A new poll from Ipsos found that 71 per cent of Canadians are “angry” that Canada is falling behind countries like the U.S. and the U.K. when it comes to the pace of our COVID-19 vaccine rollout. On top of that, just 43 per cent believe Canada will meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s professed timeline of having a jab available for every Canadian who wants one by September.
Coronavirus: Early data shows COVID-19 vaccine having impact on hospitalizations, death rates in Canada
This frustration is bearing out in the polls, where the Liberal lead over the Conservatives has narrowed to just three points, according to a new Ipsos poll.
“The Liberals and Conservatives, for all intents and purposes, are tied right now. So the Liberals have a slight lead,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, said in an interview with Global News.
“This is directly attributable to people’s concerns about vaccines. So the vaccine issue, instead of being a positive for the government – as I think a lot of people anticipated that it would be – has turned into a negative.”
Bricker added that this negative perception of the vaccine rollout is being driven by the government not living up to Canadians’ initial expectations of when they’d be vaccinated.
“They can’t get enough supply to meet overwhelming demand,” Bricker said.
Winter storm in U.S. interrupts Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply
The government was forced to reckon with delays in its supply of both the approved vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, in early February. While Pfizer has since ramped up production and both manufacturers insist they’re on track to meet delivery deadlines, Canadians burned by the news of delays have started viewing vaccine rollout promises with skepticism.
“They’re skeptical right at the moment about any promises that are being made about vaccines – how many and when. They’re just not really believing a lot of it right now,” Bricker said.
This skepticism is complemented by disappointment in the vaccine rollout.
“In fact, there’s only about six per cent say that (the vaccine rollout is) actually exceeding their expectations. Most people, actually a plurality of people, about 44 per cent, are actually saying that it’s not living up to their expectations and it’s going worse than they expected,” Bricker said.
“And by the way, their expectations were not that high to begin with.”
Trudeau: Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout timeline still on track
All of this has created a “volatile situation” when it comes to vaccines, Bricker said. A key driver of the issue is the fact that Canadians can see the news of rapid vaccination progress in other countries around the world, which puts even more pressure on the government to deliver.
“Canada is not hermetically sealed when it comes to news. So people are seeing what’s happening in other places,” Bricker said.
“The government set those expectations, but even meeting them would not necessarily be seen as a positive performance because other things are happening in other places that are suggesting the timeline should be shorter.”
Meanwhile, the prime minister’s approval rating has even taken a hit as a result of vaccine rollout troubles. Trudeau’s approval rating has slipped by six points, with 54 per cent saying they either approve “strongly” or “somewhat” of his overall response to the pandemic.
This is “directly attributable” to what’s been happening with the vaccine rollout, Bricker said.
Growing fears new variants could lead to third wave
However, it’s not all bad news for Trudeau’s team – even if these latest polling figures make the possibility of forming a majority government in any springtime election a distant daydream.
“Fifty per cent for any prime minister at any time is actually a really good performance level. I mean, going into the last election campaign, Justin Trudeau was tracking in the high 30s and low 40s. So his numbers in terms of approval are actually reasonably good,” Bricker said.
Still, the latest batch of polling makes it “very unlikely” that the Liberals are thinking of triggering an election any time soon, according to Bricker.
“The only thing that makes it worthwhile is if they win a majority,” Bricker said.
“The performance numbers that our polling is really pointing out shows that it would be very risky for them to be contemplating an election campaign in the near term.”
U.K. moves to next phase of rollout
And any shot the Liberals have of securing the electoral support to win a majority in a future election hinges on the next few months of vaccine rollout, he added.
“The election was always going to be contingent on us getting through this pandemic,” Bricker said.
“And the longer that this goes on… the more it becomes focused on the area that is the principal responsibility at the moment for the federal government, which is obtaining vaccines.”
Coronavirus: Canada’s vaccine rollout back on track after reduced deliveries, feds say
Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between February 8-10, 2021, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ interviewed online. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday – CBC.ca
The United States must stick to a two-dose strategy for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, top U.S. infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Washington Post.
