative leadership hopefuls are squaring off — in French — in the second official debate of the race, which is being held in Laval, Que.

Here are the latest developments. All times eastern:

8:55 p.m.

Conservative leadership candidates Patrick Brown and Leslyn Lewis took turns attacking rival Pierre Poilievre for his embrace of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as a solution to inflation.

Lewis, who is often reading from her notes during the French-language debate in Laval, Que., said Poilievre’s position was wrong.

At one point, Brown said Poilievre’s position on Bitcoin was similar to that of the leadership in El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender.

The International Monetary Fund urged the Central American country to drop Bitcoin as its official currency earlier this year, citing its volatility.


8:20 p.m.

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest says Canada must renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.

He says that is how he would deal with “illegal immigration,” such as migrants entering the country through the unofficial border crossing at Roxham Road south of Montreal.

Candidates were asked about immigration as the first question in the debate.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown used the question to say he was trying to build an inclusive party and attacked Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre for not publicly condemning the “white replacement” conspiracy theory espoused by Pat King, a leader of the Ottawa convoy protest.

Poilievre responded by saying he has in fact condemned King’s remarks and that people couldn’t believe anything Brown says.

While answering a question about public safety, Poilievre said the country needs to better deal with guns illegally brought into Canada.

Charest said Poilievre has no businesses talking about law and order when he supported the Ottawa convoy, which he called an illegal blockade.

The room then erupted into a mix of cheers and boos.


8:10 p.m.

Candidates took to the stage and began by outlining one by one what legacy they wanted to leave behind as leaders.

Pierre Poilievre says he wants his legacy to be making Canada the freest country in the world, including by making sure people don’t feel forced to get vaccinated and that young people are able to afford a home.

Patrick Brown says he can win in urban areas, which the party needs, and has what it takes to build a party that can succeed in a general election.

Roman Baber, an Independent member of the Ontario legislature, introduced himself to the crowd.

He says he knows Canada is bilingual and has taken lessons, but still asked those watching to forgive his French.


8:05 p.m.

The Conservative party’s leadership organizing committee announced before the debate began that it will announce the results of the leadership race at a downtown Ottawa convention centre on Sept. 10.

The party’s president, Robert Batherson, says it will be the first time since 2018 that members will gather together at a national event.

The party held a convention in Halifax in 2018.


7:50 p.m.

House music issued from amplifiers as Conservatives of all ages began to take their seats ahead of tonight’s leadership debate.

Several hundred attendees, who were not wearing masks, crowded the ballroom of the Chateau Royal venue north of Montreal, seated between television cameras and the stage.

The six contenders are slated to appear at their podiums at 8 p.m.


7:30 p.m.

Conservative leadership candidates filed in for the race’s only French-language debate, being held at a reception hall north of Montreal.

The suburban venue in Laval, Que., saw scores of federal Tories and onlookers mingling in the foyer before the six contenders take the stage.

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest greeted a handful of supporters with kisses, while Ontario MP Scott Aitchison chatted with party members amid sign-up booths for each candidate.

Bookending the stage beneath ballroom chandeliers were a bank of speakers and 14 flags — six with the Fleur-de-lis, eight with the Maple Leaf.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022


The Canadian Press

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