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Henry says COVID vaccine supply to increase in February; total cases top 70,000 – Peninsula News Review



B.C. recorded 1,236 new cases of COVID-19, and 13 deaths, over the weekend, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a press conference Monday (Feb. 8).

By day, the breaks down to 428 cases recorded Saturday, 465 cases reported Sunday and 343 cases on Monday, and five epi-linked cases. There are a total of 3,976 active cases currently, with 6,900 people under public health monitoring.

By region, the three-day total breaks down to 266 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 601 cases in Fraser Health, 152 cases in Interior Health, 86 cases in Island Health and 131 cases in Northern Health.

There have been a total of 70,952 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began, of whom 65,605 have recovered. There are 234 people in hospital at the moment, 69 of whom are in intensive care or ICU. B.C. death toll from the coronavirus has reached 1,259.

Henry said that 154,496 people have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Of those people, 12,111 have received their second dose. She said that B.C. is still gearing up to begin mass vaccinations in March, after the elderly living outside of long-term care facilities have been immunized.

“Each week (in February) the available supply will increase,” Henry said, adding that British Columbians will “receive the information you need” once they are eligible to be vaccinated.

However, even as mass vaccinations draw closer, Henry said that restrictions remain in place. B.C. health officials had announced Friday that restrictions on gatherings and events were in place indefinitely. On Monday, Henry said her guidelines for lessening restrictions include fewer cases, fewer outbreaks and better understanding where variants of concern are.

There have been a total of 40 cases of the U.K. and South African variants of the novel coronavirus, both of which are considered to be more transmissible. Of those, 25 are have been the U.K. variant, broken down by region: 15 in Fraser Health, five in Vancouver Coastal Health, four in Island Health and one in Interior Health. Of the 15 cases of the South African variant, there have been 13 in Vancouver Coastal Health and two in Fraser Health.

Henry said four cases of the South African cases are “particularly concerning,” because it’s unclear how those individuals got infected with that variant. Only three cases of the 40 total confirmed variant cases are still active.

More to come.


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Ontario reports 994 new coronavirus cases; 10 more deaths – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



Ontario reported 994 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 10 additional deaths, as public health laboratories confirmed their largest count of additional cases involving variants of concern to date.

Across the GTA, Toronto reported 298 new cases, York Region reported 64, and Peel reported 171.

Ontario reported 958 new cases on Wednesday, 966 on Tuesday and 1,023 on Monday.

The seven-day rolling average of daily cases now stands at 1,063, down from 1,084 on Wednesday.

Two of the ten new deaths reported involved residents of long-term care homes.

Provincial labs processed 65,643 test specimens in the past 24 hours, generating a positivity rate of at least 2.1 per cent.

Another 42,723 specimens remain under investigation.

Using whole genomic sequencing, labs also confirmed another 92 new coronavirus cases involving variants of concern over the past day, bringing the total confirmed number of variant cases to 678, including 644 cases of the more highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant.

It’s the largest increase in confirmed variant cases reported in Ontario in 2021, though thousands more samples that have screened positive during initial PCR testing still await full confirmation.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health says the number of patients in hospital due to COVID-19 fell over the past 24 hours.

They say there were 649 patients in hospital receiving treatment on Thursday, down from 668 on Wednesday. Of those, 281 were in intensive care and 183 were breathing with the help of a ventilator.

But data from Critical Care Services Ontario obtained by CP24 on Thursday showed there were 326 people in intensive care on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the GTA, Halton Region reported 33 cases, Durham Region reported 23 new cases and Hamilton reported 40 new cases.

The province said it set a new record for administering COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, administering more than 30,000 shots.

The Ministry of Health says 784,828 doses have now been administered, and 268,100 people have completed a full two-dose inoculation.

Going forward, growth in the number of full inoculations may slow as Canadian provinces move to space out doses of COVID-19 vaccines up to four months apart.

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.

