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How the vaccines we have — and the ones coming next — stack up against COVID-19 variants – CBC.ca

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While national-level COVID-19 data shows a downward trend in daily case numbers, eight provinces have reported patients infected with concerning new variants — the more transmissible strains of the coronavirus. 

Infectious disease experts say the B117 strain, originally found in the U.K., and the B1351 strain, originally found in South Africa, are as much as 50 per cent more transmissible. In Ontario, for example, public health officials have said B117 could be the dominant strain in a matter of weeks.

But Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician for St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ont., said there’s reason for hope.  He told Dr. Brian Goldman, host of The Dose and White Coat, Black Art, that he’s optimistic because five different vaccines have been submitted to Health Canada for approval, and each may play a role in controlling the variants. 

“A year ago I remember having meetings every day in the hospital saying, when is this coming to Canada? How are we going to handle it? You know, seeing those apocalyptic images out of China and Italy, knowing that that was going to be here. And now, a year later, we’re … talking about five vaccines,” said the associate professor of medicine at McMaster University.

“The human spirit is incredible.”

Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician for St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ont., and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University, says he remains optimistic the existing vaccines can fight the COVID-19 variants. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Health Canada has approved two COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, and three more may be approved in coming months.

Here’s how the five shots compare, and what we know so far about how they fare in the fight against the more infectious variants. 

Pfizer-BioNTech & Moderna 

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna say their vaccines appear to be effective against both the B117 and the B1351 strains, based on blood samples from people who have been vaccinated. 

In a statement, Pfizer-BioNTech said these preliminary findings “do not indicate the need for a new vaccine to address the emerging variants.”

Chagla said, thankfully, both of these vaccines seem to be protective against B117 as it’s the variant spreading the most quickly in Canada.

However, as the clinical trials of both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech  were completed before particular variants of concern took off, more research is needed to gather higher quality data.

A comparison of the efficacy of the five leading COVID-19 vaccines against both the dominant strain of COVID-19 and two key variants, B117 and B1531. (Graphic by Ben Shannon/CBC)

 

Oxford-AstraZeneca 

In the final stages of review, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be the next formula approved by Health Canada. 

Chagla said the vaccine is about 70 per cent effective against the non-variant strain, based on late stage clinical data released by AstraZeneca.

The news isn’t so great when it comes to the variants. This week South Africa paused part of its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after data from a small trial showed it did not protect against mild to moderate illness from the B1351 variant now dominant in the country.

But Chagla said it’s important to put this news in context, and that more research is needed. 

“You still don’t have good news or bad news in terms of if these vaccines still prevent hospitalizations and death,” he said. If it turns out the vaccine does a good job of preventing severe cases “it could still be a useful intervention there.”

On Wednesday, a World Health Organization panel said the vaccine is safe and effective and should be used widely, even in countries where the B1351 variant is dominant. 

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson submitted its one-shot vaccine for approval in the U.S. last week. 

The company says its Phase 3 clinical trial data showed the vaccine is overall 66 per cent effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19.

Chagla said there’s a lot of hope with this vaccine, despite the lower overall efficacy rate compared to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines which have around 95 per cent efficacy.

He said the fact that it can be kept in a regular fridge and is administered in just one dose means the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be a game-changer. 

“It may not be as efficacious as Pfizer, but perfection is the enemy of good,” Chagla told Goldman.

“If we had the entire Canadian population have a dose of Johnson & Johnson tomorrow, knowing that in 40 days, most people would not be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, I think all of us would breathe a huge sigh of relief.”

WATCH | Why the single-shot logistics of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine matter:

Calling the clinical trial ‘thorough,’ infectious disease specialist Dr. Matthew Oughton says Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is also easier to handle logistically compared to approved vaccines in Canada. 3:40

Novavax

Novavax is a two-dose vaccine that can also be stored at regular fridge temperature.

The company said early findings from U.K. research show its vaccine appeared to be 86 per cent effective against B117 and 60 per cent effective against B1351.

“This is an incredibly important vaccine for both [U.K. and South African] settings and very, very promising for B117, as well as what’s circulating here in Canada normally,” said Chagla.

