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Demand for COVID-19 vaccines dropping in Canada — and some fear it could mean tossed doses – CBC.ca

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Canada’s demand for COVID-19 vaccines is slowly dropping, experts say, and they warn that those waiting to see whether cases spike before getting their jabs are wasting time the body needs to build sufficient immunity.

Less than one per cent of Canadians were vaccinated per day over the last week, a decrease from the record-high daily rate of 1.44 at the end of June, according to Our World in Data, which is supported by a research team based at the University of Oxford.

A vaccine tracker created by a University of Saskatchewan student also shows daily average first doses have dropped to fewer than 40,000 from roughly 96,000 a month ago.

A drop is to be expected, since 80 per cent of the eligible population already has at least one dose and close to 60 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Canada’s vaccine uptake and rate of vaccination is still among the highest in the world — France is vaccinating 0.92 per cent of its population per day while the United Kingdom is at 0.34.

Concern over variant spread 

But Kelly Grindrod, a pharmacy professor at the University of Waterloo, says a slowing rate is concerning, and the spread of new variants means more Canadians need to be fully protected to mitigate future outbreaks.

Grindrod pointed to countries with high vaccine uptake, including the U.K. and the Netherlands, that are seeing new infection waves, largely hitting unvaccinated populations.

“We’re in a very difficult stage of apathy, where people don’t think they’re at risk,” Grindrod said. “But … there’s a real concern that if you wait until the numbers go up to get vaccinated, it’s too late.”

WATCH | Canada needs to increase COVID-19 vaccinations, experts say:

Canada has edged ahead of the U.S. for per capita COVID-19 vaccinations, but experts warn the uptake needs to increase for better community protection. 1:59

Some Canadians wary of Moderna, mixing doses

Grindrod said some of the slowdown might have to do with people delaying second doses when offered a Moderna shot, preferring to wait for Pfizer-BioNTech instead.

Even waiting a few days delays protection, Grindrod said, as immune systems require two weeks after a second dose to build optimal levels of antibodies. Anyone still waiting for their first jab must wait another four weeks for their second dose, putting themselves at an even greater disadvantage.

Concern over mixing Pfizer and Moderna shots appears to be driving some hesitancy, she said. Though experts have repeatedly said the two mRNA jabs are interchangeable, there is still confusion.

Mixing mRNA vaccines became more widespread in Canada last month, when delayed Pfizer shipments coincided with an influx of Moderna doses.

Toronto pharmacist Kyro Maseh said he and his colleagues have a harder time moving Moderna vaccines, and he fears a preference for Pfizer will result in large amounts of wastage.

“I’m about to throw out 350 doses of Moderna,” he said. “Another country would gladly take that off our hands.”

Maseh said part of the issue is that each Moderna vial contains 14 doses, compared to Pfizer’s six. Once a vial is punctured, its contents need to be used within 24 hours. Vials that are thawed from their freezing temperatures need to be used within a month.

The problem isn’t that Canada is receiving too many doses now, he said, but that messaging over mixing vaccines has hit roadblocks in recent days.

Last week, a World Health Organization official warned of individuals seeking out different vaccines on their own for third or fourth doses, a quote that was taken out of context to suggest mixing doses wasn’t advised.

Grindrod said colleagues recounted seeing people reading and sharing the story with others while in line at a mass vaccine clinic in Cambridge, Ont., — and then walking out.

People wait in line outside Canada Place for their COVID-19 vaccination in Vancouver on Monday, June 21, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Concerns over international travel

Travel concerns could also be a factor.

A story last week about Barbados not recognizing Canada’s mixed-dose strategy prompted more hesitation, Grindrod said, even though the Caribbean country quickly reversed its policy.

Norwegian Cruise Line said on its website that vessels embarking and disembarking from U.S. ports won’t accept mixed vaccination, though ships from non-U.S. ports will.

“It doesn’t take much for people to delay (their second doses) and that’s a real concern,” Grindrod said. “People are thinking very far into the future about travel, and that’s another way of saying they don’t believe they’re at risk right now.”

Celia Du, a science communications specialist in Toronto, said debunking negative perceptions about mixed doses can be difficult once they’re ingrained.

Experts can get bogged down in scientific language and lose peoples’ attention, she said, so it’s often the quick and simple headlines — even if misleading — that people tend to remember.

“Finding ways to make the truth short and sweet is always a good strategy,” she said.

Maseh said people who delay vaccination now, as restrictions lift and travel resumes, risk being vulnerable at a time when COVID-19 could soon rise.

He also said the lack of vaccine access in other parts of the world is troubling. And while Canada is doing well to keep COVID-19 at bay now, Maseh said the threat of new variants developing and spreading could spell trouble.

“By taking perfectly good vaccines and tossing them in the trash, you’re shooting yourself in the foot down the road.”

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

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The latest:

Chinese authorities have announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan as an unusually wide series of COVID-19 outbreaks reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.

The provincial capital of 11 million people in central China is the latest city to undergo city-wide testing. Three cases were confirmed in Wuhan on Monday, its first non-imported cases in more than a year.

China has largely curbed COVID-19 at home after the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan and spread globally. Since then, authorities have tamped down and controlled the disease whenever it pops up with quick lockdowns and mass testing.

The current outbreaks are still in the hundreds of cases in total but have spread much more widely than previous ones. Many of the cases have been identified as the highly contagious delta variant.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that 90 new cases had been confirmed the previous day.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7:05 a.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Renewed concern over rising COVID-19 cases, delta variant: 

Despite Canada having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, that might not be enough to slow the spread of COVID-19 driven by the highly contagious delta variant. 2:34


What’s happening around the world

A visitor submits her documents at the reception to receive a shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo on Monday. (Stanislav Kogiku/The Associated Press)

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 198.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.2 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan will focus on hospitalizing patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 and those at risk of becoming so while others isolate at home amid worries about a strained medical system as cases surge in Olympics host city Tokyo.

Pakistan’s top health official says his country for the first time has administered one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine across the country in the past 24 hours. The latest development comes days after Pakistan imposed a lockdown in the southern port city of Karachi and in other high-risk areas.

In the Americas, the U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, a trend driven by the still-spreading delta variant.

Nearly three out of four Americans above the age of 18 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disesae Control.

In Africa, Morocco will lengthen its night curfew as it tightens restrictions to counter a surge in infections.

In the Middle East, Iran on Monday reported 37,189 new cases of COVID-19 — a single-day high, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The country, which has been hit hard by several waves of the novel coronavirus, also saw 411 additional deaths.

In Europe, France’s overseas territory of Guadeloupe will to go into a new lockdown for at least three weeks.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to get the travel industry moving again with a simple user-friendly system to allow for trips abroad without importing new virus variants.

From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

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Canada fines travellers for fake vaccination and testing papers – BBC News

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A Covid screening centre at the Vancouver airport

Getty Images

Canada has fined two travellers arriving from the US who, officials say, forged Covid-19 testing and vaccination documents.

Each was fined C$19,720 ($16,000, £11,500) after inspectors at the Toronto airport found their vaccine cards and proof of testing were fake.

It comes as Canada is set to ease travel restrictions on US visitors.

Around the world, nations are grappling with how to re-open their borders to travellers amid a virus surge.

According to a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the two unnamed travellers had entered Canada from the US during the week of 18 July.

The Canada Border Services Agency, which inspects Covid travel documents for authenticity, determined that the duo had faked the documents that they had uploaded to the government’s ArriveCAN travel website.

“The Government of Canada will continue to investigate incidents reported and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is warranted to protect the health of Canadians from the further spread of Covid-19 and its variants of concern,” the agency said in a statement.

Canada did not identify the travellers or their itineraries. The health agency told Newsweek in a statement that they were Canadian citizens.

Canada loosened requirements for international travellers on 5 July. Anyone entering the country must provide proof of vaccination. The unvaccinated have to submit to multiple tests, and stay for three days in a government-run hotel before quarantining for 14 days.

Canada will begin letting vaccinated Americans enter the country starting on 9 August.

The US border with Canada and Mexico, however, remains closed to foreigners until 21 August.

Other countries are quickly amending their travel restrictions, depending on the rise or fall of new infections and vaccinations.

On Monday, the UK began allowing vaccinated Americans and Europeans to enter without undergoing quarantine.

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US Customs agents arrest Canadian woman attempting to smuggle drugs – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
A Canadian woman has been caught attempting to import a significant quantity of cocaine into the country, U.S. border agents report.

The suspect, who was driving a commercial truck loaded with watermelons and peppers, attempted to cross into Canada at the office in Sweetgrass, Mont. on July 29.

Upon further inspection of the truck, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered a number of bags hidden among the cargo.

The substance inside the bags tested positive for cocaine, officials said. The total amount of drugs seized was 31.5 kilograms.

“Utilizing high-tech tools, our frontline CBP Officers used a combination of their training and experience to detect and seize 69.5 pounds of cocaine in the cargo environment,” said area port director Jason Greene, Sweetgrass Port of Entry, in a release.

“The ability to facilitate lawful trade and travel while sustaining a focus on enforcement, is critical to our border security mission.”

Charges are pending against the suspect, who has not been identified.

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