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Leading B.C. doctor says 1 shot of COVID-19 vaccine is good enough — for now – Global News

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Should Canadian public health officials be keeping second doses of COVID-19 vaccine on ice until all high-risk people get their first shot?

It’s a possibility Dr. Danuta Skowronski, epidemiology lead for influenza and emerging respiratory pathogens at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, is raising.

Skowronski says data shows that there is little extra protection provided by a second COVID-19 shot. And it means the majority of hospitalizations from severe COVID should already be “vaccine preventable.”

Read more:
Canadian researchers insist Pfizer’s 1st dose effective enough to delay 2nd

“We should not be waffling on this, it’s too critical right now,” she told Global News.

In a letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine co-authored with Dr. Gaston De Serres of the Institut National de Sante Publique du Quebec, Skowronski argues the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — initially said to be just 52.4 per cent effective with one dose — could also provide more than 90 per cent protection with a single shot.

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New federal coronavirus modeling data warns of ‘third wave’ danger


New federal coronavirus modeling data warns of ‘third wave’ danger

According to Skowronski and De Serres, Pfizer’s own research started measuring how effective its vaccine was immediately after giving the shot, not after a two-week grace period she described as typical in vaccinology.

Read more:
Canada prepares for single biggest Pfizer vaccine shipment to date

Using documents submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug administration, the doctors say they determined Pfizer’s vaccine is actually up to 92.6 per cent effective with a single dose.

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Evidence collected on the ground to date in British Columbia from long-term care residents and inoculated health-care workers indicates a single-shot efficacy of at least 80 per cent, Skowronski said.


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New data on effectiveness of single COVID-19 vaccine dose


New data on effectiveness of single COVID-19 vaccine dose

“What we’re showing, with that letter, is that the second dose gives very little added benefit over that first dose,” Skowronski said.

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“We could be optimizing the use of the scarce vaccine supply by ensuring that all of our high risk individuals, target priority groups, get a first dose of vaccine before we double back and administer a second dose that is providing little added value to anyone at this stage.”

Read more:
B.C. reports 508 new COVID-19 cases and 6 deaths, updates vaccine timeline

Skowronski stressed that she was not suggesting that second doses be dropped entirely, but that the priority should be getting first shots into the arms of people most at risk.

Pfizer is resistant to the idea of holding off on second doses.

In a reply to Skowronski and De Serres, the company insisted that “alternative dosing regimens … have not been evaluated.”

“The decision to implement alternative dosing regimens resides with health authorities; however, we at Pfizer believe that it is critical for health authorities to conduct surveillance on alternative dosing schedules to ensure that vaccines provide the maximum possible protection,” it said.

The federal government is seriously looking at the data.


Click to play video 'Update on COVID-19 variants of concern in B.C.'



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Update on COVID-19 variants of concern in B.C.


Update on COVID-19 variants of concern in B.C.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu was asked Friday if a single-dose regimen, combined with new research showing the vaccine could possibly be kept at a warmer temperature, could be a “game changer.”

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“It could be,” she said.

“The regulators are always renewing the new data as it arrives, from both the manufacturer and our own domestic data that continues to grow.”

Health officials in B.C. are actively discussing the possibilities the data opened up.

Read more:
Administrator resigns at care home that was site of B.C.’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak

“What we’re trying to do, what we’re all trying to do is maximize the protection from the available vaccine to the entire population,” deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said.

“So I would say that the data are being looked at very, very carefully and evidence is accumulating to to support that as a potential approach for maximizing protection in the population.

The province has administered 192,942 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, of which 36,923 were second doses.

On Thursday, B.C. administered 12,250 doses of vaccine, its highest-ever single-day immunization. More than half of those shots were second doses.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Pre-owned business jet shortage drives sellers’ market, demand for new luxury planes

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A shortage of newer-model business jets is driving up prices of second-hand aircraft, a trend that is expected to deliver a windfall for luxury planemakers as new affluent buyers enter the market.

After a turbulent 2020 due to COVID-19, the rush toward private transport is so marked that some buyers are snapping up second-hand planes before fully inspecting the wares as the market shifts toward sellers, lawyers and brokers said.

That is expected to push up demand for new jets from planemakers like General Dynamics Corp‘s Gulfstream, Textron Inc and Bombardier Inc since buyers have fewer pre-owned options, and the price gap between old and new narrows.

“There are virtually no young pre-owned aircraft available – good news for would-be sellers and for (planemakers),” said aviation analyst Rolland Vincent.

He recalled one trucking company’s recent search for a pre-owned Gulfstream jet: “There was one aircraft in the world that fit their requirements.”

Traffic from business jets, which carry roughly a handful to 19 travelers, has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in the United States, the world’s largest market for private aviation, according to FlightAware data.

“On the pre-owned side, inventory appears to be fairly low, and that’s always a benefit to new aircraft sales,” said Scott Neal, senior vice president worldwide sales, Gulfstream.

“We are seeing strong interest across the board from first-time buyers and high net worth individuals as well as corporate customers with a desire to grow their fleets.”

Textron in April raised its full-year profit forecast, propelled by a rebound in business jet demand.

The trend could encourage some planemakers to increase production rates, although any ramp-up would hinge on supply chain capabilities, Vincent said.

Planemakers do not disclose total number of orders.

Preowned aircraft for sale in May accounted for 6.6% of the worldwide fleet, the lowest level recorded in 25 years by JETNET data, Vincent said. He said 864 pre-owned business jets sold during the first four months of 2021, up 36% from the same period last year.

“There are multiple offers on planes,” said Florida-based aviation attorney Stewart Lapayowker, founder of Lapayowker Jet Counsel PA.

Amanda Applegate, a partner at Aerlex Law Group, said she handled more deals for new jets than usual in May, as buyers fail to secure popular pre-owned planes like the G650, raising prices.

Applegate said it’s a case of pent-up demand as some wealthy travelers previously avoided private jets due to concerns like “flight shaming” over the environment. Corporate planes burn more fuel per passenger than commercial.

But since COVID-19, buyers have been shifting to private aviation to avoid airport crowds and coronavirus variants.

Applegate said some deals are so competitive she’s seen buyers give up pre-purchase inspections to win them.

Don Dwyer, managing partner at Guardian Jet, which does aircraft brokerage, appraisals, and consulting, recalled one case where a client didn’t undertake a pre-purchase inspection, which can take more than a month to complete.

It was a particular case since the plane was highly coveted, in good shape based on a visual inspection, and the seller was reputable, Dwyer said.

“I don’t recommend it, but in certain situations it can work.”

 

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Denny Thomas and Steve Orlofsky)

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Ford starts shipping Bronco SUVs from Michigan assembly plant

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Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday it had started producing and shipping the new Bronco sport utility vehicles (SUVs) from its Michigan assembly plant, following a delay in the launch of the SUVs due to COVID-19-related issues with the automaker’s suppliers.

Customers have booked more than 125,000 sixth-generation Bronco SUVs since the beginning of the year, the company said. The SUVs are targeted at the Jeep Wrangler market segment.

Ford said it had made more than 190,000 reservations for the Bronco in the United States and Canada.

The company built the first generation of Broncos from 1966 to 1977, and withdrew the line in 1996 amid falling demand.

Ford said it had invested $750 million into and added about 2,700 jobs at the Michigan assembly plant to build the new Broncos.

 

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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Lufthansa sets 2024 goal, eyes capital increase

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Germany’s flagship carrier Deutsche Lufthansa said it aims to boost its return on capital employed (ROCE) and laid out plans for a capital increase as it prepares for a business recovery amid an easing coronavirus pandemic.

The largest German airline aims to have an adjusted EBIT margin of at least 8% and an adjusted ROCE of at least 10% in 2024, it said late on Monday.

Adjusted ROCE was –16.7% in 2020 and 6.6% in 2019.

The group added it had mandated banks to prepare a possible capital increase, though size and timing have not yet been determined and the German state, which has bailed out the airline during the pandemic, has not yet given its approval.

 

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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