Connect with us

Health

Daily COVID-19 infections stabilize in some provinces as national cases surpass 825K – Global News

Published

 on


Ontario unveiled plans to expand its COVID-19 vaccination rollout to more target groups on Sunday ahead of an expected boost in nationwide shipments of the Pfizer vaccine that could lend ammunition to the provinces’ fights against the spread of contagious variants.

The Ontario government reported Sunday that all long-term care residents across the province had been “given an opportunity” for a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The province’s vaccine taskforce told regional public health officers in a memo that it is expanding its focus in the coming weeks, with staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, top priority health-care workers and Indigenous adults in remote and higher risk communities among those first in line for the vaccine.

Read more:
Ottawa still blocking provinces from ordering vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna: Pallister

Story continues below advertisement

Delays in vaccine shipments forced the province to concentrate its inoculation efforts on long-term care residents in recent weeks, but the memo says the province expects those deliveries to increase again, allowing it to expand the scope of its vaccination drive.

“Given the expected gradual increase in Ontario’s vaccine supply, the next target groups within the Phase One priority populations have been identified for vaccination,” the memo read.

Once those priority groups have been addressed, the province said seniors 80 or older, adults receiving chronic home care and all Indigenous adults will be next in line for a vaccine. The memo said those populations may start receiving their shots “when all reasonable steps have been taken to complete first-dose vaccinations” for the top priority groups.

Vaccine deliveries are expected to ramp up across the country this week, with Pfizer-BioNTech slated to deliver its biggest shipment to date.






2:01
How COVID-19 has changed dating


How COVID-19 has changed dating

The Public Health Agency of Canada has said more than 335,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be delivered in the coming days following a weeks-long slowdown that forced provinces to curtail their immunization efforts.

Story continues below advertisement

The vaccines are due to land as provinces hoping to protect their vulnerable populations from more contagious COVID-19 variants, which threaten to reverse positive trends in cases in recent weeks.

Canada added another 2,432 new cases of the virus on Sunday, as well as 65 more deaths. The country’s total cases now stand at 825,790 and 21,293.

Of the country’s total infected, at least 768,500 have recovered from the virus, while a total of 23,491,200 tests and 1,254,800 vaccines have been administered to date.

Sunday’s new data paints a limited snapshot of the virus spread across Canada however, as B.C. and both the Northwest Territories and the Yukon do not report new cases over the weekend.

Officials in both Ontario and Quebec expressed concern over variants on Sunday, even as their provinces reported fewer than 1,000 new cases each.

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit became the latest to confirm a case of the variant first discovered in South Africa, which is one of three “variants of concern” that has been detected in the province.

Story continues below advertisement

A total of 20 confirmed COVID-19 variant cases had been reported in the region as of Saturday, but the health unit said only one of those has so far been verified as the South Africa-based variant.

“We need to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants of concern, and if we don’t act now, it could be devastating for the entire district,” regional Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jim Chirico said in a statement.

On Saturday, officials announced that another variant, which was first detected in the U.K., has been found in all 10 Canadian provinces.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube also expressed concern about variants, even as his province continued to report encouraging numbers.

Read more:
Coronavirus may linger for years, but could change into mild annoyance: experts

While deaths and hospitalizations have declined and new cases have stabilized over the last two weeks, “the threat of variants is concerning, we must continue to limit contacts,” he wrote on Twitter.

The province logged 910 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday along with 15 new virus-related deaths.

Meanwhile, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador both saw a drop in the number of new cases reported after recent surges.

Story continues below advertisement


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Researchers say California COVID-19 variant more infectious, led to holiday spike'



2:10
Coronavirus: Researchers say California COVID-19 variant more infectious, led to holiday spike


Coronavirus: Researchers say California COVID-19 variant more infectious, led to holiday spike

Newfoundland and Labrador reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, while New Brunswick recorded two, compared to 16 on Saturday.

Farther west, Manitoba reported 79 additional cases as well as five new deaths among COVID-19 patients.

Saskatchewan counted 161 new cases of the virus, while Alberta logged 284, as well as five added deaths.

Nunavut added three new cases to its overall tally, all in the community of Arviat that’s the scene of the territory’s only active infections

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between COVID doses – ABC News

Published

 on


TORONTO — A national panel of vaccine experts in Canada recommended Wednesday that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to four months to quickly inoculate more people amid a shortage of doses in Canada.

A number of provinces said they would do just that.

Second doses would begin to be administered in July as more shipments arrive, the panel said, noting that 55 million doses are expected to be delivered in July, August and September.

In comparison, the federal government previously said 38% of people would receive two doses by the end of June.

“They are making, I think, a reasonable calculation in a time of drug shortage,” said Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network. “It’s the right decision in my mind. Let me ask … A couple are given two vaccines. Do you give two to one, or give one each one dose? It’s a no brainer.”

The addition of the newly approved AstraZeneca vaccine to the country’s supply could mean almost all Canadians would get their first shot in that time frame.

“The vaccine effectiveness of the first dose will be monitored closely and the decision to delay the second dose will be continuously assessed based on surveillance and effectiveness data and post-implementation study designs,” the panel wrote.

“Effectiveness against variants of concern will also be monitored closely, and recommendations may need to be revised,” it said, adding there is currently no evidence that a longer interval will affect the emergence of the variants.

The updated guidance applies to all three of the vaccines currently approved for use in Canada.

Manitoba and Quebec also said Wednesday they will delay second doses. And Ontario’s health minister said it would Ontario to rapidly accelerate its vaccine rollout.

Earlier Wednesday, Trudeau said any change in public health guidance regarding the timing of the two doses could affect the speed of Canada’s vaccine rollout, as could the approval of more vaccines like Johnson and Johnson.

Canada’s provinces administer health care in the country so it’s ultimately up to the provinces.

Dr. Brad Wouters, executive vice-president of science and research at University Health Network, cast doubt on the recommendation. “Nobody in the world has been 4 months between doses. These are RNA vaccines never used before. We should use evidence to make decisions. Canada conducting a population experiment,” Wouters tweeted.

And Mona Nemer, the federal government’s Chief Science Advisor, also said this week that the plan amounts to a “population-level experiment” and that the data provided so far by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech is based on an interval of three to four weeks between doses.

But Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s provincial health officer, said the manufacturers structured their clinical trials that way to get the vaccines to market as quickly as possible, but said research in British Columbia, Quebec, Israel and the United Kingdom has shown that first doses are highly effective.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser for Health Canada, the country’s regulator, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in a time of limited supply they are starting to have greater comfort with the idea of waiting for the second dose after seeing real world data versus the strict interpretation of the clinical trials.

“In the real world we’re starting to see evidence from other countries that have delayed that second dose ‘Oh, it looks like they still have a really good effectiveness.’ We have lab studies that show it’s unlikely that immune response will drop off,” Sharma said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply – Maple Ridge News – Maple Ridge News

Published

 on


The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is supporting B.C.’s decision to delay the second doses of COVID-19 vaccines by up to four months.

“NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first,” the committee said in a decision published Wednesday (March 3).

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada; Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the newly approved AstroZeneca vaccine.

B.C. announced the decision to delay the second booster shot for four months on Monday, which health officials said could mean that all adults in the province could have their first dose by July.

READ MORE: Most B.C. adults could get their first COVID vaccine shot by July: health officials

Both provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and NACI said that its rationale was based on both the current available vaccine supply and data from other countries.

A study published by the University of Cambridge in the U.K., which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggests that a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can reduce the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections by 75 per cent.

In Israel, researchers studied the effects of a single dose of the same vaccine and published their findings in The Lancet medical journal, concluding that it was 85 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

Also in The Lancet, a U.K. study found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 81 per cent effective when its second dose is given three months after the first, compared with 55 per cent efficacy after six weeks.

The national advisory committee noted that since the COVID-19 vaccines are still new, its unknown how long the protection of one or both doses lasts for.

“Experience with other multi-dose vaccines after a single dose suggests persistent protection could last for six months or longer in adolescents and adults,” NACI said in its statement. “Longer-term follow-up of clinical trial participants and those receiving vaccination in public programs will assist in determining the duration of protection following both one and two doses of vaccination.”

The national advisory committee added that it’s unknown how a delayed booster shot regime will affect the spread of variants of concern, including the U.K. and South African ones. However, NACI notes that there is “currently no evidence that an extended interval between doses will either increase or decrease the emergence of variants of concern.”

The committee noted that all three currently approved vaccines have shown “promising early result” against the U.K. variant B.1.1.7.

READ MORE: COVID-19 wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

– with files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won’t find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Vaccine panel recommends going up to 4 months between doses of COVID-19 shots – ElliotLakeToday.com

Published

 on


A national panel of vaccine experts recommended Wednesday that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to quickly inoculate more people, as the prime minister expressed optimism that vaccination timelines could be sped up.

In laying out its new guidelines, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said extending the dose interval to four months would create opportunities to protect the entire adult population against the virus within a short time frame.

As many as 80 per cent of Canadians over 16 could receive a single dose by the end of June simply with the expected supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the panel said. Second doses would begin to be administered in July as more shipments arrive, the panel said, noting that 55 million doses are expected to be delivered in the third quarter of the year.

In comparison, the federal government previously said 38 per cent of people would receive two doses by the end of June.

The addition of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the country’s supply could mean almost all Canadians would get their first shot in that time frame, but Ottawa has not yet said how many doses of that vaccine will be delivered in the spring and how many in the summer. 

“The vaccine effectiveness of the first dose will be monitored closely and the decision to delay the second dose will be continuously assessed based on surveillance and effectiveness data and post-implementation study designs,” the panel wrote. 

“Effectiveness against variants of concern will also be monitored closely, and recommendations may need to be revised,” it said, adding there is currently no evidence that a longer interval will affect the emergence of the variants. 

The updated guidance applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Canada. 

The committee’s recommendation came hours after Newfoundland and Labrador said it will extend the interval between the first and second doses to four months, and days after health officials in British Columbia announced they were doing so. 

Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec also said Wednesday they will delay second doses. Ontario previously said it was weighing a similar move but would seek advice from the federal government. 

Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said any change in public health guidance regarding the timing of the two doses could affect the speed of Canada’s vaccine rollout, as could the approval of more shots. 

The federal government’s plan to have doses administered to all Canadians who want one by the end of September didn’t factor in the arrival of new vaccines such as the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, Trudeau said.

And despite delays in the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last month, Canada is now “fully back on track and even ahead of schedule” when it comes to its supply of the various shots, he said, noting the country should receive more than the six million doses of COVID-19 vaccines it initially expected to get by the end of March. 

“The projections we’ve had for many, many months certainly hold, but we’re also very optimistic that they’re going to be able to be moved forward if, indeed, all the vaccines that we’ve contracted for are able to be manufactured and shipped in the right ways,” the prime minister said. 

The first 500,000 doses of the recently approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Canada on Wednesday, though confusion persists over who should get them. 

The vaccine, manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, is the third COVID-19 shot approved for use in Canada. 

Health Canada last week authorized its use for all adult Canadians but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended Tuesday that it not be administered to people 65 years of age or older. 

The committee said there is limited data from clinical trials about how effective the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is for seniors and recommends that they be given priority for the two other vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — already greenlighted for use in Canada. 

Both Health Canada and the committee stress no safety concerns have arisen in the clinical studies or among the millions of seniors who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries. 

Some provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, plan to follow the advisory committee’s advice and target the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at younger people working in front-line essential services or in high-risk settings like prisons. 

On Wednesday, the Ontario government said it will give the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot to residents aged 60 to 64. The drug will not be doled out through mass immunization clinics but rather through a “different pathway,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said. Details of the program were not released. 

Manitoba said it plans to target those between the ages of 50 and 64 who have high-risk underlying conditions. The province said it expects to receive its first shipment of the AstraZeneca shot by mid-month. 

Other provinces, including Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, are still mulling over the issue. 

Meanwhile, Quebec said it would move more regions into the less restrictive orange level of its pandemic system starting next Monday. But while residents in Quebec City, Chaudiere-Appalaches, Mauricie, Estrie and Centre-du-Quebec will see measures loosen, those in the Montreal area will remain under the more stringent rules of the province’s red level.

New guidelines for shipping and storing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were also released Wednesday, with Health Canada saying the drug can be transported and kept at standard freezer temperatures for up to two weeks. 

The previous storage instructions required that the vaccine be kept in ultralow temperatures and thawed just before use, which restricted its distribution to areas equipped with the necessary specialty freezers. The change should allow for wider distribution of the vaccines. 

Ottawa also confirmed Wednesday it is extending three federal support programs meant to lessen the economic impact of COVID-19 on residents and business owners until June. 

The federal wage subsidy, rent support and lockdown programs will carry on with the same level of aid, the government said. 

In addition to Wednesday’s shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca doses, Canada is also scheduled to receive 444,600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week. 

With Oxford-AstraZeneca added to Canada’s vaccine arsenal, the country is on track to receive a total of 6.5 million vaccine doses by the end of this month — half a million more than originally expected. 

— With files from Mia Rabson in Ottawa

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

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending