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Feds unveil accelerated rollout schedule following fresh coronavirus vaccine deals – Global News

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Less than a week after announcing new deals for additional doses of approved coronavirus vaccines, the federal government has unveiled its new expected vaccination timeline — which includes millions of additional vaccinations between April and September.

Read more:
Canada orders more Moderna vaccines, confirms Pfizer delivery schedule

A total of 13 million people were expected to be vaccinated by the end of June, with 36 million people vaccinated by the end of September.


Click to play video 'Guidelines released for next stages of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout'



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Guidelines released for next stages of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout


Guidelines released for next stages of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout

However, since then, new vaccine agreements have shifted the timeline.

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“Last week, (Procurement) Minister (Anita) Anand announced that the government of Canada negotiated an accelerated delivery schedule for Pfizer-BioNTech,” said Maj.-Gen Dany Fortin, who leads the logistics of Canada’s vaccine rollout, during a Thursday press conference.

“This means that doses of Pfizer-BioNTech scheduled for delivery in the summer will now be delivered earlier.”

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Just under a week ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government had upped its order of vaccine doses from Moderna, purchasing an additional four million shots that are expected to “arrive over the summer.”

That comes on top of the announcement that the next batch of Pfizer’s shots will be accelerated and arrive in Canada sooner than previously projected.

With the new deals, Canada’s projected timeline has gotten a boost: 14.5 million people will be vaccinated by the end of June, according to the federal government, with enough supply to have vaccinated 42 million people by the end of September.

Canada’s population is just shy of 38 million.


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Fears variants can combine, create hybrid mutations


Fears variants can combine, create hybrid mutations

In addition to this, another key figure has soared in the new timeline. If Canada approves other vaccines it has procured, an additional 1.5 million people will be vaccinated between April and June.

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Read more:
Pressure on Trudeau grows as Canada’s world ranking on vaccines slips further

Previous vaccination estimates based on not-yet-approved coronavirus vaccines showed 23 million people could be vaccinated by late spring and early summer. Now, that projected figure has jumped up to 24.5 million. On top of that, by the end of September, Canada would have secured enough doses to vaccinate 79 million people — which is double the population.

However, in order to achieve this best-case scenario, three yet-to-be-approved vaccines would have to receive the green light: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax.


Click to play video 'Winter storm in U.S. interrupts Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply'



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Winter storm in U.S. interrupts Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply


Winter storm in U.S. interrupts Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply

Meanwhile, the vaccine rollout is underway across the country.

“As of today, more than 1,329,036 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada,” said Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo.

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“As of last Saturday, 2.7 per cent of Canadians had received at least one dose of vaccine and 0.8 per cent had received two doses.”

However, Njoo warned last week that the “vast majority” of Canadians remain susceptible to the virus.

“The key to controlling COVID-19 is to follow public health guidance on gatherings, social distancing, wearing masks and other measures as we wait our turn to be vaccinated,” he said.

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

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Nova Scotia Health advises of potential COVID-19 exposure at 7 locations, flight – HalifaxToday.ca

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NEWS RELEASE
NOVA SCOTIA HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH
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Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 at 7 locations in the Central Zone as well as an Air Canada flight. In addition to media releases, all potential exposure notifications are listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.

Anyone who worked at or visited the following locations on the specified dates and times should immediately visit covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.

For the following locations, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 you are required to self-isolate while you wait for your test result. If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 you do not need to self-isolate while you wait for your test result.

  • Head Shoppe Mic Mac Mall (21 Micmac Blvd, Dartmouth) on Feb. 17 between 9:15 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 3.
  • Lawton’s Drugs Westphal (90 Main St. Dartmouth) on Feb. 18 between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 4.
  • NSHA Blood Collection Clinic (5110 St. Margaret’s Bay Rd, Tantallon) on Feb. 18 between 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Feb. 22 between 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 8. (Testing recommended for anyone that visited the clinic on the above dates and times who have not already been contacted by Public Health).
  • Winners Mic Mac Mall (21 Micmac Blvd, Dartmouth) on Feb. 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 5.
  • Chapters Mic Mac Mall (21 Micmac Blvd, Dartmouth) on Feb. 19 between 12:00 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 5.
  • Walmart Bedford Commons (141 Damascus Road, Bedford) on Feb. 23 between 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 9.
  • Dollarama Dartmouth Crossing (100 Gale Terrace, Dartmouth) on Feb. 24 between 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 10.

Anyone who was on the following flight in the specified rows and seats should visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.

  • Air Canada flight 614 departing from Toronto on Feb. 24 (2:18 p.m.) and arriving in Halifax (5:05 p.m.). Passengers in rows 12-18, seats A, B, C and D are asked to immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 10.

Please remember:

Do not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so. Please book an appointment online and do not go to a pop-up rapid testing location.

Currently, anyone who traveled outside Nova Scotia or PEI is expected to self-isolate alone for 14 days after arriving. If a person returning from non-essential travel outside Nova Scotia or PEI is unable to isolate alone, then everyone in the home where they are self-isolating will have to self-isolate as well.

When Nova Scotia Health Public Health makes a public notification it is not in any way a reflection on the behaviour or activities of those named in the notification.

All Nova Scotians are advised to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and are urged to follow Public Health guidelines on how to access care. Up to date information about COVID-19 is available at novascotia.ca/coronavirus

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COVID-19: Ottawa reports 62 new cases, no new deaths; Ontario sees 1,185 new cases – Ottawa Citizen

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Ontario completed 59,416 COVID-19 tests in the previous 24 hours with a 2.1 per cent positivity rate, which has been trending down in recent weeks.

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Ottawa Public Health reported 62 new cases Saturday. There were no new deaths and the city’s death toll remains 439.

There have been 14,650 cases in Ottawa and of those, 13,723 are now considered resolved.

There are now 488 active cases in the city, an indicator showing a rising trend in recent weeks after steady declines through early February.

There are 24 patients in hospital and seven in ICU.

Ottawa’s statistics remain remains at the Orange (Restrict) level in the province’s framework, though in an update to council last week, Dr. Vera Etches cautioned that the city could soon be headed into the Red (Control).

OPH is to meet with the province this week to discuss whether the city should return to the Red level of restrictions, which Etches called “a real possibility.”

Eligible vaccine recipients, mostly frontline workers, lined up outside The Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus, Saturday Feb. 27, 2021, in the snowstorm that hit the capital, to receive their much anticipated COVID-19 vaccine.
Eligible vaccine recipients, mostly frontline workers, lined up outside The Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus, Saturday Feb. 27, 2021, in the snowstorm that hit the capital, to receive their much anticipated COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

Those indicators had been trending the wrong direction, but there have been some encouraging signs in data released in recent days.

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Ottawa’s daily test positivity was 1.7 per cent in the last 24 hours, and the weekly average has again declined slightly to 2.0 per cent. That weekly rate must remain below 2.4 per cent to remain in Orange.

Ottawa’s weekly average rate of infection is trending up, however, with a slight increase from 34.7 to 35.0 cases per 100,000 population over the last 24 hours. That rate must remain under 40 cases per 100,000 population to remain in Orange.

The R(t) number — another key indicator measuring the secondary cases generated by a single confirmed COVID-19 infection — must be between 1.0 and 1.1 to remain in Orange.

Ottawa’s R(t) number has remained relatively flat, hovering around 1.0 for much of February, and has now dipped below that threshold with an average 0.98 score over the past week.

Any number above 1.0 indicates the virus is spreading in the community, any score under 1.0 indicates the spread is coming under control.

On the vaccination front, Ottawa received another 4,000 Moderna doses on Thursday, and has now administered 49,125 of the 61,820 total doses the city has received.

A “minor booking issue” caused some lineups at The Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus where health care workers awaited their vaccinations.

The appointments include the highest priority hospital and community-based health care workers, staff and essential caregivers from long-term care homes, and staff from high risk retirement homes, The Ottawa Hospital said in a statement.

Province

Ontario is reporting 1,185 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday and 16 related deaths.

The Greater Toronto Area remains a provincial hotspot, with 331 new cases identified in Toronto Saturday and 220 new cases in Peel. Both regions remain under lockdown orders.

York region reported 119 new cases.

There were 67 new cases in Ottawa, according to provincial data.

There are often discrepancies between Ontario’s daily case counts and those logged by local public health units while the province is completing its data migration to a central system. Ottawa Public Health is using its own system in the meantime, which pulls local data each afternoon and reports the numbers around 12:30 p.m. the following day. OPH says its data is typically the most up-to-date.

In surrounding regions, the Eastern Ontario public health unit reported seven new cases Saturday, a day after 11 new infections were confirmed in the area on Friday.

There were five new cases in Hastings, one in Kingston and three in Renfrew County.

Renfrew saw its largest single-day spike in cases with 10 confirmed infections on Friday, prompting a stern warning from acting medical officer of health Dr. Robert Cushman.

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No new cases were found in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.

Ontario completed 59,416 COVID-19 tests in the previous 24 hours with a 2.1 per cent positivity rate, which has been trending down in recent weeks.

There are 680 patients in Ontario hospitals, 276 in intensive care and, of those, 182 require a ventilator.

Those rates of severe cases have remained relatively constant recently after steady declines through early February.

On the vaccination front, another 24,339 vaccine doses were administered Friday, and as of 8 p.m., a total of 668,104 doses had been administered, with 260,972 Ontarians fully immunized with both doses.

Meanwhile, the province confirmed that it unknowingly distributed counterfeit N95 masks to health-care providers.

The province could not immediately say how many of the counterfeit 3M masks it had acquired for its stockpile, or how many were given to health-care workers.

The Ministry of Health sent a memo to health-care providers notifying them of the problem and asked them to seek out and “isolate” the faulty gear by product number.

The government said it is reviewing its entire stockpile to check for the counterfeit product and has also alerted Health Canada of the situation.

Quebec

Quebec reported 858 new COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths on Saturday.

There were 21 fewer patients in hospital, for a total of 599, with 112 in ICU, a drop of seven.

There were 31 new cases reported in the Outaouais region for a total of 6,280. There was one new death reported in the region for a total of 160.

A total of 287,003 infections have now been confirmed in the province since the pandemic began.

There have been 10,385 deaths and 268,645 cases are considered recovered.

-With files from The Canadian Press and Postmedia

  1. FILE: A nurse prepares Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines.

    From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

  2. Manufacturing Associate Leon Barbeau looks at a sample under the clean hood in the Bio Therapeutics lab's virus manufacturing centre at the The Ottawa Hospital.

    ‘All ready to go’: Ottawa manufacturing centre producing three COVID vaccines for human trials

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There’s no ‘best’ vaccine, expert says as Canada OKs AstraZeneca shots – Globalnews.ca

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Vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford have now been approved in Canada.  While Canadians may not get a choice about which COVID-19 vaccine to take, all three offer protection against severe illness, according to experts.

“All of these vaccines are good,” Dr. Bradly Wouters, executive vice-president of science and research at the University Health Network told Global News Friday.

Read more:
What are the differences between Canada’s approved COVID-19 vaccines? Here’s what we know

Available data shows all these three vaccines have the “ability to impact hospitalization” and offer “protection against severe illness,” he said.

Which vaccine is the best?

There’s no “best vaccine” option.

Whichever vaccine is available first, “it’s going to protect you,” Wouters said.

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Parts of the world are already facing which-is-best challenges. Astrazeneca’s vaccine for instance, was cleared for use in Britain and Europe after data suggested that it was about 70 per cent effective.

Italy’s government recently decided to reserve Pfizer and Moderna shots for the elderly and designate the Astrazeneca vaccine for younger, at-risk workers, sparking protests.

“Right now, it’s not vaccine against vaccine, it’s vaccine against virus,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, recently told The Associated Press.

Wouters reiterated a similar notion.

“In a pandemic, you need fast results,” he noted and the “priority is to ensure everyone gets vaccinated” and not “debate over which vaccine is better.”

“Each trial involves different people in different places,” he said, and while many may be making comparisons between vaccines from the results of different Phase 3 trials, “such comparisons are misleading,” he said.

After Pfizer and Moderna, AstraZeneca is the third shot officially authorized in the country.


Click to play video 'Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works'



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Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works


Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works

The two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna shots were found to be about 95 per cent effective against the virus as compared to the AstraZeneca shots that stand at 62 per cent in preventing symptomatic cases.

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However, Wouters said they will all work “as effectively as possible as long as combined with mask-wearing, handwashing and social distancing.”

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“We must continue to follow public health guidelines, being cautious until positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths are significantly reduced nationwide,” he said.

Following Canada’s approval of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Procurement Minister Anita Anand cautioned against deliberation over “the sort of good or bad” vaccines.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks'



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Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks


Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks

“If there is a vaccine and it’s been authorized by Health Canada, it means that it’s met standards,” Anand said during a press conference Friday.

AstraZeneca shots may not seem equal to its opponents at first glance but “these vaccines do have a use,” she said.

“We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that have been over 80, and that has shown a significant drop in hospitalizations, to the tune of 84 per cent,” she said.

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“The idea is to have a suite of vaccines that are available. I think Canada is hungry for vaccines, we’re putting more on the buffet table to be used.”

Standards of efficacy

Speaking of the “standards of effectiveness,” Anand said vaccines “should meet at least 50 per cent.”

“If we compare that to the influenza viruses that we authorize every year, if you look back, for example, just to last year, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine against the most common strain was about 64 per cent, across to the next common strain was about 54 per cent,” she said.

As more information becomes available from real-world use, “the efficacy” of the AstraZeneca vaccine might prove to “be much higher,” Anand added.

Read more:
Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

Considering all the five vaccines that are currently under review, including the Novavax and Johnson & Johnson shots, Anand emphasized that nobody has died so far from “adverse effects” of these vaccines.

“If you look across all the clinical trials of the tens of thousands of people that were involved, the number of cases of people that died from COVID-19 that got vaccine was zero. The number of people that were hospitalized because their COVID-19 disease was so severe was zero. The number of people that died because of an adverse event or an effect of the vaccine was zero,” she said.

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The idea is “to prevent” serious illness, hospitalizations and “of course prevent death,” Anand said.

Storage and distribution

Compared to the other vaccines, the AstraZeneca shot is also easier to administer.

The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C/36 to 46 F) for at least six months and administered within existing health-care settings.


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Cold storage of COVID-19 vaccine complicates rollout


Cold storage of COVID-19 vaccine complicates rollout – Dec 8, 2020

The Moderna and Pfizer options, meanwhile, must be stored at subzero temperatures until they’re ready to be used, at -4 F and -94 F, respectively.

This is “something we need to take into account,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said during a press conference Friday.

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He said the onboarding of the AstraZeneca vaccine is “another tool in our toolbox.”

“Following the approval of Health Canada, the efficacy stands at 62 per cent, but we have to look at the entire profile of each vaccine because this vaccine is easier to administer than Pfizer and Moderna, so this is something we need to take into account,” he said.

— With files from The Associated Press

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

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