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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Alberta’s premier is urging people to avoid large private gatherings as the number of novel coronavirus cases in the province climbs, saying “COVID-19 loves parties.” 

Jason Kenney, who said Monday that health officials could be forced to cancel elective surgeries if case numbers keep rising, called on people to follow public health guidance and respect restrictions.

“We’re all fed up with this, but now more than ever we need to take this seriously — and the single biggest thing people could do is just stop with the private parties and the social gatherings.” 

The issue of large gatherings was also flagged by the premier in Manitoba, who said Monday the province is seriously considering a temporary curfew as part of its plan to try to tackle growing case numbers. 

The province reported 103 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday along with five more deaths. While the new case count is lower than figures seen Monday and compared to a high of 480 on Friday, the number of hospitalizations have continued to climb.

There are 130 people in hospital — six more than on Monday, and a record high — and 20 in intensive care, up from 18.

Brian Pallister said Monday there have been reports of large parties being promoted online in Winnipeg, which is now considered a red zone on the province’s pandemic response scale.

WATCH | Manitoba considers curfew as new restrictions begin:

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is considering implementing a curfew to reverse the trend of increased COVID-19 cases in the province as harsh new restrictions came into effect in Winnipeg. 1:46

“These late-night situations in Winnipeg have expanded our number of COVID cases significantly,” Pallister said at his briefing Monday.

In British Columbia, which is also seeing rising COVID-19 case numbers, Health Minister Adrian Dix spoke out after social media postings showed a large number of Halloween partiers gather in a Vancouver neighbourhood.

“It’s a very irritating event because I think it was a visible symbol of people not following the rules of gathering, which are limited to 50 people,” Dix said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday again urged people to limit their contacts, follow public health guidelines and download the COVID Alert app. He pointed to increasing case numbers in several European countries, saying surges there show how quickly things can escalate. 

Trudeau said he knows the situation is tough now, but cautioned that it’s “going to be even tougher if we give up now.”

Canadians flattened the curve this spring, he said, adding it’s time to do it again this fall.

On Tuesday, new recommendations from the federal government on masks were outlined by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada is now recommending that Canadians wear three-layer non-medical masks with a filter layer to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, Tam said at a news conference. 

WATCH | Canada’s top doctor gives new guidance on the type of mask to wear:

Canada’s chief public health officer spoke to reporters during the bi-weekly pandemic briefing on Tuesday. 2:05

The recently updated guidelines recommend that two layers of the mask should be made of tightly woven fabric like cotton or linen and the middle layer should be a filter-type fabric, like non-woven polypropylene fabric.

Tam says she’s not suggesting that Canadians throw out masks they currently own, stating that adding a filter could help.

The World Health Organization has recommended three layers for non-medical masks since June. 


What’s happening in Canada

As of 12:15 p.m ET on Tuesday, provinces and territories in Canada had reported a cumulative total of 242,185 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 201,813 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,256.

Ontario announced Tuesday that it is launching a new system of criteria for imposing health restrictions on different areas in the province, as a record 1,050 new cases of COVID-19 were reported. Most of those infections are in Toronto and the surrounding regions. Another 14 deaths were also announced. 

 The seven-day average of new cases of COVID-19 increased to 950.

The new colour-coded model provides clarity on how decisions about restrictions for different industries and businesses are being made at the provincial level, said Premier Doug Ford.

The announcement also means that changes are being made to the modified Stage 2 restrictions for Ottawa, Peel and York regions. 

As a result, Ford said that at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 7, those regions will be moved out of the Stage 2 designation and gyms and indoor dining will be allowed again. Those businesses will also reopen in Toronto but a week later, on Nov. 14.

“Mayor Tory has asked us for a little more time in Toronto,” Ford said.

You can read more about the new framework and how businesses have reacted to increased shutdowns this month here

The number of people in hospital stood at 357, with 73 in intensive care and 47 on a ventilator, the province reported.

Quebec reported 871 new cases on Tuesday and added 34 deaths to its count of COVID-19 fatalities, with five of those reported as occurring in the previous 24 hours. 

The province, which has recorded more than 108,000 cases since the pandemic began, reported 526 COVID-19 hospitalizations with 85 in ICU.

The Quebec government said Tuesday that regions including Quebec City and Montreal are improving but others, such as Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Mauricie and Lanaudière, are seeing increased levels of COVID-19 transmission.

Dr. Horacio Arruda said at a news conference that Quebec is looking at its own recommendations for masks, as the federal Public Health Agency recommended Canadians choose three-layer non-medical masks on Tuesday. 

In Atlantic Canada, there was one new COVID-19 case reported in Nova Scotia on Tuesday. There were no new cases in New Brunswick or Newfoundland and Labrador.

In Prince Edward Island, which has no active cases, a state of emergency was renewed on Tuesday for another 30 days.

Premier Dennis King urged people to maintain their efforts at keeping the province safe, saying the “simple things” Islanders are enjoying right now “could be very quickly and easily ripped from us if we aren’t vigilant.” 

Saskatchewan reported 74 new COVID-19 cases on Monday. According to the province 34 people were in hospital, with seven in intensive care.

Across the North, there were no new cases reported in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut on Monday.


What’s happening around the world

WATCH | U.S. COVID-19 management a ‘mess’ at several levels, infectious disease expert says:

There was poor cohesion between leaders at the state and federal levels in the U.S. over managing COVID-19, says infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, who also hopes that voting on Tuesday won’t cause a major superspreading event. 1:32

As of Tuesday morning, more than 47 million cases of the novel coronavirus had been reported worldwide since the pandemic began, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The tool maintained by the U.S.-based university listed more than 31 million of those as recovered and put the global death toll at more than 1.2 million.

In the Americas, huge voter turnout was expected in the U.S. despite mounting cases of the novel coronavirus and political rancour.

In and around polling places across the country, reminders of an election year shaped by a pandemic, civil unrest and bruising political partisanship greeted voters, although more than 90 million ballots already have been submitted in an unprecedented wave of early voting.

Many wore masks to the polls — either by choice or by official mandate — with the coronavirus outbreak raging in many parts of the country.

In Nebraska alone, the surge in COVID-19 cases has led to record-high hospitalizations that are straining the state’s health-care system, officials said Monday.

Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer for CHI Health’s network of 14 hospitals across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, said during a video call with reporters that there had been a doubling of COVID-positive patients in the last several weeks in the network. He said if the trend continues “every hospital in the state could be at capacity in a very short period of time.”

Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo has began self-isolating after a close coworker tested positive for the coronavirus.

In Europe, the French government will reimpose an evening curfew on Paris, and possibly the Ile-de-France region around the capital, to tackle worsening COVID-19 figures, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said on Tuesday.

A sign with instructions for delivery and click-and-collect is stuck to the window of a shop in Paris on Tuesday as non-essential businesses are closed due to the new lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images)

Greece announced it will impose a two-week lockdown in northern regions and suspend flights, while Italy will tighten restrictions but is holding back from reintroducing a nationwide lockdown as infections, hospital admissions and deaths surge.

Russia’s coronavirus cases could peak in the middle of November, the country’s consumer health watchdog estimated on Tuesday, as authorities reported more than 18,000 new infections nationwide.

The peak would be roughly mid-November, Alexander Gorelov, deputy director of a research institute at Rospotrebnadzor, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

A municipal worker wearing protective equipment sprays disinfectant on a bus stop near the Novodevichy convent in Moscow on Tuesday. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)

“It is difficult to give a more accurate forecast as many factors affect the development of the epidemiological process,” he said.

Officials have repeatedly said that Russia does not intend to reimpose the strict lockdown restrictions that were in place in the spring, despite a surge in cases and deaths across the country.

The situation with the coronavirus in Ukraine is close to catastrophic and the nation must prepare for the worst, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Tuesday, as the country registered a record 8,899 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours.

Nursing students disinfect each other at the COVID-19 testing facility on the Spoor Oost site in Antwerp on Tuesday. Belgium is in a second lockdown as hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients reach record highs. (Dirk Waem/Belga/AFP/Getty Images)

In Africa, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has tested positive for COVID-19, but his condition is gradually improving as he receives treatment in a German hospital, the presidency said on Tuesday.

Mozambique will receive €100 million in coronavirus-related aid from the European Union, EU Ambassador Antonio Sanchez-Benedito Gaspar said. South Africa remained the hardest-hit country in Africa, with more than 727,000 cases recorded and more than 19,400 deaths.

In the Asia-Pacific region, authorities in Sri Lanka have extended the school holidays for two more weeks, postponing the opening of classes amid a surge of COVID-19 patients from two clusters in Colombo and the capital’s suburbs.

Schools were suddenly closed last month as a precautionary measure after a new cluster of coronavirus infections centred on a garment factory erupted in the densely populated Western province, where the capital is. Another cluster centred on the country’s main fish market arose later.

Security personnel stand at a checkpoint in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Monday following a one-week curfew extension for the Western province to contain the spread of COVID-19. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images)

India has registered 38,310 confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, maintaining an overall downturn even as fresh infections continue to appear in its capital, New Delhi. The Health Ministry on Tuesday also reported 490 more fatalities from COVID-19, raising the overall death toll to 123,097.

With a total of 8.2 million coronavirus cases during the pandemic, India is the second-worst-hit country behind the United States. But it has been witnessing a steady fall in daily cases.

Still, health officials say New Delhi remains in the grip of its third and worst wave of infections yet. In the past week, there were more than 5,200 cases on average every day. The Health Ministry attributes the city’s surge to the festival season, with people crowding markets for shopping.

In the Middle East, Iran reported on Tuesday a record daily total of 8,932 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the overall figure to 637,712 for detected infections in the Middle East’s worst-hit country, the Health Ministry said.

Health Ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari told state television that 422 patients had died in the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 36,160.

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The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for Dec. 3 – CBC.ca

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The all-important College Scholastic Ability Test took place Thursday across South Korea, including in this Seoul classroom. More than 426,000 students were taking the one-day exam, including, in isolation, 41 who have tested positive for the coronavirus and hundreds of others in self-quarantine. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

National vaccine deployment plan calls for up to 205 vaccine distribution locations across Canada

Canadians heard extensively for the first time on Thursday from Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who has been tasked by the federal government with leading vaccination logistics and operations. While the country is facing unprecedented “logistical complexities,” the military and its partners will be ready to deploy COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are approved in Canada, Fortin said.

The former NATO commander, along with the other public health officials who spoke at Thursday’s news conference, tried to provide assurances for the many questions still swirling in the air, including the cold storage capacities for feeding the supply chain given the temperature requirements of some of the vaccines.

Eventually, there will be 205 “points of issue” locations across the country where health-care professionals can administer the vaccine, Fortin said. It will be up to the provinces and territories to specify where and when individual Canadians will be inoculated.

The national operations centre has conducted one dry run scenario, with others planned. Fortin said exercises and planning have contemplated a number of possible complications, including treacherous winter delivery conditions, fires at distribution hubs and cyberattacks.

With respect to Pfizer’s vaccine, which needs to be kept at approximately -80 C to remain stable, Fortin said his team is in daily contact with the company and there have been no hiccups with Canada’s plans. The Pfizer product will be delivered by that company directly to provincial and territorial distribution points as early as the end of the month, he said, and the federal government has secured the cold storage required for this vaccine. In addition, the provinces have indicated where the Pfizer-specific fridges should be placed, according to Fortin.

The total supply of doses and prioritization of vaccine recipients will be key, ongoing questions. Government officials have previously said they hoped some three million people could get vaccinated through the first quarter of 2021, but Canada is not manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines and will rely on importing them through deals it’s struck with the pharmaceutical companies.

Health Canada has said its approval of at least one vaccine could come within the next two weeks, not long after U.S. regulators meet.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said the federal government is now refining who is best suited to first get a dose of a vaccine. Early guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) suggests seniors in long-term care homes and front-line health-care workers will be among the first to get a shot.

Click below to watch more from The National

IN BRIEF

Alberta planning for COVID-19 field hospitals, according to internal document

An Alberta Health Services document obtained by CBC News shows the province has been planning for more than a week to set up indoor field hospitals that could treat up to 750 COVID-19 patients.

The document dated Nov. 28 outlines plans for 375 beds each in Calgary and Edmonton for patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms. Patients requiring intensive care would remain in city hospitals.

The field hospitals draft plan underscores the severity of the public-health crisis Alberta faces — and provides a sobering sign of where officials believe the trajectory of virus infections could be headed. There were 504 people in hospitals and 97 in ICUs in Alberta on Wednesday. A total of 561 people in the province have died from the disease since the start of the pandemic.

The greatest challenge to making the hospitals operational by December or January would be staffing, and the document references potentially calling in the military to assist. Other logistical challenges would be building adequate toilet, shower and handwashing facilities at the proposed sites as well as determining whether an oxygen supply infrastructure could be established.

Dr. Noel Gibney, a veteran Edmonton critical-care doctor who has publicly criticized the government’s pandemic response, says the field hospital planning is sensible due diligence planning, but he said the government has clearly not told the public the degree of risk they are now facing while continuing with policies that downplay the risk.

“On one hand, we are having provincial planning at a disaster level or for an upcoming disaster,” he said. “And on the other hand, we are being told everything is fine.”

In addition, CBC News has learned through a source close to the federal government that Alberta has inquired with the Trudeau government and the Red Cross about supplying field hospitals to help offset the strain COVID-19 is having on the province’s health-care system.

Read more about what’s happening in Alberta 

Quebec cancels plans to allow Christmas gatherings as COVID-19 cases surge

Quebec Premier François Legault on Thursday backtracked on his plan to allow gatherings over the Christmas holiday period after a rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths that caused doctors at some hospitals to voice their concerns.

Legault said that gatherings in the province’s hard-hit “red zones,” which encompass most of the province, will be prohibited over the holidays.

“When we look at the situation, we are forced to realize that it is not realistic to think that we are going to succeed in reducing the progression of the virus in a satisfactory way by Christmas,” he said.

Legault announced last month that people would be allowed to gather in groups of 10 over a four-day period, from Dec. 24 through Dec. 27, if they isolated for a week before and after. He later said people should only gather twice during that period.

The province reported more than 1,500 daily cases for the first time ever on Wednesday, and more than 1,400 again Thursday.

“If we continue in this direction, hospitals will start to overflow. We have a limited number of nurses, and our nurses are very tired,” the premier said.

Legault did allow that Quebecers could individually visit a person living alone, particularly the elderly, over the holidays. But he stressed visitors in such circumstances need to be wearing masks, maintaining a two-metre distance and not staying very long. Visits to the province’s long-term care homes and seniors’ residences, however, will be prohibited — with the exception of caregivers.

Read more about the situation in Quebec

Dozens of internationally educated nurses are on the sidelines in Manitoba

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen said recently a special designation will be granted to 39 internationally educated nurses waiting on English tests so they can practise in Manitoba and have the language requirement temporarily waived, but it’s not clear when that will happen.

Bhupinder Grewal, originally from India, is among the internationally educated nurses who’ve struggled and been inconvenienced by a recurring two-year English language test that is required for licensing. Both of the English tests that would be suitable to take are not being administered this year because of the pandemic.

Darlene Jackson, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union, said it’s a shame the internationally educated nurses are unable to work because of a language test when they have otherwise shown the necessary skills through bridging tests to meet Canadian standards. The union says the nursing vacancy rate in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Shared Health combined is around 16 per cent.

“We are in a nursing shortage. We’re at a critical nursing shortage in many areas. We are desperate to have every possible nurse that can work in the system,” she said.

The Touchstone Institute, responsible for administering the Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses, says the two-year expiry date on the language requirement, is “based on the assumption that the measure of examinees’ capabilities at a given point in time may become less trustworthy indicators of those capabilities as time passes.”

When contacted by CBC for this story, Friesen’s office declined to comment, but said it will provide an update on the special designation soon.

Read more about the situation

Stay informed with the latest COVID-19 data.

THE SCIENCE

Why children in Canada won’t immediately receive a COVID-19 vaccine

There is currently no human pediatric data for vaccine candidates to protect against COVID-19, although that could change in 2021.

Federal statistics show that at 8.1 million Canadians, children and teens make up one-fifth of the population. But younger immune systems are more active than those of adults, and children often show stronger immune reactions to vaccines in terms of side-effects.

“Children often will need either a slightly different formulation or a smaller dose of a vaccine, so it’s appropriate to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective in adults and then move on to that testing,” said Shannon MacDonald, an assistant professor in the faculty of nursing at the University of Alberta who conducts public health research, including on vaccines.

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on NBC’s Meet the Press that it could take months before those younger than 18 in the U.S. general public could get a coronavirus vaccine, if approved by regulators.

Pfizer announced in October it was expanding vaccine testing to those 12 and older, while Moderna said this week it expects to test the vaccine on children between the ages of 12 and 17 in the coming weeks and on younger children in 2021. The developments are likely welcomed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which wrote an open letter to U.S. federal health officials to ensure children are not left out of vaccine efforts.

Although it’s far from guaranteed, it is possible adults will gain enough immunity from vaccinations that widespread vaccinations of children will not be necessary.

“Some vaccines contribute to herd immunity because the person who gets the vaccine doesn’t spread any infection,” says Dr. Joanne Langley of Dalhousie University, who is the co-leader of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine task force. “We don’t know for sure yet whether that occurs with the COVID vaccines and how effective it is.”

AND FINALLY…

From a tiny outport to a Vietnamese city, how one Newfoundlander is enduring the pandemic

Sabrina Pinksen, an artist, has been painting and drawing portraits for the last five years. She is shown with a Vietnamese security guard. (Submitted by Sabrina Pinksen)

Many Canadians who live abroad won’t be coming home for the holidays for safety reasons or because of the complications involved with travel quarantines, but Newfoundland and Labrador native Sabrina Pinksen is in one of the safest spots in the world, statistically speaking, with respect to the coronavirus.

Pinksen, who is originally from tiny Wild Cove, near the Baie Verte Peninsula, has been living in Hanoi since 2017. It’s a city nearly twice as populous as Canada’s biggest, but with one-third of the physical space.

But as of Wednesday, Vietnam has recorded 1,351 cases and 35 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the World Health Organization. Even if there was a moderate amount of underreporting, it would be a status that ranks favourably with any country in the world.

“I don’t even think about COVID, going out into my daily life,” Pinksen said. “It’s almost like it wasn’t real.”

Pinksen, who’s passionate about her art but earns her income teaching English through a school, said the disruptions that have occurred with daily life have actually led to more of a demand for her services, as some Vietnamese have more free time.

Unlike in North America, there is no cultural resistance to the most publicly visible mitigation measure. Pinksen said: “This is a mask-wearing country anyway. So even before COVID, a lot of people would wear masks.”

Pinksen is not able to travel to Canada for the holidays and admits to being homesick — it’s been 15 months since she’s been home and her father has a serious health issue.

But, she said, “I’m very grateful that everything in Newfoundland is OK right now.”

Read more about life in Vietnam during the pandemic 

Find out more about COVID-19

Still looking for more information on the pandemic? Read more about COVID-19’s impact on life in Canada, or reach out to us at covid@cbc.ca if you have any questions.

If you have symptoms of the illness caused by the coronavirus, here’s what to do in your part of the country.

For full coverage of how your province or territory is responding to COVID-19, visit your local CBC News site.

To get this newsletter daily as an email, subscribe here

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Airbnb rolls out restrictions in Canada to prevent New Year's Eve parties – CBC.ca

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Airbnb says it has a plan to curb New Year’s Eve parties this year while Canada works to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, with the announcement coming not long after a short-term rental was the site of a 60-person party in Mississauga, Ont.

In addition to its ongoing ban on parties, Airbnb now says guests will need a history of positive reviews on its app to reserve an entire home for New Year’s Eve in Canada.

Airbnb is making an exception for one-night bookings made up to Tuesday, based on data that suggests bookings made before early December rarely involve parties.

Most guests and hosts “are quite responsible, but there’s always a couple people who try to skirt those rules,” said Nathan Rotman, senior manager of public policy at Airbnb.

“We want to make sure that people are both adhering to public health guidelines and following the policies that we’ve put in place and our hosts have put in place.”

Still, Rotman says there are plenty of good reasons why hosts might get bookings over the holidays, including people who might need to use rental suites for isolation purposes after returning to Canada. This new restriction, he says, is to target people who are ignoring company policies.

The app is loosening its standards from a similar policy on Halloween by allowing users with previous positive reviews to book a home for one night.

But Airbnb says it will put more stringent policies in place as the new year nears, by using technology that blocks certain kinds of last-minute bookings.

Airbnb’s announcement comes after Deputy Chief Marc Andrews of the Peel Regional Police said a short-term rental unit was the site of a 60-person party this past weekend, resulting in thousands in fines to partiers who violated COVID-19 restrictions.

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Canada will have vaccine infrastructure in place around ‘Christmas,’ 1st doses in January – Global News

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The federal government laid out details for Canada’s coronavirus vaccine rollout Thursday, saying it plans to have logistics and infrastructure in place before Christmas, according to Dany Fortin, the lead on the nations’ COVID-19 distribution of a vaccine.

Speaking at a media conference, Fortin said although Health Canada is still reviewing approval for vaccines, the federal government and provinces are working on a rollout plan and will do a trial run next week.

Read more:
Canada’s review of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will be completed ‘soon,’ health minister says

“We’re not going to wait until the end of December … we are getting ready so that when it becomes possible we are poised to distribute,” he said.

Fortin said the vaccines that require colder storage, such as Pfizer and Moderna, are most likely to be first distributed in January.

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But the initial shipments of vaccines to arrive in Canada, called “track one,” will be rolled out differently.

For example, Moderna’s vaccine will first be shipped to one location in Canada and then sent to communities across the country. But the Pfizer vaccine will be sent directly to the communities, according to the federal government.

This is because Pfizer’s vaccine requires specially designed temperature-controlled shipment and storage containers — the temperature has to be -70 C for up to 10 days unopened.


Click to play video 'Alberta health minister expects shipments of COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in early January'



1:11
Alberta health minister expects shipments of COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in early January


Alberta health minister expects shipments of COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in early January

Fortin said the military, federal government and provinces are implementing a “soft launch” of the distribution plan in order to ensure authorities are ready to handle the ultra-low temperatures required for Pfizer and Moderna.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Fourteen sites across Canada will be ready for Pfizer, he said.

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Moderna expects the vaccine to be stable at normal fridge temperatures of two to eight degrees Celsius for 30 days and it can be stored for up to six months at -20 C.

Fortin said every province has already identified the “points of use” where the vaccines will be distributed. And by Dec. 14, he added that these locations are expected to be ready for the vaccines.

“So this gives you a sense that in December, we’re hard at it in the next couple of weeks to ensure you that we are ready,” he said. “I kind of like the idea of being ready before the Christmas timeframe so that we’re certain to be ready when it comes in January.”

First vaccines will cover 3M Canadians

Currently, Health Canada is reviewing approval for four coronavirus vaccines.

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Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Thursday that he is “optimistic” that reviews of Pfizer, Moderna and several other vaccines will be complete soon, and expects the Pfizer one to be “a favorable one.”

The federal government plans to give three million Canadians the first round of coronavirus vaccines when they are approved and arrive in the country, Njoo said.

Read more:
Will Canada lag behind on coronavirus vaccines? It’s complicated, experts say

“We will immunize as many Canadians as possible, as quickly as possible and ensure that high-risk populations are prioritized,” Njoo said. “We expect certain Health Canada-approved vaccines to become available in early 2021. The initial supply of these vaccines will be limited, such that we will be able to vaccinate around three million Canadians. That means we need to be strategic on who gets vaccinated first.”

He said the National Advisory Committee on Immunization will release guidelines in the coming days that will help identify who receives the COVID-19 shots first, he said.

“Although the initial supply will be limited I want to be clear there will be enough vaccines for every Canadian,” Njoo added.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: O’Toole blames ‘secrecy and incompetence’ of Trudeau government for vaccine delay'



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Coronavirus: O’Toole blames ‘secrecy and incompetence’ of Trudeau government for vaccine delay


Coronavirus: O’Toole blames ‘secrecy and incompetence’ of Trudeau government for vaccine delay

On Wednesday, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, described the country’s vaccine effort as “one of the most consequential scientific endeavours in living memory” and “one of the most complex operations ever taken in public health.”

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Speaking at a vaccine conference, she said the country is working to further refine the list of who gets the vaccine first, since the initial six million doses expected to come in early 2021 — enough for three million people — aren’t enough for everyone on the national vaccine advisory committee’s list of priority groups, which include the ill and elderly, health-care workers, essential workers and Indigenous communities.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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