Fauci said delaying a second dose to inoculate more Americans creates risks. COVID-19 has claimed more than half a million lives in the United States, and states are clamouring for more doses to stem cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Fauci’s remarks come as different jurisdictions — including several Canadian provinces — consider extending the interval between the two doses.
The U.S. expert warned that shifting to a single-dose strategy for the vaccines could leave people less protected, enable variants to spread and possibly boost skepticism among Americans already hesitant to get the shots.
“There’s risks on either side,” Fauci was quoted as saying by the Washington Post in a report published late on Monday.
He said that he spoke with U.K. health officials on Monday. Health officials there have decided to offer people their second dose of its approved COVID-19 vaccines 12 weeks after they receive their first jab.
“We agreed that there is a risk of making things worse by doing that — balanced against the risk of not getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as you can,” Fauci told the Post.
He said the science does not support delaying a second dose for those vaccines, citing research that a two-shot regimen creates enough protection to help fend off variants of the coronavirus that are more transmissible, whereas a single shot could leave Americans at risk from variants such as the one first detected in South Africa.
“You don’t know how durable that protection is,” he said.
Fauci has encouraged Americans to accept any of the three available COVID-19 vaccines, including the newly approved Johnson & Johnson shot.
The U.S. government authorized Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, making it the third to be available in the country following the ones from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna that require two doses.
Health Canada has not yet approved the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine but did recently approve the two-dose product from AstraZeneca and Oxford University, bringing the number of vaccines approved for use in Canada to three.
B.C. to delay 2nd dose
Fauci’s comments to the Post about the two-dose regime were reported the same day as an announcement from British Columbia’s provincial health officer about a change in dose timing.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months as it ramps up its age-based immunization plan to free up doses so all residents could get their initial shot by July.
Henry said Monday the change is based on the “miraculous” protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. She said the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is expected to issue a statement to align with B.C.’s decision, which is also based on similar data from Quebec and countries including Israel and the United Kingdom.
“The important thing that we have learned is that these vaccines work, they give a very high level of protection, and that protection lasts for many months,” Henry said on Monday. “Extending this second dose provides very high, real-world protection to more people, sooner.”
In Canada, the current recommendations advise intervals from three to 12 weeks between the first and second vaccine dose, depending on the product.
Ontario, meanwhile, is asking the federal government if it can extend the interval between the first and second dose of its COVID-19 vaccines to four months.
Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones made the request Monday in a joint statement. They said there is growing evidence to suggest that the intervals between the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be safely extended.
Prince Edward Island is also looking at delaying the second dose of the vaccine, Premier Dennis King said.
Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I’s chief public health officer, said at a briefing on Tuesday that the province plans to offer every Islander over the age of 16 a single dose of vaccine by the end of June.
Morrison said this approach would allow the province to achieve herd immunity more quickly and protect more residents from COVID-19.
“If all adults are vaccinated with one dose by July 1st, we will have a better summer than last year,” she said.
WATCH | Canada’s chief science adviser talks about B.C.’s plan:
Canada’s chief science adviser, Mona Nemer, however, told Power & Politics host Vassy Kapelos on Monday that the studies so far and the “vast majority” of the data on the Pfizer and Moderna products “are from studies where they were given three to four weeks apart, not three to four months apart.”
Nemer cited concerns about a lack of data and variants of the virus, saying that “it’s probably best to just vaccinate as recommended and as studied for now.”
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert and member of Ontario’s vaccine task force, said Tuesday that given the current public health emergency, people should expect to see more debate about how far the second dose can be extended.
There is “emerging data from multiple sources, from multiple groups, that do demonstrate that it is OK to extend the second dose,” Bogoch told CBC’s Heather Hiscox. He pointed to Ontario as an example, saying the second doses of Pfizer and Moderna shots were delayed by up to 42 days in certain cohorts.
