Connect with us

Business

'It's not over': Experts fear new surge of COVID-19 infections after holidays – CTV News

Published

 on


TORONTO —
Many hard-hit areas of Canada have seen rapidly increasing rates in COVID-19 infections over the past few weeks, and experts are warning that the start of 2021 could include an even higher surge of cases.

Dr. Ronald St. John, former Director General for the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), told CTV News Channel on Thursday that our current case numbers don’t even reflect the past week, when many may have gathered over the holidays in contradiction of health advice.

“I’m concerned that we haven’t begun to see a spike from Christmas,” he said. “It’s only been about five, six days since Christmas, that’s not quite enough time for transmission that occurred on Christmas Day to start to show up in any significant numbers.”

Since it takes around two weeks in general for people who contracted COVID-19 to experience symptoms and get tested, we will likely only know how big the Christmas spike will be in early January.

New Year’s Eve brings poses a second risky time for large gatherings.

“I’m afraid we’re going to have another spike from New Year’s Eve,” St. John said.

Officials have stressed that any celebrations should be virtual, and households should not be mixing for the kind of parties that are common in any other year.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer for B.C., reminded the public earlier Thursday to celebrate safely.

“Many of us will be ordering our favourite meals in, myself included,” Henry said. “Whatever your plans may be this evening, please remember how important it is to follow the public health orders and restrictions. The actions of a small group of people, as we have seen before, can have consequences.”

She added that health officials had been made aware of “holiday celebrations being planned, some for several hundreds [of] people.”

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve potentially impacting community spread, St. John believes we’re “looking at three weeks of increasing numbers,” in January, adding that this “may well have a major impact on our health-care system.”

We won’t see the effects of provincial lockdowns that occurred in December for weeks, making it hard to know how much they have helped or not.

Dr. Hassan Masri, an ICU specialist from Saskatchewan, told CTV News that “bold decisions should have been made earlier.”

“Unfortunately, they were not made early enough,” he said.

In Ontario, hospitals are being stretched to the limits in many regions. Within the province, COVID-19 patients in intensive care have doubled since the end of November, with 337 in the ICU today. In Scarborough alone, over 60 per cent of the ICU capacity is occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Albert Lauwers, chief of staff at Scarborough Health Network, told CTV News that they are bracing for an increase in cases in early 2021.

“We’re expecting spikes in January right through to mid-February,” he said.

While this is occurring, more shipments of vaccines will be making their way across Canada. But the vaccine rollout shouldn’t spur people to assume the pandemic is now over, St. John said — it should inspire us to be more careful than ever.

With the vaccine right around the corner for the general public, “now is not the time to get COVID,” he said.

“And now’s not the time to get COVID and then spread it to somebody, especially your grandparents, or your parents, or anybody else. Now is the time to really follow the measures and try to avoid becoming infected.”

He acknowledged that this is a “very difficult time.

“I’m afraid this epidemic is going to continue on into 2021,” he said. “It’s not over, and until we get enough vaccination to control the virus, we’re still going to have to follow these measures.” 

With files from Andrew Weichel

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Canada's coming month of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shipments will be reduced by half – CTV News

Published

 on


OTTAWA —
Over the next month Canada will be experiencing a “temporary” delay in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments due to the pharmaceutical giant’s expansion plans at its European manufacturing facility, with the shortage resulting in an average of 50 per cent of coming doses delayed each week.

While shipments will continue in the coming weeks, the amount of doses in them will be lessened, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of doses.

“Pfizer has confirmed that Canada’s deliveries will be impacted for the next four weeks. We will see an average reduction over this timeframe of 50 per cent of expected deliveries. There will minimal impact next week… The most profound impact will be in the week of January 25,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Canada’s logistical rollout. 

This setback to Canada’s short-term COVID-19 vaccine delivery schedule means the number of doses going to each province and territory will have to be readjusted. Fortin said that the allocations will begin to scale back up in the first two weeks of February, before returning to the size of doses originally anticipated. 

Canada was planning on receiving between 124,800 and 366,600 Pfizer doses every week between now and the end of February, as part of the plan to have six million doses total from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March when Phase 1 ends.

