Canadians will need to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in large numbers to finally corral COVID-19 before life can return to a semblance of its pre-pandemic state, Canada’s top public health officers said Tuesday.
“Widespread vaccine uptake is the best shot Canadians have in regaining some of what we’ve lost and returning to things that we cherish — things like holding family and friends closely, having community events and living our lives without the fear of contracting the disease,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s chief medical officer.
Tam and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, offered that assessment one day after the Trudeau government announced the latest instalment in its plan to pre-buy tens of millions of doses of potential vaccines, signing deals with two American firms.
The newest deals will allow Canada to buy as many as 76 million doses of a vaccine candidate from Maryland-based biotech company Novavax, and up to 38 million doses of the vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical company Janssen Inc.
Last month, the government signed similar deals with U.S. companies Pfizer and Moderna that would give Canada access to up to 76 million more doses.
Njoo said it is not clear what percentage of Canadians will need to get vaccinated to achieve broad immunity but “the more Canadians that take advantage, the better.”
Tam suggested that the threshold for effective immunization is a moving target because understanding the science around COVID-19 is itself a work in progress.
For regulatory purposes, she said, that level has to be continuously evaluated.
“The international consensus is that we should at least look at around the 50 per cent vaccine efficacy mark,” said Tam, adding that there simply isn’t a “yes or no” answer.
More will be known when the data from ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials become available, she said.
“It’s a matter of remaining open to the evidence and being flexible.”
Right now, there appears to be low immunity to the disease around the world, “so getting a high enough vaccine uptake is going to be quite important,” said Tam.
Njoo said a vaccine could be available sometime in 2021, perhaps as early as the spring.
“We’re very optimistic here in Canada and because there are number of vaccine candidates being evaluated,” said Njoo.
“There could be an effective and safe vaccine, perhaps in 2021. We don’t know exactly when. Perhaps in the spring, maybe a little bit later. But it’s a very good thing to stay optimistic.”
Three Foothills units placed under 'outbreak watch' as Alberta reports 153 new COVID-19 cases – Calgary Herald
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“A unit can be on watch without having any active patient or staff cases.”
AHS added that patients, families, staff and physicians are all notified when a unit is placed under watch.
The outbreaks at Foothills continued to grow Friday. One more patient tested positive for COVID-19, while five more hospital staff were infected. In total, positive cases in 17 patients and 18 health-care workers have been linked to the outbreaks.
More than a dozen more workers at Foothills have also been instructed to isolate, for a total of 136 staff members currently in quarantine. More than 300 staff have been tested for the novel coronavirus since the start of the outbreaks.
No new deaths at Foothills were reported Friday. Three patients have died due to the outbreaks.
AHS said all patients and almost all health-care workers linked to the outbreaks have been identified, with testing underway.
Though the Foothills outbreak continues to expand, Alberta reported Friday that a much smaller outbreak at another Calgary hospital has been declared over. An outbreak at the Peter Lougheed Centre resulted in infections of three people, all of whom have recovered.
153 new COVID-19 cases
Alberta reported 153 new cases of the coronavirus Friday, bringing the province’s total case count since March to 17,343.
The new cases came from 14,211 tests, about a 1.1 per cent positive rate. There are now 1,497 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta, an increase from Thursday. More than half of those cases (773) are in the AHS Edmonton zone.
Alberta reports more than 100 COVID-19 cases for 16th straight day – CTV Edmonton
Alberta reported 153 cases of COVID-19 Friday as active infections increased to 1,497.
The province has added more than 100 cases every day since Sept. 9, when it reported 98 new cases.
Fifty-six Albertans are being treated for the coronavirus in hospital, including the 14 patients who are in intensive care.
Alberta did not report new deaths Friday, keeping the total at 261.
The Edmonton zone continues to have more than half of Alberta’s count with 786 confirmed cases, while the Calgary zone has 518.
Alberta has reported 17,343 cases of COVID-19 to date.
Alberta reports 153 new cases of COVID-19, no new deaths – CBC.ca
Alberta reported 153 new cases of COVID-19 Friday bringing the number of active cases in the province to 1,497, up 35 from the day before.
A total of 56 people were being treated in Alberta hospitals for the illness, including 14 in intensive care.
No deaths were recorded leaving the number at 261.
Three more outbreaks at schools — Calgary’s Clarence Sansom and Glenmeadows schools and Elsie Yanik Catholic School in Fort McMurray — have been reported, bringing the number of schools with outbreaks to 35.
Outbreaks are declared when a school has two or more cases.
Five schools, with five or more cases, are on a provincial ‘watch’ list. Four of those schools are in Edmonton, with Centre High the most recent addition.
The regional breakdown of active cases was:
- Edmonton zone: 786 up 13 from the day before.
- Calgary zone: 518 up 23 from the day before.
- North zone: 129 down one from the day before.
- South zone: 41, up one from the day before.
- Central zone: 16, down three from the day before.
- Unknown: seven, up two from the day before.
To date 968,031 Albertans have been tested for the coronavirus. So far 15,585 have recovered from the disease.
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