WATCH | Public needs open, honest discussion to maintain trust in vaccines, says specialist:
-From The Associated Press, The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 11:10 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
As of 11:15 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 871,596 cases of COVID-19, with 30,198 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 22,036.
In Quebec, health officials reported 588 new cases of COVID-19 and eight additional deaths. Hospitalizations in the province stood at 628, with 121 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.
Ontario on Tuesday reported 966 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital stood at 677, with 284 in intensive care units.
In Atlantic Canada, Prince Edward Island reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday — including two cases of the B117 variant. The province is currently in a circuit-breaker lockdown as it tries to clamp down on two clusters of cases, one in Summerside and one in Charlottetown.
WATCH | Vaccine advisory committee contradicts Health Canada on AstraZeneca vaccine:
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 — its lowest daily case number in months — and one additional death on Monday. In neighbouring Saskatchewan, health officials reported 154 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths.
Alberta, meanwhile, reported 291 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths on Monday. The province is easing COVID-19 restrictions on indoor fitness centres and libraries.
However, it is delaying lifting measures for hotels, banquet halls, community halls and conference centres. Premier Jason Kenney says there has been a sharp decline in hospitalizations and cases in long-term care homes. However, he said caution is needed because the test positivity rate and cases of new, more transmissible variants are rising.
In British Columbia, health officials reported 1,428 new COVID-19 cases from Saturday to Monday, for a total of 80,672 cases in the province since the pandemic began.
Across the North, there was one new case reported in Nunavut and no new cases reported in the Northwest Territories or Yukon.
Here’s a look at what else is happening across the country:
-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 11:15 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Tuesday morning, more than 114.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with 64.6 million of the cases listed on the Johns Hopkins database as recovered. The global death toll stood at more than 2.5 million, the U.S.-based university reported.
In the Asia-Pacific region, China aims to vaccinate 40 per cent of its population by the end of July, a senior health adviser said, requiring a significant increase in shots even as it ramps up vaccine exports.
Indonesia says it has detected two cases of the more infectious variant first identified in Britain.
South Korea’s decision to allow more doses to be extracted from vaccine vials sparked controversy as it ramped up its vaccinations of health-care workers and the elderly.
In the Americas, Ecuador named a new health minister, after the previous minister resigned following accusations of irregularities in a vaccination pilot program.
Argentina received 732,500 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, while Nicaragua is set to begin its inoculation campaign on Tuesday.
Colombia on Monday became the first country in the Americas to receive a vaccine shipment from the UN-backed COVAX initiative.
Brazilian health officials are urging nationwide lockdowns and curfews because hospitals are running short of intensive-care unit beds as COVID-19 claims more than 1,000 lives each day in the country.
“The return of the pandemic in several states is making their private and their public assistance networks collapse and has brought imminent risk of spreading it to all regions of Brazil,” Brazil’s National Council of Health Secretaries said Monday, noting that the nation is experiencing its worst moment since the pandemic began.
In the Middle East, Iraq received its first 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China.
The Saudi Ministry of Health has announced that Muslims who want to perform the annual hajj pilgrimage this year will need to prove that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The government says it will consider coronavirus vaccination as “the main condition for participation” in the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims who can are obliged to make once in their lives.
The statement did not specify whether the hajj, which traditionally draws some two million Muslims from across the world, would again exclude pilgrims from outside the kingdom to prevent contagion.
In Europe, Spain’s jobless total reached four million in February, as COVID-19 restrictions led to the first month of job destruction since last May.
Austria’s leader says his country and Denmark intend to stop relying solely on the European Union for coronavirus vaccines and will work with Israel to produce second-generation vaccines.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz plans to visit Israel with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Thursday and confer with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on vaccine research and production co-operation.
Serbia’s epidemiologists have called for the government to introduce a state of emergency and a strict lockdown to halt a surge in coronavirus infections in the Balkan country.
The numbers of daily new cases have been rising sharply in the nation of seven million despite a mass inoculation campaign that has reached one million people already.
Chief epidemiologist Predrag Kon on Tuesday told the state RTS television that “we must ban contacts or we will break, and then realize what it means when the health system collapses.”
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7:15 a.m. ET
Why Canada's pandemic experience has been easier than some – CBC.ca
Although difficult months remain ahead — especially for poorer countries lacking the resources to buy vaccines — the end of the coronavirus pandemic in the developed world is now in sight.
Virus variants remain an unpredictable element but trendlines suggest that the great majority of deaths anticipated in developed countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic have occurred already.
The range of impacts on different countries can be seen in the statistics as the first full year of the pandemic draws to a close.
These statistics compare how Canada has fared to the experiences of five other Western countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy.
When historians look back on this pandemic, the first yardstick they’ll apply to measure its severity is, of course, the number of people it killed.
How bad did it get?
The United States is now coming down from its third wave of COVID infections. Canada has only had two so far. The peak came at different times in different places — but each of the six countries in this comparison experienced one week that was worse than any other.
In France and Italy, the pandemic peaked in November 2020, but in North America and the U.K. the first two weeks of 2021 were the worst.
On January 8, Canada reported a single-day record of 9,214 new cases. The following day, the U.S. reported a single-day record of 315,106 new cases.
The peak of intensity is measured here by the highest recorded daily caseload, per capita. At the pandemic’s height in the U.K., U.S. and France, COVID-19 was infecting almost one person in a thousand every day. In Canada, that number never reached one in 4,000.
Canada had the least intense pandemic of the six.
Immunizations vs infections
Vaccinations are the magic bullet that will end this pandemic. Some countries have done far better than others in administering them.
The U.K.’s vaccination effort started strong and stayed that way. Germany and the U.S. showed steady increases week over week. France was slow to start but soon caught up. Italy and Canada faltered and lost ground.
But vaccinations don’t tell the whole story. Vaccines entered the picture as much of the western world was racing to get ahead of a new wave of infections.
Canada placed last among this group of nations in terms of doses per capita. But it also has posted the lowest per capita caseloads through 2021.
The U.K. was the undisputed winner of the vaccine race but posted the worst per capita caseloads and death rates of the six. And the nation with the second-best record on vaccinations — the U.S. — had the second-worst caseloads.
Given this strange inversion, how should we measure each nation’s overall performance?
The next graph attempts to do that by dividing each nation’s total number of vaccines administered, week over week, by the number of new cases it recorded in the same week, to give an overall score — call it the “O Factor” — that may offer a clearer picture of how much progress each country has made so far in 2021.
The O Factor penalizes countries for failing to control infections in the present, but gives credit for the future caseload reductions they can expect to achieve by getting needles in arms now.
The damage to economies
Historians will one day study the pandemic’s social and economic effects. Some of those effects aren’t clear yet.
By killing a vast number of European peasants, the Black Death transformed the labour market, allowing workers to demand more for their work and ultimately helping to free them from feudalism. Perhaps this (far less apocalyptic) pandemic will free workers from the bondage of commuting and cubicles.
Whatever changes it leaves in its wake, it’s clear the economic blow of the pandemic has not fallen evenly on all nations.
The six countries we’re comparing here have taken different approaches to pandemic-related shutdowns and layoffs. Some (such as Canada) went big on public spending, while others held back. And some countries will struggle more than others with the debts they have accumulated.
All six of the nations measured here saw nearly unprecedented spikes in the number of unemployment claims as the pandemic took hold.
But some were hit harder than others and some bounced back faster than others.
The graphs shown here only offer snapshots of a pandemic that isn’t over yet. Although immunization appears to offer a path out of this global disaster, new mutations and new variants have the potential to delay that.
Unless Canada can improve its vaccination performance, other countries probably will be quicker to bend their rates of death and hospitalizations downward, closing a gap that currently favours Canada.
But the numbers suggest that one thing won’t change: when compared with its peers in Europe and North America, Canada’s pandemic experience has been less intense — and less deadly.
COVID-19 vaccination ramps up in several provinces as supply worries ease – CTV News
Several provinces began expanding their COVID-19 vaccination programs to members of the general population on Monday, as new recommendations on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine suggested it should be targeted at younger Canadians.
A national panel of vaccine experts said provinces should not use the newly approved vaccine on people 65 and over out of concern there is limited data on how well the vaccine will work in older populations — even though Health Canada approved the vaccine for all adults.
Rather, the recommendations issued by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization noted that the AstraZeneca vaccine could help speed up vaccination for younger age groups, who otherwise would have to wait longer for protection.
The arrival of a third vaccine raises the prospect of further accelerating Canada’s efforts to inoculate the general population, which hit a new gear Monday in several provinces.
Ontario, Quebec and B.C. started or announced plans to start vaccinating older seniors living in the community on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care.
In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city.
The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province has already finished vaccinating long-term care residents with a first dose and was almost finished in private seniors homes, the premier said Saturday.
There were long lineups and some frustration among vaccine recipients at the Olympic Stadium, but at another site, Montreal’s downtown convention centre, people reported a swift process.
Julie Provencher, a spokeswoman with the regional health authority asked people not to be too harsh. “For the first day of the biggest mass vaccination in the history of humanity, I think it’s going OK,” she said in an interview.
Several Ontario health units were also set to begin giving COVID-19 vaccines to their oldest residents after a provincial website for appointment bookings opened in six regions.
Some health units reported thousands of bookings and high call volumes, as regions such as York, Windsor-Essex and Hamilton began taking appointments for seniors aged 80 or 85 and up, depending on the region.
In York Region — where those aged 80 and older could start scheduling and receiving their shots on Monday — vaccination clinics were fully booked just two hours after they started taking appointments, according to a spokesman.
“At this time residents are urged to remain patient and will be notified as more appointment bookings become available,” Patrick Casey said in a statement.
A similar problem occurred in Nova Scotia, where the COVID-19 vaccination-booking web page was taken off-line Monday after it experienced technical issues the first day it opened to people aged 80 and over. The Health Department said high traffic to the site prompted the slowdown and suggested people could book by phone in the meantime.
In British Columbia, Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlined the next phase of the province’s immunization plan, which covers all seniors 80 and over and Indigenous seniors 65 and up.
Despite the good news, Horgan warned that the province still has several difficult months to come. “Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, we’re far from out of this,” he said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is expecting delivery of about 445,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and none from Moderna — numbers that are down from last week’s all-time high.
It’s unclear when the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in the country, but a senior government official told The Canadian Press on background Sunday it could be as early as midweek.
The advisory committee’s recommendations raise the prospect of younger Canadians getting vaccine much earlier than originally planned.
There are no concerns that the vaccine is unsafe, but the panel said the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are preferred, especially for people 65 years old and above, “due to suggested superior efficacy.”
The advisory committee said AstraZeneca should be offered to people under 65 as long as the benefits of getting a good vaccine early outweigh any limitations the vaccine may have in terms of effectiveness. It also noted that because AstraZeneca, unlike the first two vaccines, is stable at normal refrigerated temperatures, it allows for “a variety of alternate vaccination sites.”
Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna reported about 95 per cent effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 overall, while AstraZeneca reported its vaccine to be about 62 per cent effective.
B.C. announced it would extend to four months the time between first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine in order to allow the province to vaccinate more people sooner. Henry said the decision was based on evidence that showed the first two approved vaccines provide “a high level of real-world protection” after one dose.
Ontario confirmed Monday that it is considering following suit, adding that it’s asking the federal government for guidance on possibly extending the intervals between doses.
Despite the positivity surrounding vaccines, some Canadians were returning to lockdown on Monday.
Those included residents of the Thunder Bay and Simcoe Muskoka health regions in Ontario as well as Prince Edward Island, which entered a 72-hour, provincewide lockdown Monday meant to stop two clusters of COVID-19 cases from spreading.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.
— With files from Mia Rabson, Stephanie Marin and Holly McKenzie-Sutter
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