The Canadian Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. The military commander handling logistics for Canada’s vaccine distribution program says there will be enough vaccine delivered to give a first dose before Canada Day to every adult who wants one. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says that’s if provinces follow the advice to delay second doses up to four months. He also cautions that it is dependent on having no production delays again. Health Canada anticipates a total of 36.5 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India by June 30. Canadian provinces suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in people under age 55 on Monday, acting on an advisory committee’s concerns about a possible link between the shot and rare blood clots. Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief medical officer of health, said the risk of developing a serious problem after being immunized is “very, very low.” She said people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine should look for symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, sudden onset of severe or persistent headache or blurred vision and skin bruising elsewhere than the site of vaccination, developing four to 20 days after vaccination. There are approximately 31 million Canadians over 16, and no vaccines are approved for anyone younger than 16. Here’s a list of the inoculation plans throughout Canada: Newfoundland and Labrador Health officials say vaccinations have begun for first responders. They say pre-registration for COVID-19 vaccines has opened for people aged 70 or older and for home-support workers. Newfoundland and Labrador announced March 3 it was extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Public health officials said the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said the decision is a game changer for the province’s vaccination prospects. — Nova Scotia Health officials say people aged 60 to 62 became eligible to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine starting March 18. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. The province is planning to use mobile van clinics to vaccinate about 900 people who work at or use homeless shelters in the Halifax area. Public health is partnering with pharmacists and doctors to provide the vaccines at 25 locations. Nova Scotia, meanwhile, has added front-line police officers to the list of people eligible for vaccination during the second phase of the province’s rollout plan, joining groups such as long-haul truck drivers and hospital workers over the age of 60. — Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. The province is offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine people ages 18 to 29 who work in gas stations and convenience or grocery stores. The announcement on March 16 came after the province opened AstraZeneca vaccination appointments a week earlier to young people in the food and beverage sector. — New Brunswick Health officials announced March 18 that people 80 and older, health-care professionals who have close contact with patients, and people with complex medical conditions are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. People 80 and over, a caregiver or a family member acting on their behalf can make an appointment for a vaccine at a pharmacy. The province says all residents of long-term care homes have been offered at least one dose of vaccine. As of March 19, all residents of First Nations communities who are aged 16 or older were given access to their first dose of vaccine. — Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on March 1 after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites, including the Olympic Stadium, opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. COVID-19 vaccination appointments opened March 10 for residents 70 and older across Quebec. The minimum age is currently set at 65 in Abitibi-Temiscamingue and Cote-Nord. However, Montreal is dropping the age limit to 60. Premier Francois Legault says his government’s goal is for all adult Quebecers who want a COVID-19 vaccine to get at least one dose by the province’s Fete nationale on June 24. He also said the province’s vaccination campaign will allow all Quebecers aged 65 and over to be vaccinated with one dose by mid-April. Quebec, meanwhile, is looking to enlist between 20 and 50 companies across the province to operate vaccination hubs to help accelerate its immunization campaign for people under 60. Health Minister Christian Dube says he’s hoping the companies can administer a total of one million vaccines. To be part of the program, companies must commit to vaccinating between 15,000 and 25,000 people over a 12-week period between May and August. Quebec will provide the vaccines and necessary equipment and run the online appointment portal. The program will begin when residents under the age of 60 become eligible to be vaccinated, with a goal of fully vaccinating 500,000 Quebecers. — Ontario Ontario launched its COVID-19 vaccine booking portal and call centre on March 15. People aged 80 and older were the first eligible to use the system. Starting March 22, people age 75 and older were able to make appointments through the booking system. On Mar. 28 the government lowered the minimum age for vaccine eligibility in several public health units from 75 down to 70. It also announced that people aged 70 and older in York Region, who had previously only been able to book vaccines through the regional service, could start using the provincial system to make appointments. Also in York Region, a drive-thru, appointment only, vaccination site opened at Canada’s Wonderland theme park on Mar. 29. Two more mass vaccination sites are also expected to open in Toronto, where people as young as 70 started getting vaccinated on Mar. 27. Ontario focused its initial vaccine effort on those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, some health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. It has said the rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. Some public health units are ahead of the province’s schedule