Dozens of COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently undergoing late-stage testing, with two frontrunners by Pfizer and Moderna showing promising effectiveness.
But if multiple vaccines are eventually approved in Canada, a possibility that researchers believe could happen as soon as next year, experts say there won’t be any added benefit to getting multiple different vaccines.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti said there isn’t any medical advantage to taking more than one vaccine.
“They are the same sort of mechanism in terms of how they work, so I think one or the other would be beneficial,” he said.
Dr. Eleanor Fish, an immunology professor at the University of Toronto, agreed. She pointed to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which both aim to induce an immune response directed at same viral target: the spike protein, which interacts with other proteins on human cells to encourage the virus to replicate.
“Both frontrunner vaccines appear to be more than 90 (per cent) effective, so equally effective,” she told CTVNews.ca on Tuesday.
Epidemiologist and health policy expert Cynthia Carr said a vaccine isn’t “like Tylenol, where you take two if you need more pain control.”
“The vaccine is teaching your immune system to respond to an invading pathogen. If the vaccine has identified the right protein molecule to target, you might need a ‘reminder’ second dose, but that is not the same as taking multiple different vaccines,” she told CTVNews.ca.
Moderna said Monday that its shots appear to be 94.5 per cent effective, according to preliminary data in an ongoing study. The announcement came one week after Pfizer said its vaccine appears to be 90 per cent effective, based on early but incomplete testing.
While Moderna seems to offer slightly more protection, at least from preliminary findings, Chakrabarti said that difference likely wouldn’t be noticeable in a real-world setting.
“Ninety-five per cent versus 90 per cent, it is a difference. But I think on the population level it’s not a big thing,” he said.
Even when multiple vaccines are approved, Fish said Canadians probably won’t be in a position to choose which one they want to take.
“I suspect that choice will not be an issue as the vaccines arrive in Canada. There will be a strategy to roll out vaccination, prioritizing the most vulnerable and front-line workers,” she said.
Unless a person has a medical condition or an allergy, there likely won’t be an option for which vaccine they’ll receive, Carr said, assuming there is a more suitable vaccine available.
Given the global population and number of doses needed, it won’t be up to individuals to decide which vaccine they’ll receive, Carr said. Instead, governments will likely make those decisions based on vaccine availability, effectiveness and how easily the doses can be distributed.
The back-to-back announcements from Pfizer and Moderna sparked optimism among scientists and prompted an immediate reaction on the stock market, with Pfizer’s CEO selling US$5.6 million in stock the day it announced the news and airlines getting a boost.
Both companies have inked deals with the federal government for more than 20 million doses and asked Health Canada to review their products once ready. In total, the federal government has committed to buy more than 100 million doses from several different companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc.
Rather than bet on one company’s success, the federal government has spread around its investments in hopes of securing the first successful COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. However, in order to vaccinate as many Canadians as possible, it will be necessary to have a variety of effective doses available and the ability to make more.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on the strategy Tuesday, saying the plan to secure doses from a range of producers was to “give Canadians assurance that regardless of which vaccines landed first, which companies were more successful in developing an effective vaccine than others, Canadians would have access to tens of millions of doses of vaccines when they become available.”
The government has also pledged $126 million to build a facility capable of producing up to two million doses of any potential vaccine per month.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said people will take one vaccine initially once vaccine programs roll out. After that, he said, there are still many unanswered questions about what will happen next.
“It is currently not clear how long immunity will last after vaccination, and, if re-vaccination is required, what vaccinations people will be offered,” he told CTVNews.ca on Tuesday.
Among those unanswered questions is how the vaccines will be transported. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-low temperatures of -70 C, which could make it challenging to transport, particularly to developing countries in warm climates. Moderna’s vaccine can be stored at -20 C, which the company says could be achieved through a regular freezer and eliminate storage issues.
With thousands of new cases reported every day in Canada, a safe and effective vaccine has long been one of public health officials’ top goals. Kelly Grindrod, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo’s school of pharmacy, said the hope is that Canada could begin administering vaccines to frontline healthcare workers in early 2021.
“The push right now is to have a broad definition of ‘front line’ to make sure we include doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, but also those in low paid healthcare positions who have high infection rates, such as personal support workers, nursing aids, and hospital cleaning staff,” she said in a statement.
“By having a broad definition of ‘healthcare worker,’ the early vaccines would reach the hardest hit communities first.”
But even if Canada approves and distributes millions of vaccines, experts have long warned that a vaccine won’t immediately end the pandemic. World Health Organization spokesperson Margaret Harris pointed out that vaccines don’t eliminate diseases outright.
“We’ve got lots of great vaccines for other diseases, but we still have the diseases,” Harris told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday.
“So people need to understand it’s a great tool and used widely and wisely, if it gets to all the people, that need to get it at the same time, it’s going to make a difference. But we also have to do all the public health measures that do work.”
Until a vaccine or vaccines are available, health experts are advising Canadians to follow the same rules: wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands often. As of Tuesday morning, more than 302,000 people in Canada have contracted COVID-19 and more than 11,000 have died.
With files from The Canadian Press
AIB agrees to life and pensions joint-venture with Canada Life
Allied Irish Banks on Wednesday said it would form a joint venture with Canada life as it seeks to plug gaps in its life, savings and wealth products.
The joint venture will be equally owned by Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.
“The move to create this joint venture is aligned with AIB’s stated ambition to complete its customerproduct suite and diversify income,” AIB said in a statement.
“Through this strategic initiative AIB intends to offer customers a range of life protection, pensions, savings and investment options enhanced by integrated digital solutions withcontinued access to our qualified financial advisors.”
The Irish lender highlighted Canada Life’s “deep experience” of the Irish bancassurance market through Irish Life Assurance, which is also a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco.
AIB currently operates under a tied agency distribution agreement with Irish Life, and will enter into a new distribution agreement with the new joint venture company.
Chief Executive Colin Hunt highlighted the need to plug gaps in AIB’s life, savings and wealth products when he set out the bank’s medium-term targets last December.
AIB expects its equity investment in the joint venture will be around 90 million euros ($107.51 million), equating to around 10bps of CET1.($1 = 0.8372 euros)
(Reporting by Graham Fahy;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon
Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada.
Usable Across Various Markets
It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account.
Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores.
Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized.
A Reflection of Modern-Day Society
In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases.
There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology.
Consumer Habits are Changing
There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.
Your Education and Certificates Need to Align the Job Requirements
After your professional experience, your education/certifications (verified skills) will be the next section on your resume the reader will use to judge whether you go into the “to be interviewed” pile.
Many job seekers apply to job postings knowing they don’t have the education/certification requirements. They believe their “experience” will compensate. With so many highly qualified job seekers now on the job market this is rarely the case. If your education/certifications align with the job requirements, the education section of your resume will play a critical part in setting you apart from all the “spray and pray” job seekers.
Suppose a job posting for a Director of Finance lists as a qualification “Canadian Accounting Designation (CPA).” You have a university degree and 15 years of experience managing a mid-size company’s finances, but no CPA—don’t bother applying. Job postings generate an influx of applicants. Undoubtedly there’ll be many applicants who possess a CPA applying. There’s also the employer’s ATS to consider, which likely has been programmed to scan for “CPA.”
Education background information you should provide:
- Degree/certification obtained
- School’s name
- Location of school
- Period of attendance
- Relevant coursework
- Honors, academic recognition, extracurricular activities, or organizations participation worth mentioning
When it comes to presenting your educational background keep your ego in check. You may have impressive education background; however, it may not be impressive for the job you’re vying for. Prioritize relevancy over perceived prestige.
Here’s my suggestion how to present your education/certificates (there’s no hard formatting rule):
BS Biomedical Science
University of Calgary, Calgary, AB — 09/1992 – 06/1996
- Principles of Human Genetics
- Organismal Biology
- Principles and Mechanisms of Pharmacology
- Advanced Bioinformatics
Ryerson University Continuing Education, Toronto, ON — 10/2001 – 04/2003
- Planning and Scheduling
- Leadership in Project Management
- Project Cost and Procurement Management
- Project Risk and Quality Management
As I’ve pointed out in previous columns— there’s no universal hiring methodology. No two hiring managers assess candidates the same way. Depending on the job requirements respective employers search for different things when it comes to a candidate’s education. Read the qualifications in the job posting carefully. Then present your education/credentials accordingly. Don’t hesitate to add/remove courses to better tie in your education towards the job. It’s for this reason I suggest you list courses, not just your degree/certification. Listing of courses is rarely done, doing so will give your resume a competitive advantage.
You’ll have noticed my examples indicated start and end dates. Many “career experts” advise against this. The thinking being dates, even just the graduation year, will give employer’s a sense of your age, which if your over 45 can hinder and prolong your job search. This advice is supposed to be a workaround to ageism. However, these same “career experts” unanimously agree employment dates (month/year) need to be indicated. To me, this is a mixed message.
I believe in complete transparency from both sides of the hiring process. Full transparency ensures the likelihood of there being a solid fit for both parties. At some point, whether when the employer checks your digital footprint or interviews you, your interviewer will have a good indication of your age. Besides, not mentioning dates, which I call “obvious” information, is a red flag.
If your age is a deal-breaker with an employer, they aren’t the employer for you. The job search advice I give most often: Seek employers who’ll most likely accept you, where you’ll feel you belong—look for your tribe.
Some professions, such as finance or healthcare, require specific certifications or degrees. In such cases, show you have the necessary “must-have” (a deal-breaker if you don’t) credentials by placing your education at the top of the page just below your contact information before your professional experience.
One last note: Often overlooked is education in progress. If relevant, this should be included in your resume. In this case, list pertinent courses and the month/year you intend to graduate.
Using suggestions in this and previous columns you are now able to create a resume that “WOWs.” Next week, I’m going to begin discussing cover letters. Yes, many hiring managers, like myself, do read cover letters, which have one purpose—to give the reader a reason to read your resume.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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