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Feds ‘in discussions’ to secure COVID-19 booster, variant shots: Health Canada – Global News

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As health officals race to vaccinate the population against COVID-19, experts have warned that the virus could become endemic, meaning Canadians could need booster shots to ensure they are protected in the years ahead.

How does the government plan to secure and provide booster shots to Canadians?

Here’s a closer look.

Read more:
COVID-19 vaccine tracker: How many Canadians are vaccinated?

In a statement emailed to Global News, Health Canada said the expected future trajectory of the novel coronavirus and pandemic “is not yet clear, nor is the future evolution of virus variants and their severity.”

The agency says there aren’t currently any vaccines on the market that have been developed specifically as booster shots, or that specifically target the new, more transmissible variants.


Click to play video: 'Moderna says its vaccine appears effective against variants'



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Moderna says its vaccine appears effective against variants


Moderna says its vaccine appears effective against variants – Jan 25, 2021

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However, Health Canada says there are some shots that are “in early development.”

“Work is underway to define our future booster needs, both in terms of quantities and the vaccine technologies on which to focus,” the statement read. “Canada is in discussions with vaccine developers regarding plans for early and secure access to booster and variant vaccines when they become available.”

The agency said the federal government will “continue to take an evidence-based approach to its vaccine procurement decisions” and is “following the advice of experts in terms of planning for what Canada’s potential future vaccine needs will be, and how those needs can be best addressed.”


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Fauci discusses potential COVID-19 pandemic trajectory in U.S.


Fauci discusses potential COVID-19 pandemic trajectory in U.S.

Currently, Canada is receiving all of its COVID-19 vaccines from overseas.

This has proved difficult for the country’s mass vaccination plan, as several delays from the manufacturers have stalled rollout.

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Canada has fallen significantly behind its closest allies when it comes to vaccination.

As of Sunday afternoon, just over five million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered across the country, meaning approximately 6.47 per cent of the Canadian population has been vaccinated.

In comparison, 140 million doses have been given in the United States. That means 14.42 per cent of the American population has been inoculated against the virus so far.

Read more:
Where is Canada now in its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Canada’s lack of domestic vaccine manufacturing capability has been “highlighted as a health security threat,” Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases faculty member at the University of Toronto said.

“And it is,” he continued. “But I don’t think that’s lost on the Canadian government and the local governments.”

In a statement emailed to Global News, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) said the federal government is “investing in made-in-Canada projects to protect Canadians from COVID-19” and “ensure our country is well-positioned to fight future pandemics here at home.”

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The agency said Canada is “developing domestic biomanufacturing capacity,” and by doing so, the government will “be able to ensure that both the quality and the availability of vaccines and therapeutic drugs is secure going forward.”

Read more:
30 travellers entering Canada caught with suspected fake COVID-19 test results: CBSA

According to ISED, since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has allocated $792 million under the new Strategic Innovation Fund COVID-19 stream in order to deliver “direct support to Canadian companies; in particular, helping develop domestic COVID-19 vaccines, therapies and bio-manufacturing opportunities, while also building future capability.”

The agency said this is in addition to supports provided to the National Research Council, for the facilities at Royalmount, and VIDO-Intervac, and through other government funding programs.

Bogoch said there has been a “tremendous investment” to produce vaccines at home, pointing to the government’s deal to manufacture shots at a facility in Montreal.

The federal government announced last month it had struck a deal with Novavax to produce its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Canada at a new Montreal facility that is under construction.

However, doses are not expected to be manufactured in the country until at least the fall.

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Click to play video: 'Americans race to get vaccinated as COVID-19 surges'



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Americans race to get vaccinated as COVID-19 surges


Americans race to get vaccinated as COVID-19 surges

“Is that enough? No, but it’s a really good start in the local production of vaccine,” Bogoch said.

He also said there are a number of companies within Canada that are “innovating and creating homegrown COVID-19 vaccines as well.”

“I don’t think you’re going to flip a switch overnight and all of a sudden re-create your vaccine creation and manufacturing capability,” he said. “It’s obvious you need to require a sustained investment over time, not just at the manufacturing level, but also at the innovation level and the basic science level.”

Read more:
Path out of COVID-19 pandemic isn’t easy, but there’s hope: experts

ISED said the federal government has “worked with Canadian and international companies to explore opportunities to bring elements of the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing supply chain to Canada, and will continue to do whatever it can to assist interested firms in finding partners to that end.”

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According to the agency, consultations have also been launched to ensure Canada is “prepared and ready for future pandemics, including through vaccine and therapeutics manufacturing.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Business

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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