for vaccinations. A pilot project at more than 300 pharmacies in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor Oxford-AstraZeneca started offering shots to those aged 60 to 64 in mid-March. That program expanded on March 22 to offer shots to people aged 60 and older. Some primary care physicians are also offering Oxford-AstraZeneca shots to eligible patients in that age range. The pharmacy pilot will expand to 700 locations across the province in the coming weeks, then to approximately 1,500 sites as supply becomes available. Other currently eligible people include front line health-care workers, Indigenous adults and chronic home health-care recipients, and some health units have started vaccinating people experiencing homelessness. The interval between vaccine doses has been extended to four months in Ontario. — Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people 64 and older and First Nations people 44 and older. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Manitoba has now given at least one dose to more than 10 per cent of adults. This week, immunization teams are going to more than 100 congregate living facilities to provide vaccines. More than 11,100 doses have already been administered to people living in these locations. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine task force, has said all adults in the province could have their first dose by the end of June, if supplies are steady. There are supersites in cities where people can get vaccines and pop-up clinics have begun in rural and northern communities for people who are eligible. Health officials say the province has capacity to deliver 20,000 doses each day, but are currently hindered by limited supply. Manitoba has already indicated it would opt for a four-month interval between doses. The military has also been deployed to northern Manitoba to help vaccination efforts in 23 remote First Nations. Up to 200 members are helping to set up sites, transport people and administer doses. The goal is to vaccinate 100,000 First Nations people in 100 days. — Saskatchewan The Saskatchewan Health Authority is booking vaccinations for residents 62 and older. The minimum age drops to 50 for people living in the Far North. Those deemed to be medically vulnerable and those who have underlying health conditions can also get a shot, but have to wait to receive a letter first. Priority health-care workers are also on the list. The province plans to open more drive-thru vaccination clinics once it receives its next shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca shots. — Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said the province expects to offer all Albertans 18 and over a first dose of vaccine by the end of June. On March 15, residents aged 65 to 74, and First Nations, Inuit and Metis aged 50-plus, were allowed to begin booking. The province had originally not expected to begin this stage of vaccination until April. On March 30, the Alberta government was to begin offering shots to some 945,000 people with underlying health conditions. That includes people with certain lung, kidney, liver and heart diseases, people treated for cancer in the past year, those with severe mental illness and substance use disorders, and pregnant women. Initially, Albertans born in or before 1963 will be able to book appointments through pharmacies in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. Starting April 5, Alberta Health Services sites will begin taking bookings for those with eligible health conditions born in or before 1959. More birth years will be added as more vaccine supply arrives. After that, vaccines will be available to more health-care workers and people with jobs in certain congregate living settings, such as jails and homeless shelters. Meat plant workers will also qualify in this phase. Alberta has also said it will follow other provinces by extending the time between the first dose and the second to four months. — British Columbia British Columbia has decided to bump up its age-based vaccination plan by offering Oxford-AstraZeneca shots to Lower Mainland residents between the ages of 55 and 65. The move comes after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a pause on use of the same vaccine for anyone under 55 on the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization over concerns about rare blood clots. Beginning Wednesday, those between 55 and 65 can call their local pharmacy and book an appointment. Drop-in service may also be an option at more than 150 participating pharmacies. The province had previously accelerated the timeline for the COVID-19 vaccine by allowing people who are “extremely clinically vulnerable” and some seniors to book their shots earlier than expected. That means people at higher risk from COVID-19 due to existing medical conditions, including transplant recipients and those with cancer and severe respiratory conditions, can register for their vaccine. — Nunavut Nunavut has opened vaccinations to anyone 18 and older. The territory expects to finish its vaccine rollout of first and second doses by the end of April. — Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories is also providing vaccine to those 18 and older and expects to finish its rollout by the end of April. — Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. — This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2021. The Canadian Press
Canada’s Telesat takes on Musk and Bezos in space race to provide fast broadband
By Steve Scherer
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s Telesat is racing to launch a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to provide high-speed global broadband from space, pitting the satellite communications firm founded in 1969 against two trailblazing billionaires, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
Musk, the Tesla Inc CEO who was only a year old when Telesat launched its first satellite, is putting the so-called Starlink LEO into orbit with his company SpaceX, and Amazon.com Inc, which Bezos founded, is planning a LEO called Project Kuiper. Bezos also owns Blue Origin, which builds rockets.
Despite the competition, Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s chief executive officer, voices confidence when he calls Telesat’s LEO constellation “the Holy Grail” for his shareholders – “a sustainable competitive advantage in global broadband delivery.”
Telesat’s LEO has a much lighter price tag than SpaceX and Amazon’s, and the company has been in satellite services decades longer. In addition, instead of focusing on the consumer market like SpaceX and Amazon, Telesat seeks deep-pocketed business clients.
Goldberg said he was literally losing sleep six years ago when he realized the company’s business model was in peril as Netflix and video streaming took off and fiber optics guaranteed lightning-fast internet connectivity.
Telesat’s 15 geostationary (GEO) satellites provide services mainly to TV broadcasters, internet service providers and government networks, all of whom were growing increasingly worried about the latency, or time delay, of bouncing signals off orbiters more than 35,000 km (22,200 miles) above earth.
Then in 2015 on a flight home from a Paris industry conference where latency was a constant theme, Goldberg wrote down his initial ideas for a LEO constellation on an Air Canada napkin.
Those ideas eventually led to Telesat’s LEO constellation, dubbed Lightspeed, which will orbit about 35 times closer to earth than GEO satellites, and will provide internet connectivity at a speed akin to fiber optics.
Telesat’s first launch is planned in early 2023, while there are already some 1,200 of Musk’s Starlink satellites in orbit.
“Starlink is going to be in service much sooner … and that gives SpaceX the opportunity to win customers,” said Caleb Henry, a senior analyst at Quilty Analytics.
Starlink’s “first mover” advantage is at most 24 months and “no one’s going to lock this whole market up in that amount of time,” Goldberg said.
Telesat in 2019 signed a launch deal with Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin. Discussions are ongoing with three others, said David Wendling, Telesat’s chief technical officer.
They are Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Europe’s ArianeGroup , and Musk’s SpaceX, which launches the Starlink satellites. Wendling said a decision would be taken in a matter of months.
Telesat aims to launch its first batch of 298 satellites being built by Thales Alenia Space in early 2023, with partial service in higher latitudes later that same year, and full global service in 2024.
The Lightspeed constellation is estimated to cost half as much as the $10 billion SpaceX and Amazon projects.
“We think we’re in the sweet spot,” Goldberg said. “When we look at some of these other constellations, we don’t get it.”
Analyst Henry said Telesat’s focus on business clients is the right one.
“You have two heavyweight players, SpaceX and Amazon, that are already pledging to spend $10 billion on satellite constellations optimized for the consumer market,” he said. “If Telesat can spend half that amount creating a high-performance system for businesses, then yeah, they stand to be very competitive.”
Telesat’s industry experience may also provide an edge.
“We’ve worked with many of these customers for decades … That’s going to give us a real advantage,” Goldberg said.
Telesat “is a satellite operator, has been a satellite operator, and has both the advantage of expertise and experience in that business,” said Carissa Christensen, chief executive officer of the research firm BryceTech, adding, however, that she sees only two to three LEO constellations surviving.
Telesat is nailing down financing – one-third equity and two-thirds debt – and will become publicly traded on the Nasdaq sometime this summer, and it could also list on the Toronto exchange after that. Currently, Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications Inc are the company’s main shareholders.
France and Canada’s export credit agencies, BPI and EDC respectively, are expected to be the main lenders, Goldberg said. Quebec’s provincial government is lending C$400 million ($317 million), and Canada’s federal government has promised C$600 million to be a preferred customer. The company also posted C$246 million in net income in 2020.
Executing the LEO plan is what keeps Goldberg up at night now, he said.
“When we decided to go down this path, the two richest people in the universe weren’t focused on their own LEO constellations.”
($1 = 1.2622 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
$600K donation to boost online mental health programming in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Health’s mental health and addictions program hopes to offer more online support to people across the province after receiving a significant donation this week.
The QEII Foundation announced that RBC is contributing $600,000 toward the province’s e-mental health programming.
“It’s particularly important for the current time under all the strains of COVID,” said Dr. Andrew Harris, a psychiatrist and the senior medical director for the program.
The plan for online programming has been in the works for years, he said, but the pandemic expedited the push. Last June, the department launched a number of applications that can be used to help those with anxiety, depression and addictions.
Since then, as many as 3,000 Nova Scotians have used the site to access mental health services.
“There’s a persistent difficulty in accessing services,” Harris said of traditional models in Nova Scotia. He said those who don’t need intensive therapy may find the support they need through the online programs.
He uses the example of someone who can’t take time off work to speak to a clinician.
“It’s better for them to be able to access a service after hours or on the weekend. So our e-mental health services are tailored a little bit to meet that need.”
Calls to crisis line increase
Harris said the province’s mental health crisis line continues to see a 30 per cent increase in calls for help, so he’s trying to raise awareness that services can be accessed immediately online.
“I think everyone is aware that for a lot of people it’s much easier to talk about a physical illness than a mental illness. So there’s an allowance there for privacy, for some anonymity but still making available things that can help the person who is struggling in the community.”
The online portal has a list of programs that people can use, covering things like reducing stress, solving problems and becoming mindful. It mirrors a site in Newfoundland and Labrador that Harris said is used to help people in remote areas.
Harris said the donation from RBC will be used to continue to evaluate more services, and pay for the licensing of the products that are mostly developed by other organizations.
He encourages anyone who is struggling to test out the site, and use it as an entry point into the mental health system.
“It’s important for people to acknowledge when they’re struggling. It happens to all of us through our lives in different times.”
Anyone in Nova Scotia looking to access the tools can visit: https://mha.nshealth.ca.
Samsung’s cheapest 5G Galaxy phones yet are launching this month
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- Samsung is launching five new phones in its Galaxy A series this month.
- Three of them will support 5G connectivity, and the most expensive phone is just $500.
- The cheapest phone of the five still has three cameras but lacks 5G and other features.
- See more buying advice on the Insider Reviews homepage.
Samsung may be best known for its high-end Galaxy S phones that rival the iPhone. But the tech giant is proving that it can appeal to cost-conscious customers with the launch of five new smartphones in the United States, the priciest of which only costs $500.
Samsung’s new lineup of budget phones, which debuted in other markets before coming to the US, are all launching this month. Some of them will be released as soon as this week, while the least expensive model will debut on April 29. The launch comes as competitors like Apple and Google have also been focusing on cheaper smartphones to boost sales.
Three of these new Samsung devices also support 5G, another sign that shoppers no longer have to pay a premium to get access to next-generation wireless networks. All five of the new phones also have the traditional headphone jack for wired listening and run on an octa-core processor.
Here’s a look at the new Samsung Galaxy A series phones that will be launching soon.
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
- Release date: April 9
- Price: $499.99
The Galaxy A52 5G is the most expensive smartphone of the bunch. It comes with a 6.5-inch FHD+ screen and a quad-camera system that includes some of the same features as Samsung’s more expensive Galaxy S phones. These include Single Take, which creates several different photos or video clips with different effects with a single press of the shutter button.
Its screen can also boost its refresh rate up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling and performance, a feature that has become common on pricier flagship phones but is rare on cheaper models. It’s also the only phone in this A-series lineup to include Samsung’s notch-free screen design.
Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
- Release date: April 8
- Price: $399.99
The less expensive Galaxy A42 5G has a slightly larger screen than the A52 5G, but scales back on certain features when it comes to the camera and screen refresh rate.
Still, it has a triple-lens camera with high-resolution sensors, and like its pricier sibling it also supports Single Take.
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
Release date: April 9
The Galaxy A32 5G is Samsung’s cheapest 5G smartphone to date. It has a large 6.5-inch screen, but it’s made from an LCD panel instead of Super AMOLED. That means it will likely lack some of the contrast and boldness of Samsung’s other devices. But Samsung hasn’t skimped on the camera considering this model has a quad-lens main camera, which is rare if not unheard of at that price.
Samsung Galaxy A12
Release date: April 9
Samsung’s Galaxy A12 doesn’t come with 5G support, but it still gives you a lot for the price. For less than $200, you’re getting a quad-lens camera and a large 6.5-inch LCD screen. But remember this phone only has 32GB of storage, so it’s best suited for those who don’t store a lot of photos and videos on their device.
Samsung Galaxy A02s
- Release date: April 29
- Price: $109.99
The Galaxy A02s is Samsung’s cheapest phone, offering a 6.5-inch LCD screen and three main cameras. It doesn’t have 5G support or as much computing power or camera prowess as Samsung’s other A-series phones, but that’s to be expected for a device at this price. This phone is truly for those who just need the basics and little else.
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Source:- Business Insider