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Modified COVID-19 vaccines for variants to be fast-tracked Français – Canada NewsWire



Future vaccine modifications that respond to new variants of COVID-19 to be made available quickly to Canadians without compromising safety, efficacy or quality   

OTTAWA, ON, March 4, 2021 /CNW/ – Health Canada announces new guidance issued today by the Access Consortium—a coalition of regulatory authorities from Canada, the U.K., Australia, Singapore and Switzerland. The guidance, developed by Health Canada in consultation with its Access partners, lays out what information regulators would need to approve any modifications to authorized COVID-19 vaccines, should virus mutations make them less effective at preventing COVID-19. With this guidance, authorized COVID-19 vaccines that are modified in response to new variants will need to be reviewed and authorized.

According to the guidance, vaccine manufacturers would need to provide evidence that the modified vaccine produces an immune response in a sufficient number of people, but clinical studies would not be needed since they do not add to the regulatory understanding of a vaccine’s safety, efficacy or quality. 

This is because researchers are now better able to measure protection by looking at antibodies in the blood following vaccination, reducing the need to determine whether people in a trial develop the disease. This would reduce the length of time needed for a modified vaccine to be ready for use. 

Along with data on the immune response, the vaccine manufacturer would also be expected to provide evidence of the modified vaccine’s safety and quality. Data from the original clinical trials and the ongoing studies on real-world use in millions of people can be used to support any decision by the regulators.   

This approach is based on established regulatory processes used for seasonal flu vaccines, for which annual modifications are needed to match the strains circulating each year.  

The Access Consortium began as the Heads of Agencies Consortium in 2007. Health Canada was a founding member of this group. The Consortium’s goal is to maximize international cooperation between partners in the Consortium, reduce duplication and increase each agency’s capacity to ensure patients have timely access to high quality, safe and effective therapeutic products, including vaccines, drugs and medical devices.  

SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Media Relations, Health Canada, 613-957-2983, [email protected]; COVID-19 public enquiries: 1-833-784-4397

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EU to extend vaccine export control measures to end of June, sources say – Global News



The European Union is planning to extend its export authorization scheme for COVID-19 vaccines to the end of June, two EU sources told Reuters on Thursday, in a move that could reignite tensions with countries who rely on shots made in the EU.

The mechanism was set up at the end of January as a reaction to vaccine makers’ announcements of delays in the deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to the EU.

Read more:
EU to propose ‘digital green pass’ as proof a person has been vaccinated

It is due to expire at the end of March, but the European Commission wants to extend it through June, the two officials said.

“The Commission will propose its extension into June. And that was greeted by the member states with approval, not necessarily enthusiasm, but there is a feeling that we still need that mechanism,” one senior EU diplomat said.

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The second official added that at a meeting with EU diplomats on Wednesday, many countries supported the measure, including heavyweights Germany and France.

The EU Commission was not immediately available for comment.

Coronavirus: Canada received ‘strong assurances’ from EU leadership on vaccine deliveries, Trudeau says

Coronavirus: Canada received ‘strong assurances’ from EU leadership on vaccine deliveries, Trudeau says – Feb 2, 2021

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has also called for sanctions on companies that do not respect their contractual obligations with the EU.

When the EU’s export control mechanism was introduced in late January it triggered an outcry from importing countries who feared their vaccine supplies might have been hampered.

Under the scheme, companies must get authorization before exporting COVID-19 shots and may have export requests denied if they do not respect their supply commitments with the EU.

However, the EU has authorized all requests for export since the scheme’s debut on Jan. 30 to Feb. 26, which amounted to 150 requests for millions of shots to 29 countries, including Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Canada, an EU Commission spokeswoman said.

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Read more:
AstraZeneca backtracks, says it will meet EU supply for Q2 after reporting shortfall

She added, however, that at least one request was withdrawn by an exporting company. She declined to elaborate.

Export requests mostly concern the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which is manufactured in Belgium. AstraZeneca and Moderna shots have also been exported from the EU.

Since Jan. 30 more than eight million vaccines were shipped from the EU to Britain, a third EU source said.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Trudeau questioned on EU export controls over vaccine production'

Coronavirus: Trudeau questioned on EU export controls over vaccine production

Coronavirus: Trudeau questioned on EU export controls over vaccine production – Feb 2, 2021

Britain has so far prevented the export of AstraZeneca vaccines to the EU, using a U.K.-first clause in its supply contract with the Anglo-Swedish firm, EU officials have said.

The United States also has regulations that effectively ban vaccine exports, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference last week.


© 2021 Reuters

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