Canada has signed an agreement for Novavax to produce tens of millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Canada once it’s approved by Health Canada.

No ‘best’ vaccine

In a few months, Canada may have five different vaccines going into arms, and Chagla said there is no one “best” vaccine among them.

“The best vaccine is the one that’s administered. Every Canadian should be hopeful that they can get one of these vaccines, period.”

Chagla said the next few months are critical. Until enough people have got their shots, Canadians need to hang tight and continue to socially distance, stay home as much as possible, wear masks and follow public health guidelines. 

But he’s optimistic better days are coming. 

“Hopefully we can talk about a summer and a fall that is getting back to normal.”


Written and produced by Willow Smith 

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New COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Interior Health region | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source – iNFOnews

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Mask wearing may be one reason the rate of new COVID-19 cases is declining in the Interior Health region.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Deanna Bell

February 25, 2021 – 11:00 AM

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Interior Health region has dropped steadily from 558 four weeks ago to 182 last week.

The Kamloops Local Health Area (stretching from Barriere to Logan Lake and Chase) still has the highest number of new cases at 78. That’s a significant drop from 116 the week before.

The data is contained in a new map posted on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website. It shows the number of new cases by Local Health Area, which includes 31 areas in the Interior Health region. It covers the week of Feb. 14 to 20.

This shows the number of new COVID-19 cases by Local Health Areas in the Interior during the week of Feb. 14 to 20.

This shows the number of new COVID-19 cases by Local Health Areas in the Interior during the week of Feb. 14 to 20.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/B.C. Centre for Disease Control

The Central Okanagan had 36 new cases, down from 69.

There were increases if a few areas.

The South Okanagan recorded 10 new cases, up from three the week before. Penticton had three new cases versus one the week before.

Vernon dropped to nine from 11.

See the full map and more data on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submitphotos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won’t censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2021

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Canada sees good news about COVID-19 inoculations as doses arrive more quickly

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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada‘s COVID-19 vaccination campaign is ramping up after earlier supply disruptions and the number of inoculations last week hit a five-week high, officials said on Thursday.

Canada has deals with Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc, but both companies ran into production problems last month and reduced shipments.

The country trails many other nations in the total number of inoculations and critics accuse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government of bungling the rollout. Ottawa buys the vaccines, while the 10 provinces and three northern territories administer them.

Howard Njoo, Canada‘s deputy chief public health officer, said more than 240,000 doses were injected last week, the most in more than a month.

“We are seeing positive signs that the rollout is ramping up. … This is a reflection of greater supply,” he told a briefing, saying about 2.9% of Canadians had received at least one dose.

“We expect this percentage to significantly increase throughout March,” he added. Canada has so far recorded a total of 21,807 COVID-19 deaths and 855,126 cases.

Major General Dany Fortin, in charge of coordinating the rollout, said a total of 643,000 doses had been distributed this week, the highest amount yet.

Canada says it is still on track to receive a total of 6 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March and that anyone who wants a shot can get one by the end of September.

Ontario, the most-populous province, has started to lift some restrictions imposed to combat a second wave of the virus even as experts say case rates are rising again.

“We need to watch our every step. There is no easy path through a minefield,” Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the province’s science advisory panel, told reporters.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

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A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 – ThoroldNews.com

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The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 55,116 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,707,398 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,505.094 per 100,000.

There were 3,510 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,043,599 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 83.55 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 26,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,176 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 76.758 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 93.34 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 5,716 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 30,748 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.507 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 10,166 new vaccinations administered for a total of 387,076 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 45.237 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 509,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 19,112 new vaccinations administered for a total of 621,960 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.342 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 2,688 new vaccinations administered for a total of 69,060 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 50.152 per 1,000. There were 3,510 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 102,360 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.47 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 2,091 new vaccinations administered for a total of 65,436 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.494 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 110.2 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 9,000 new vaccinations administered for a total of 195,572 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.428 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 9,008 new vaccinations administered for a total of 239,883 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 46.746 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 307,849 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.92 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 810 new vaccinations administered for a total of 15,174 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 363.615 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 80.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 184 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,257 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 187.393 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 47.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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