Connect with us

Business

China OKs 1st homegrown vaccine as COVID-19 surges globally – World News – Castanet.net

Published

 on


China authorized its first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine for general use Thursday, adding another shot that could see wide use in poorer countries as the virus surges back around the globe.

The Sinopharm vaccine had already been given to groups such as health care professionals and essential workers under emergency-use guidelines as part of China’s program to inoculate 50 million people before the Lunar New Year holiday in February. But the go-ahead should allow it to be supplied more broadly at home and moves Beijing closer to being able to ship it abroad. It comes one day after British regulators authorized AstraZeneca’s inexpensive and easy-to-handle vaccine.

Both shots have been closely watched by developing countries, many of which have been unable to secure the Pfizer and Moderna doses being snapped up by rich nations. Pakistan’s science minister said Thursday that his government will buy 1.2 million doses of a Sinopharm shot, two days after its death toll topped 10,000.

The greenlight came a day after the state-owned company announced that preliminary data from last-stage trials had shown it to be 79.3% effective. That announcement did not detail the size of the control group, how many people were vaccinated and at what point the efficacy rate was reached after injection, and experts have cautioned that trial data needs to be shared.

Officials have said the vaccine standards were developed in “close co-operation” with the World Health Organization. Securing WHO’s so-called pre-qualification could go some way toward assuring the rest of the world about the quality of Chinese vaccines, which already face a reputation problem back home. It would also open the path for the shots to be distributed in the global vaccine consortium, COVAX, and potentially in countries that don’t have their own regulatory agencies.

China is eager to ship its vaccines globally, driven by a desire to repair the damage to its image caused by the pandemic that started a year ago in the central city of Wuhan.

Technically, China granted conditional approval for the vaccine, meaning that research is still ongoing, and the company will be required to submit follow-up data as well as reports of any adverse effects after the vaccine is sold on the market, Chen Shifei, the deputy commissioner of the National Medical Products Administration, told a news conference. Final proof of its effectiveness will depend on publication of more data.

Sinopharm, which has another shot under development, is one of at least five Chinese developers that are in a global race to create vaccines for the disease that has killed more than 1.8 million people. While the Pfizer and Moderna shots have been greeted with much fanfare in the West, those shots must be stored at ultra-cold or freezer temperatures, complicating distribution.

The Sinopharm vaccine, like the AstraZeneca one, could be easier for countries around the world to handle since they can be stored at normal fridge temperatures.

Both shots, as well as Russia’s Sputnik, are expected to be supply much of the developing world. That means the cost will also be important. AstraZeneca is expected to cost about $2.50 a dose, while Russia has said its doses will be priced at $10 for the global market. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20, while Moderna’s is $15 to $25, based on agreements with the U.S. government.

Chinese officials declined to name a particular price and gave conflicting statements about it. One official said it would be affordable for the Chinese public, but another jumped in to clarify that it will be free. President Xi Jinping had previously vowed to donate a Chinese-made vaccine as a public good to the world.

The Sinopharm shot is already under mass production, though officials did not answer questions about current capacity. It has already been approved in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and is slated for use next in Morocco.

Other countries have also been buying doses of another Chinese vaccine candidate, made by Sinovac Biotech. Turkey received shipments this week of 3 million doses, and Indonesia and Brazil have also purchased it.

Belarus and Argentina both launched mass vaccinations Wednesday using Russia’s vaccine, and Guinea has begun giving it to government officials.

In addition to the emergency vaccinations already underway in China, the country plans to start vaccinating high-risk population, such as seniors as well as people with existing chronic illnesses. Officials did not say what percentage of the population they will vaccinate in China.

“This is very exciting that there is another vaccine and one that can be distributed in locations that don’t have the cold chain,” said Ashley St. John, an immunologist at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. “But at the same time we have to temper the excitement. We have to understand the long term efficacy, effect on transmission and effect on severe disease.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Pfizer presses Health Canada to increase doses taken from each vial – The Globe and Mail

Published

 on


A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Jan. 7, 2021.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Pfizer-BioNTech is pushing Health Canada to amend its COVID-19 vaccine label and formally recognize that each vial contains six doses rather than five, which would allow the company to send fewer vials to Canada but could complicate the vaccination program.

Pfizer submitted a request to Health Canada on Friday to amend the vaccine label, company spokesperson Christina Antoniou said on Tuesday. The company’s contract with Canada is based on delivering doses, rather than a set number of vials, she said.

“Obtaining six doses from the current multi-dose vial … can help minimize vaccine wastage and enable the most efficient use of the vaccine,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

Canada-China vaccine collaboration began to fall apart days after Ottawa announced clinical trials

How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada, by province, and worldwide? The latest maps and charts

COVID-19 news: Updates and essential resources about the pandemic

Medical staff in Canada have sometimes been able to withdraw six doses, but officials have said it’s not consistent. However, Pfizer said with specialized syringes, a sixth dose can be reliably pulled from each vial. These syringes are in short supply around the world.

The United States and European Union have already accepted the requested change.

Canada is buying 40 million doses from Pfizer. If Health Canada approves the change, Canada could get about 6.7 million vials rather than eight million. The change could increase the number of people who can receive the vaccine worldwide. However, it could also be a challenge for Canada’s vaccination program, which has already hit several speed bumps.

SQUEEZING EVERY LAST DROP

Each dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine must be 0.3 ml. The company says if low-dead space syringes are used then six doses can be withdrawn from each vial of the vaccine. However, if standard syringes are used then medical professionals may only be able to extract five doses.

High-dead space syringe

0.092 ml of fluid retained

Low-dead space syringe

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND

SQUEEZING EVERY LAST DROP

Each dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine must be 0.3 ml. The company says if low-dead space syringes are used then six doses can be withdrawn from each vial of the vaccine. However, if standard syringes are used then medical professionals may only be able to extract five doses.

High-dead space syringe

0.092 ml of fluid retained

Low-dead space syringe

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND

SQUEEZING EVERY LAST DROP

Each dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine must be 0.3 ml. The company says if low-dead space syringes are used then six doses can be withdrawn from each vial of the vaccine. However, if standard syringes are used then medical professionals may only be able to extract five doses.

High-dead space syringe

0.092 ml of fluid retained

Low-dead space syringe

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND

Shipments from Pfizer have had delays, and Canada will get no shots this week. Officials hope vaccine candidates from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca will soon be approved in Canada, but so far no delivery is expected before April.

A spokesperson for Procurement Minister Anita Anand said she could not comment until Health Canada decides whether to change the product information.

Late Tuesday, Martin Bégin, a spokesperson for Health Canada, confirmed the regulator has received Pfizer’s request. He was unable to provide a timeline for a decision.

In a statement to The Globe on Monday, Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette said the extra volume per vial acts as “a safeguard against potential loss of volume that can occur during storage, preparation and administration of the vaccine, and can result in overages that may amount to an extra dose or two. The monograph of the product would not change because of extra volume in the vial.”

Story continues below advertisement

If health professionals use what’s called a low dead space syringe to extract each dose, Ms. Antoniou said, six doses can be consistently drawn. Dead space is vaccine that is left in a syringe after an injection. “If standard syringes and needles are used, there may not be sufficient volume to extract a sixth dose from a single vial,” Ms. Antoniou said. Some needles can limit dead space.

Pfizer did not provide The Globe with the data to show how often six doses are retrieved from a vial. The Globe asked the Ontario, B.C. and Quebec governments, but they did not provide such information.

The low dead space syringes are a “niche” item, said Troy Kirkpatrick, a spokesperson for BD, the medical technology company supplying the United States with syringes. BD is selling syringes to Canada, but not low dead space ones. The federal government was unable to tell The Globe which company supplies those.

Of the 145 million syringes Canada has bought for the vaccination program, 37.5 million are the kind that would be required if Health Canada approves Pfizer’s request, Ms. Anand’s office said. Her office was unable to say on Tuesday when they would all be delivered.

Ms. Antoniou said six low dead space syringes are needed for each vial.

Until now, the syringes “have historically had low demand,” Mr. Kirkpatrick said, and “no vaccine manufacturer identified the need for these types of devices when production capacity was increased.” He said the company is meeting its current contracts, and advising governments it will “take time” to increase production.

Story continues below advertisement

Canada has also bought 40 million vaccine doses from Moderna. On Tuesday, the company said its shots require standard syringes.

At the University Health Network in Toronto, one of Canada’s largest hospital groups, Emily Musing, a vice-president and professional pharmacist, said staff have been able to “more consistently” get a sixth dose when using a one-milliliter syringe.

However, the hospital ran out and had to use three-ml syringes. “We found with the larger syringes, we were not able to pull up as many sixth doses,” she said.

Neither of those is as reliable as the low dead space syringe, Ms. Antoniou said.

Even without the requirement for the specialized syringe, some public health units were facing supply challenges. In Ontario, one health unit is asking pet clinics for syringes that are specialized enough to get a sixth dose from a vial.

“With an aim to maximize the efficiency of our approach to vaccine delivery, we have reached out to local veterinary clinics and community partners to ask for contributions of syringes,” said Piotr Oglaza, medical officer of health at Hastings Prince Edward public health, which includes the city of Belleville.

Story continues below advertisement

Andrew Blais, who works for a pet hospital in the region, said he was shocked to receive a request from the health unit on Monday for the clinic to donate 1 cc-size syringes. “It felt outrageous that they were even thinking about veterinary clinics,” he said. “I would have thought maybe they would start with public health agencies or other government-funded [agencies].”

“There was definitely a feeling of panic to it,” he said.

Alexandra Hilkene, a spokeswoman for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott, said it’s Ottawa’s responsibility to procure syringes for vaccinations. However, she said the province can get additional supplies to help local public health units. She said Ontario sent three-ml syringes to Hastings Prince Edward on Jan. 22 and 25 for a total of 1,000. But those are not the specialized syringes to extract six doses.

Alberta’s health authority said it is buying low dead space syringes and other supplies to supplement shipments from Ottawa.

The federal government has not disclosed how much it is paying Pfizer for the vaccines. A New York Times report suggests that the reduction in vials shipped by Pfizer won’t change how much the U.S. pays. Reuters reports that Sweden is withholding payment until it gets clarity on Pfizer’s billings. The company told a local newspaper it charged for six doses per vial.

With reports from James Keller, Andrea Woo and Les Perreaux.

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

B.C. couple accused of flying to Yukon to get vaccinated must wait for 2nd dose, ministry says – CBC.ca

Published

 on


A Vancouver couple who allegedly flouted COVID-19 rules and flew to Yukon to get the first doses of a vaccine will have to wait their turn for their second doses, says B.C.’s Ministry of Health.

Rodney Baker, 55, the now former president and CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, and Ekaterina Baker, a 32-year-old aspiring actress, are accused of breaking Yukon COVID-19 rules by chartering a plane to the small community of Beaver Creek, a community roughly 450 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse near the Alaska border

There, they took advantage of a mobile vaccination clinic that was administering the first doses of the Moderna vaccine to locals, claiming they were new employees at an area motel, according to Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker

Many in Yukon’s rural communities have been prioritized to receive vaccinations because they are hours away from medical care. 

In a statement to CBC News, B.C.’s Ministry of Health said the couple will have to wait — like everyone else — until their eligible age category before receiving their second dose of the vaccine.

“There is no room in BC’s COVID-19 Immunization plan for people who deliberately put vulnerable populations at risk in order to receive their vaccine before the start of their eligibility group,” the statement read.

“As we move towards immunizing the general public … there will be clear processes in place to ensure people can verify their age and that they are currently living in BC.

“The pre-registration process will help ensure people wait their turn. The system will not allow people to book an appointment until their age category is eligible to pre-register for an appointment for the dose that they should be receiving.”

B.C.’s vaccine plan, which was announced on Friday, will focus on vaccinating high-risk and most elderly populations by April before reaching younger adults in the summer.

The goal is to vaccinate four million members of the general public against COVID-19 by September.

Currently, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends getting the second dose of the Moderna vaccine within 42 days of the first. 

According to current plan, those aged between 59 and 30 — like the Bakers — will receive vaccines between July to September, well after 42 days from their first doses.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Vancouver couple accused of being COVID-19 vaccine tourists won’t be able to skip B.C. line – News 1130

Published

 on


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The wealthy Vancouver couple accused of flying to a remote Yukon town to get vaccinated against COVID-19 won’t be allowed to line up for a second shot in B.C. anytime soon.

Rod Baker and his wife, Ekaterina, reportedly flew from Vancouver, where they live, to the remote Yukon community of Beaver Creek, where they received the Moderna vaccine.

But according to a statement from the Ministry of Health, there won’t be any space made for the couple to get their required second shot in B.C.

“There is no room in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan for people who deliberately put vulnerable populations at risk in order to receive their vaccine before the start of their eligibility group,” reads the statement to NEWS 1130.

Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer require a second dose for full protection.

B.C. was administering the second shot 35 days after the virus until further delays from Pfizer pushed the province to extend that window to a maximum of 42 days.

RELATED: Couple accused of flying to Yukon for vaccine ‘despicable’: B.C. minister

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry didn’t indicate how long the couple would have to wait for their second shot as vaccines are in short supply.

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” Henry said Monday when asked about reports of the Bakers jumping the queue.

“They put a community at risk for their own benefit and that to me is appalling.”

The current plan for immunizing British Columbians against the virus won’t see the general population starting to get vaccinated until April. Even then, those at higher risk and those oldest will be immunized first, before the province works backwards in five-year increments until people 60 years and older are immunized.

Ministry of Health staff confirms there are clear processes in place to ensure people currently live in B.C. The pre-registration system also prevents people from booking an appointment before you are eligible –based on your age.

Following accusations of travel, Great Canadian Gaming confirmed Rod Baker was no longer with the company.

Tickets filed in a Whitehorse court show the 55-year-old man and his 32-year-old wife were each charged with failing to self-isolate for 14 days and failing to act in a manner consistent with their declarations upon arriving in Yukon.

The allegations against them have not been proven in court and the tickets indicate the couple can challenge them.

– With files from the Canadian Press and Denise Wong

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending