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COVID-19: B.C. hit with 'overwhelming' response to book AstraZeneca vaccines – Vancouver Sun

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Starting today people aged 55 to 65 living in the Lower Mainland can book a vaccine but people can expect delays and waitlists to book a jab.

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Starting today people aged 55 to 65 living in the Lower Mainland can book an AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine, but so far the rollout has not gone smoothly.

Frustrated folks in the region faced busy phone signals at pharmacies, jammed websites, waitlists, and at least one pharmacy chain saying it was all booked up.

On Tuesday night, a day before the bookings opened for this category, London Drugs announced on Twitter that due to an “overwhelming response,” all vaccine appointments had been booked at the three London Drugs pharmacies selected by the B.C. government to offer the vaccine.

The company asked people not to call the pharmacies so they can prepare for the “fully booked” appointments.

Those who felt confused or daunted by the process took to social media to complain about the booking system. Some were upset about London Drugs booking on Tuesday ahead of the Wednesday start, while others despaired over not being able to get a booking because the pharmacy had already run out of AstraZeneca.

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There are dozens of pharmacies around the region offering the jab. The B.C. Pharmacy Association website has a list of pharmacies offering the vaccine, which will be updated regularly in the coming weeks.

However, callers to several pharmacies on the list were met with a busy signal Wednesday morning, indicating a demand for the vaccine.

The 2019 population data for those aged 55 to 65 in the Lower Mainland show there are 275,457 people in that age category in the Fraser Health Authority and 176,431 in Vancouver Coastal.

Those trying for an appointment on the North Shore faced difficulties. For instance, Davies Prescription Pharmacy, which is one of two North Shore pharmacies on the vaccination list, said they were out of a very limited supply of AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday morning, while the other one on the list is a London Drugs, which is booked. There is no pharmacy listed for West Vancouver.

The Costco Pharmacy in Abbotsford said they haven’t received any AstraZeneca yet and directed people to add their name to a waitlist at costco.ca.  Rexall pharmacies also has a waitlist.

The Ministry of Health has been contacted to address the situation.

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Interim leader of the Official Opposition Shirley Bond and MLA Renee Merrifield, the B.C. Liberal critic for health, released a joint statement Wednesday, saying the NDP’s “constant bungling” is creating confusion and concern over vaccinations.

The government announced Tuesday that those in the age 55 to 65 category could start booking vaccines, but many pharmacies were overwhelmed or didn’t know they were on the vaccination list, they said.

“For weeks we have consistently been asking John Horgan to include community pharmacies as part of the rollout and to have a clearly laid out plan. That didn’t happen and British Columbians deserve better. Yesterday was just another example of incompetence from a government that cannot manage to deliver on critical programs like the vaccination rollout, they said.

“Now the 55 to 65 age cohort in the Lower Mainland is left wondering what happened after feeling a sense of hope about the possibility of being vaccinated. We can certainly understand how people are feeling frustration and anger about the latest problems with the vaccination rollout.”

Bond and Merrifield said there needs to be a provincial booking system.

London Drugs’ announcement caused many social media users to express frustration about how people could book on Tuesday when they were told by government that bookings opened on Wednesday.

The company has been contacted for a response but has not yet returned messages.

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The province decided to bump up its age-based immunization plan for AstraZeneca shots after concerns about rare blood clots prompted the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to pause the use of the vaccine for anyone under 55.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says in a news release that the vaccine remains highly effective and its benefits for those over 55 far outweigh the risks of COVID-19 infection.

More than 99,000 B.C. residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and infections have surged across the province in recent weeks, with 840 new cases reported Tuesday.

“As soon as the news was public all of our Lower Mainland British Columbia stores became inundated with customers wanting to book appointments,” London Drugs said on Twitter.

London Drugs said its three designated vaccination sites in Metro Vancouver have received limited allocations of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“As soon as more supply becomes available, we will open up our online booking similarly to what we would do with routine flu vaccinations. We are ready to vaccinate as many people as possible and expect more information on increased allotment will be coming in the days ahead.”

Those going to get a vaccine will be required to bring their Personal Health Number, located on your CareCard or driver’s license.

The AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is currently not available in pharmacies in the Northern, Interior, and Vancouver Island health authorities at this time.

-with files from The Canadian Press and Nathan Griffiths

ticrawford@postmedia.com


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  1. A health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Madrid on March 24, 2021.

    COVID-19: Dr. Henry explains future of parallel AstraZeneca track

  2. The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

    COVID-19: Health Ministry mum on call to change vaccination priorities in B.C.

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Canadian Business During the Pandemic

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In 2019 the world was hit by the covid 19 pandemic and ever since then people have been suffering in different ways. Usually, economies and businesses have changed the way they work and do business. Most of which are going towards online and automation.

The people most effected by this are the laymen that used to work hard labors to make money for there families. But other then them it has been hard for most business to make such switch. Those of whom got on the online/ e commerce band wagon quickly were out of trouble and into the safe zone but not everyone is mace for the high-speed online world and are thus suffering.

More than 200,000 Canadian businesses could close permanently during the COVID-19 crisis, throwing millions of people out of work as the resurgence of the virus worsens across much of the country, according to new research. You can only imagine how many families these businesses were feeding, not to mention the impact the economy and the GDP is going to bear.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said one in six, or about 181,000, Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating shutting down. The latest figures, based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and 16, come on top of 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020.

An estimate by the CFIB last summer said one in seven or 158,000 businesses were at risk of going under as a result of the pandemic. Based on the organization’s updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people could be out of work. A staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs.

Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research, said it was an alarming increase in the number of businesses that are considering closing.

We are not headed in the right direction, and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision,”

He said in a statement.

The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose, and the harder it will be for the economy to recover.

In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic, the organization said.

The new sad research shows that this year has been horrible for the Canadian businesses.

 

The beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, in a statement.

She called on governments to help small businesses “replace subsidies with sales” by introducing safe pathways to reopen to businesses.

There’s a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams,”

Jones said.

Let’s make 2021 the year we help small business survive and then get back to thriving.”

The whole world has suffered a lot from the pandemic and the Canadian economy has been no stranger to it. We can only pray that the world gets rid of this pandemic quickly and everything become as it used to be. Although I think it is about time, we start setting new norms.

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Shopify shares edge up after falling on executive departures

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By Chavi Mehta

(Reuters) -Shopify Inc shares edged higher on Thursday, recovering partially from the previous day’s fall, with analysts saying the news of planned senior executive departures may have limited impact due to the company’s deep talent pool.

Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday the company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all leave their roles.

“We remain confident it (Shopify) can continue to execute at a high level, despite the departures,” Tom Forte, analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co said, pointing to the company’s “deep bench of talented executives.”

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the past year as many businesses went virtual during the COVID-19 lockdowns, turning it into Canada‘s most valuable company.

Shopify declined to comment further on Lutke’s statement suggesting current company leaders would step in to fill the three roles. After chief product officer Craig Miller left in September, Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

The Ottawa-based company is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

Jonathan Kees, analyst at Summit Insights Group, called the timing of the departures “a little alarming” but said the specific roles make it less concerning, given that the executives leaving are “more back-office roles.”

Lutke said each one of them had their individual reasons to leave, without giving details.

“I am willing to give Tobi’s explanation the benefit of the doubt,” Kees added.

Toronto-listed shares of Shopify were up 3.5% at C$1526.41 on Thursday, giving it a market value of C$188 billion ($150 billion). It ended down 5.1% on Wednesday.

“While we would refer to the departure of three high-level executives as ‘significant,’ we would not refer to it as a ‘brain drain,'” Forte added.

($1 = 1.2541 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Dan Grebler)

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Almost half of Shopify’s top execs to depart company: CEO

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By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) – Three of e-commerce platform Shopify’s seven top executives will be leaving the company in the coming months, chief executive officer and founder of Canada‘s most valuable company Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all transition out of their roles, Lutke said, adding that they have been “spectacular and deserve to take a bow.”

“Each one of them has their individual reasons but what was unanimous with all three was that this was the best for them and the best for Shopify,” he said.

The trio follow the departure of Craig Miller, chief product officer, in September. Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the last year as many businesses went virtual during COVID-19 lockdowns. It has a market cap valuation of C$182.7 billion ($146 billion), above Canada‘s top lender Royal Bank of Canada.

It is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

“We have a phenomenally strong bench of leaders who will now step up into larger roles,” Lutke said, but did not name replacements.

Shopify said in February revenue growth would slow this year as vaccine rollouts encourage people to return to stores and warned it does not expect 2020’s near doubling of gross merchandise volume, an industry metric to measure transaction volumes, to repeat this year.

Chief talent officer, Brittany Forsyth, was the 22nd employee hired at Shopify and has been with the company for 11 years. She said on Twitter that post-Shopify she would be focusing on Backbone Angels, an all-female collective of angel investors she co-founded in March.

Shopify shares fell 5.1% while the benchmark Canadian share index ended marginally down.

($1 = 1.2515 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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