The delivery for the week of Jan. 25, which Fortin said is likely to see the largest reduction, was set to be 208,650 doses. If that’s reduced by half, Canada will receive 104,325 Pfizer doses that week, which is fewer than the forecasted allocation received this week.

“In my conversation this morning with Pfizer, it was very clear that we’re are still correct in our planning assumption to receive approximately four million doses of Pfizer by March 31,” Fortin said,

Fortin said that knew the company would at some point need to scale-up their manufacturing to ramp-up its mass production, but the news of the looming construction project was brought to the federal government’s attention in the last 24 hours, according to Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos.  

Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced the delay on Friday, saying all nations who are receiving vaccines from this Pfizer facility will be receiving fewer doses.

“It is a temporary reduction, it’s not a stoppage… We will make up those doses,” Anand said.

Addressing the setback during his Rideau Cottage address on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that shipments have largely been ahead of schedule so far, but that “with an undertaking this historic, it’s only to be expected that there will be a few bumps along the way.”

Norway, which is also receiving Pfizer doses from its Europe facilities has announced that “for some time ahead” their deliveries will be reduced. In the coming week their shipment will be reduced by approximately 18 per cent.

“The reduction is due to a reorganisation at Pfizer in connection with an upgrade of production capacity… It is not yet clear how long it will take before Pfizer is up to maximum production capacity again,” said the statement published by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. 

The government sought to ensure that all countries who will be impacted, will be “equitably treated” in terms of delivery reductions, according to Anand. Fortin confirmed later Friday that this will be the case, with all seeing deliveries reduced by 50 per cent on average.

Anand said that while Canada is expecting to be able to catch up, the delay is “unfortunate.”

“However such delays and issues are to be expected when global supply chains are stretched well beyond their limits,” Anand said.

By end of the day Friday, the federal government will have distributed a total of 929,000 doses of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines, around 84 per cent of which have been administered.

WON’T IMPACT PHASE 2  

The plan is to receive “more than” one million doses of approved vaccines every week, on average, starting in April with Phase 2. 

Trudeau said that while this issue is out of Canada’s hands, the country “must still get ready for the ramp-up,” in Phase 2. 

Fortin said the delays “will not change our second quarter goals,” though he could not guarantee future delays. He said he understands and feels the “disappointment,” but “we need to move forward.”

He committed to keep all key stakeholders, and Canadians appraised of any future delivery schedule changes. 

The ongoing initial vaccination stage has seen Canada pushing to properly allocate and prioritize key groups like residents and staff in long-term care homes as well as front-line health-care workers. 

In this first stage of the vaccine campaign, Canada has seen both doses sitting in freezers as well as provinces saying they are running short, while those on the front line have sought to sort out who should and shouldn’t be receiving shots at this time.

“It was with precisely these types of issues in mind that Canada pursued the aggressive procurement strategy that we did,” Anand said. “This approach of ensuring diversity and volume months ago is what now gives us flexibility and margins to remain on track in difficult times.” 

Asked whether Canada will be looking to revisit their decision to not procure additional Moderna doses to make up the shortage over the next few weeks, Fortin said the amount scheduled to arrive from that company will stay the same.

As previously reported, the additional 16 million Moderna doses that the federal government left on the table in talks with that company would not be arriving until late 2021. 

As for whether Canada looked into being able to receive Pfizer shipments from the  United States facility, Fortin said that the federal government looked into it, but for now Canada’s line of doses will continue to come exclusively from the European facility.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu added that because as part of the regulatory approval granted to Pfizer, Health Canada approves the manufacturing sites as well as the vaccine itself.

“So, should we procure from even the same company a different site, then there would need to be review of the manufacturing data,” she said. 

Several federal officials sought to reassure Canadians Friday that the country remains on track to vaccinate everyone who wants to be, by the end of September.   

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Canada's coming month of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shipments will be reduced by half – CTV News

Published

 on


OTTAWA —
Over the next month Canada will be experiencing a “temporary” delay in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments due to the pharmaceutical giant’s expansion plans at its European manufacturing facility, with the shortage resulting in an average of 50 per cent of coming doses delayed each week.

While shipments will continue in the coming weeks, the amount of doses in them will be lessened, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of doses.

“Pfizer has confirmed that Canada’s deliveries will be impacted for the next four weeks. We will see an average reduction over this timeframe of 50 per cent of expected deliveries. There will minimal impact next week… The most profound impact will be in the week of January 25,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Canada’s logistical rollout. 

This setback to Canada’s short-term COVID-19 vaccine delivery schedule means the number of doses going to each province and territory will have to be readjusted. Fortin said that the allocations will begin to scale back up in the first two weeks of February, before returning to the size of doses originally anticipated. 

Canada was planning on receiving between 124,800 and 366,600 Pfizer doses every week between now and the end of February, as part of the plan to have six million doses total from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March when Phase 1 ends.

The delivery for the week of Jan. 25, which Fortin said is likely to see the largest reduction, was set to be 208,650 doses. If that’s reduced by half, Canada will receive 104,325 Pfizer doses that week, which is fewer than the forecasted allocation received this week.

“In my conversation this morning with Pfizer, it was very clear that we’re are still correct in our planning assumption to receive approximately four million doses of Pfizer by March 31,” Fortin said,

Fortin said that knew the company would at some point need to scale-up their manufacturing to ramp-up its mass production, but the news of the looming construction project was brought to the federal government’s attention in the last 24 hours, according to Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos.  

Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced the delay on Friday, saying all nations who are receiving vaccines from this Pfizer facility will be receiving fewer doses.

“It is a temporary reduction, it’s not a stoppage… We will make up those doses,” Anand said.

Addressing the setback during his Rideau Cottage address on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that shipments have largely been ahead of schedule so far, but that “with an undertaking this historic, it’s only to be expected that there will be a few bumps along the way.”

Norway, which is also receiving Pfizer doses from its Europe facilities has announced that “for some time ahead” their deliveries will be reduced. In the coming week their shipment will be reduced by approximately 18 per cent.

“The reduction is due to a reorganisation at Pfizer in connection with an upgrade of production capacity… It is not yet clear how long it will take before Pfizer is up to maximum production capacity again,” said the statement published by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. 

The government sought to ensure that all countries who will be impacted, will be “equitably treated” in terms of delivery reductions, according to Anand. Fortin confirmed later Friday that this will be the case, with all seeing deliveries reduced by 50 per cent on average.

Anand said that while Canada is expecting to be able to catch up, the delay is “unfortunate.”

“However such delays and issues are to be expected when global supply chains are stretched well beyond their limits,” Anand said.

By end of the day Friday, the federal government will have distributed a total of 929,000 doses of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines, around 84 per cent of which have been administered.

WON’T IMPACT PHASE 2  

The plan is to receive “more than” one million doses of approved vaccines every week, on average, starting in April with Phase 2. 

Trudeau said that while this issue is out of Canada’s hands, the country “must still get ready for the ramp-up,” in Phase 2. 

Fortin said the delays “will not change our second quarter goals,” though he could not guarantee future delays. He said he understands and feels the “disappointment,” but “we need to move forward.”

He committed to keep all key stakeholders, and Canadians appraised of any future delivery schedule changes. 

The ongoing initial vaccination stage has seen Canada pushing to properly allocate and prioritize key groups like residents and staff in long-term care homes as well as front-line health-care workers. 

In this first stage of the vaccine campaign, Canada has seen both doses sitting in freezers as well as provinces saying they are running short, while those on the front line have sought to sort out who should and shouldn’t be receiving shots at this time.

“It was with precisely these types of issues in mind that Canada pursued the aggressive procurement strategy that we did,” Anand said. “This approach of ensuring diversity and volume months ago is what now gives us flexibility and margins to remain on track in difficult times.” 

Asked whether Canada will be looking to revisit their decision to not procure additional Moderna doses to make up the shortage over the next few weeks, Fortin said the amount scheduled to arrive from that company will stay the same.

As previously reported, the additional 16 million Moderna doses that the federal government left on the table in talks with that company would not be arriving until late 2021. 

As for whether Canada looked into being able to receive Pfizer shipments from the  United States facility, Fortin said that the federal government looked into it, but for now Canada’s line of doses will continue to come exclusively from the European facility.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu added that because as part of the regulatory approval granted to Pfizer, Health Canada approves the manufacturing sites as well as the vaccine itself.

“So, should we procure from even the same company a different site, then there would need to be review of the manufacturing data,” she said. 

Several federal officials sought to reassure Canadians Friday that the country remains on track to vaccinate everyone who wants to be, by the end of September.   

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Pfizer-BioNTech delaying vaccine deliveries to Canada due to production issues – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

Published

 on


The Canadian Press


Published Friday, January 15, 2021 10:13AM EST


Last Updated Friday, January 15, 2021 2:47PM EST

OTTAWA – Canada faces an “unfortunate” delay in vaccine deliveries due to Pfizer production issues in Europe, federal officials revealed Friday, chalking it up to the challenges of an unprecedented mass immunization effort while insisting most Canadians will still be vaccinated by fall.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa was “working day in and day out to get vaccines delivered as quickly as possible” but acknowledged that Pfizer-BioNTech doses have been derailed in the short-term.

Trudeau said this is why Canada has one of the most diverse vaccine portfolios in the world, pointing to seven bilateral agreements he says ensure “flexibility when it comes to supply chains.”

“I want to be very clear: this does not impact our goal to have enough vaccines available by September for every Canadian who wants one,” Trudeau said from outside Rideau Cottage.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said earlier Friday that production issues will temporarily reduce promised doses to Canada, as well as all countries that receive vaccines from Pfizer’s European facility.

While the company assured Canada it will still be able to deliver four million doses by the end of March, Anand acknowledged that is no longer guaranteed.

“This is unfortunate. However such delays and issues are to be expected when global supply chains are stretched well beyond their limits,” Anand said at a news conference.

“It’s not a stoppage.”

The immediate impact on Canada’s Pfizer-BioNTech supply was unclear.

According to the government’s website, more than 200,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were expected in each of the next two weeks and 1.4 million doses were expected in February.

Canada has received about 380,000 doses of the vaccine so far.

Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou said the production facility in Puurs, Belgium is undergoing some modifications in the coming weeks to increase the number of doses it can pump out.

Pfizer hopes to double its 2021 production to two billion doses.

“Pfizer Canada will continue to pursue its efforts in anticipation that by the end of March, we will be able to catch up to be on track for the total committed doses for Q1,” Antoniou said.

The news comes as Ottawa released federal projections that suggest the pandemic may soon exceed levels seen in the first wave, rising to 19,630 cumulative deaths and 10,000 daily infections in a little over a week.

The modelling shows total cases could grow to nearly 796,630 from about 694,000, and that another 2,000 people could die by Jan. 24.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam urged sustained vigilance as a long-range forecast suggested rapid growth would continue without “quick, strong and sustained” measures.

Tam said that’s especially so in national hot spots of Quebec and Ontario, where a steady increase in hospitalizations has strained the health system’s ability to keep up with critical care demands. The projections do not take into account Quebec’s recently implemented four-week curfew or Ontario’s new stay-at-home orders.

Tam emphasized the need to reduce community spread to help relieve some of the pressure on hospitals and long-term care homes.

“The vaccine alone is not going to make a dent in some of that,” she said.

“As the older population in long-term care receive the vaccines we’re going to look very carefully to see if the serious illnesses and the deaths go down, but that’s also a factor of what’s happening in the community.”

It was an especially deadly day in Ontario, which reported 100 deaths linked to COVID-19, although that took into account a difference in database reporting between one of its health units and the province.

The province’s newly resolved tally added 46 deaths from Middlesex-London that occurred earlier in the pandemic.

Ontario also reported 2,998 new cases of COVID-19 with 800 of those new cases in Toronto, 618 in Peel Region and 250 in York Region.

Quebec reported 1,918 new COVID-19 cases and 62 more deaths, including nine that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Concern also remained in Atlantic Canada’s hot spot of New Brunswick, which reported 25 new cases and remains at the province’s second-highest pandemic alert level.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending