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Mixed dose woes: Some Canadian cruise ship workers lost out on jobs due to their mixed vaccines – CBC.ca

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Having a mixed COVID-19 vaccine — two shots but with different vaccines — may do more than impede your travel plans. It could hurt your chances of working abroad. 

Several countries don’t recognize people with mixed doses as being fully vaccinated.

That’s the general position in the United States where the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently doesn’t condone mixing COVID-19 vaccines. 

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Canadians can fly to the U.S. without showing proof of vaccination. However, many cruise lines departing the country have vaccination requirements — which are based on CDC guidelines. 

As a result, some Canadian cruise ship workers say they lost out on jobs because they weren’t considered fully vaccinated due to their mixed vaccines. 

“It was really heartbreaking,” said dancer Rosie Harbans of Toronto who performs in cruise ship shows. “This is how I make my money. This is how I live my life. This is my livelihood.”

Last year, Harbans’ cruise ship contract was cut short after the pandemic forced the cruise industry to shut down in March 2020. 

So she was thrilled to land a job starting next month with a cruise line. But she said her joy — and her job offer — disappeared after the cruise company learned she had mixed COVID-19 doses: one Pfizer and one Moderna.

“I was very, very upset, because I thought that getting a mixed vaccine was the right thing to do,” said Harbans. 

Cruise ship dancer, Rosie Harbans of Toronto said she was heartbroken to discover she couldn’t accept a job on a cruise ship because she has a mixed COVID-19 vaccine. (Yasmin Parodi)

To protect their future employment, CBC News has agreed to not name the cruise line involved in Harbans’ case or in the case of a second cruise ship entertainer interviewed for this story. 

Both said they don’t blame the cruise lines, and that they are speaking out to encourage the Canadian government to push for the acceptance of mixed vaccines internationally. 

“Find a solution,” said Harbans. “Try and do it as quickly as possible for all of the people that took [the government’s] advice in getting a mixed vaccine.”

Since mid-July, the federal government has repeatedly said it’s working with other countries to resolve their differing vaccine policies. But Ottawa has yet to announce any progress on that front. 

No international consensus on mixed vaccines

Millions of Canadians have received mixed COVID-19 vaccines. That’s because in June, Canada updated its guidelines to recommend mixing COVID-19 vaccine doses based on emerging research that found it was both safe and effective.

But there’s currently no international consensus on mixing COVID-19 vaccines. 

For example, according to their government websites, both Ireland and the United Kingdom don’t recognize any combination of mixed COVID-19 vaccines. 

Germany and Trinidad and Tobago only recognize a mix of AstraZeneca and Pfizer or Moderna. The World Health Organization (WHO) takes the same position — with a cautionary note.

“There is currently limited data on the immunogenicity or efficacy of a ‘mix and match’ [COVID-19 vaccine] regimen,” the WHO said in a statement

Watch: Canada recommends mixing COVID-19 vaccines:

Canada OKs mixing COVID-19 vaccines

3 months ago

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccines can be swapped for Pfizer or Moderna for the second dose. Limited evidence suggests the immunity from mixing doses is just as good, and may be better than two of the same. 2:00

The U.S. CDC takes the position that COVID-19 vaccines “are not interchangeable.” However, there are exceptions to the rule. The CDC says mixed doses of the two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are acceptable in “exceptional situations,” such as when the vaccine used for the first dose was no longer available.

As a result, some cruise lines such as Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, don’t recognize people with any type of mixed vaccine as being fully vaccinated. Other cruise companies, such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Carnival, don’t recognize a mix of AstraZeneca and an mRNA vaccine. 

Several cruise lines told CBC News they’re simply following CDC protocol. “We are under the jurisdiction of CDC when operating in U.S. waters and follow its guidance as to approved vaccines and procedures,” said Holland America Line in an email.

‘Shot ourselves in the foot’

Cruise ship entertainer, Michael Harrison of Windsor, N.S., says having a mixed vaccine is hurting his livelihood. 

“It’s pretty important that this gets sorted,” said Harrison who has spent 25 years performing as a comedy ventriloquist on cruise ships.

“It’s [my] employment. It’s a career that I had for my whole life.”

Ventriloquist Michael Harrison says he has yet to return to full-time cruise ship work due to having two doses of different COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. doesn’t recognize people with mixed vaccines as being fully vaccinated. (Michael Harrison/funnyguy.ca)

Both Harrison and his fiancée, who works as his assistant, each got a mix of AstraZeneca and Moderna.

Harrison said that over the past two months, the duo was offered jobs with two different cruise lines — with the first gig starting this month. But Harrison said when he learned that the cruise companies don’t recognize people with a mix of AstraZeneca and Moderna as being fully vaccinated, the couple had to reluctantly decline the job offers. 

“We had no clue that it wouldn’t be recognized,” said Harrison’s fiancée, Jennifer Giesbrecht. “Here we think we’re doing a good thing and we just shot ourselves in the foot.”

Some cruise workers consider getting third dose

Last week, the federal government announced it plans to create a standardized proof-of-vaccination passport for international travel by early fall.

The announcement included no resolution on the mixed vaccine issue, which Ottawa said is still a work in progress. 

“The Government of Canada continues to work with the World Health Organization and its international partners to share data proving the efficacy of a mixed vaccine schedule,” said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in a statement.

Worried they’re running out of time, Harrison and Giesbrecht are investigating getting a third vaccine dose, so they have two doses of the same vaccine. 

However, in Canada, only Quebec and Saskatchewan have announced they’re offering third doses to people travelling abroad. Quebec and Saskatchewan each told CBC News that, at this time, only people living in the province can apply. 

On Wednesday, the U.S. announced it plans to start offering COVID-19 booster shots to all adult Americans next month as an added layer of protection. Although Canada is exploring the efficacy of third doses, it’s not recommending them at this time.

“We don’t really know the exact impacts of adding another dose to the existing schedule,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam at a news conference earlier this month. 

She also suggested it could be some time before the mixed vaccine problem gets resolved.

“It is going to be a bit confusing and complicated in the next months ahead.”

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DoorDash laying off 1,250 people, about 6% of its workforce – CBC News

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DoorDash Inc. said on Wednesday it was cutting about 1,250 jobs, or six per cent of its total workforce, as the food-delivery company looks to keep a lid on costs to cope with a slowdown in demand.

DoorDash went on a hiring spree to cater to a flood of orders from people stuck at home during the height of the pandemic, but a sudden drop in demand from inflation-wary customers has left the company grappling with ballooning costs.

“We were not as rigorous as we should have been in managing our team growth … That’s on me. As a result, operating expenses grew quickly,” chief executive Tony Xu said in a memo to employees that was posted on the company’s website.

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“Given how quickly we hired, our operating expenses — if left unabated — would continue to outgrow our revenue.”

DoorDash has about 20,000 employees worldwide, and “some of the affected employees are based in Canada,” the company told CBC News in a statement, without elaborating.

The company joins a growing list of technology firms, including Amazon, Facebook-owner Meta, Twitter, Shopify and others that have laid off thousands of employees in recent weeks as they brace for a potential economic downturn.

British food delivery company Deliveroo said in late October that sales growth would be at the lower end of its previous forecast. In September, Winnipeg-based food delivery app SkipTheDishes laid off 350 workers.

Earlier this month, DoorDash reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly net loss of $295 million US, raising questions about the growth prospect of delivery firms as economies reopen. The company’s shares have lost two thirds of their value this year.

“Greater emphasis on its cost structure is a welcoming sign, especially given the potential for consumer spending to deteriorate faster than expected,” said Angelo Zino, analyst at CFRA Research.

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'I didn't ever try to commit fraud on anyone,' FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried says – CBC News

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The man at the centre of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX made his first public appearance since the saga began, telling a New York audience on Wednesday that it was never his intention to commit fraud.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of FTX, appeared at the New York Times’ Dealbook Summit on Wednesday, for an interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin about what happened to cause his cryptocurrency firm to collapse into bankruptcy earlier this month.

The firm, once worth more than $32 billion US, entered bankruptcy protection on Nov. 11 after a whirlwind series of days that saw it go from trying to solve a liquidity crunch by merging with a rival, to having that deal fall apart and succumbing to a run on the bank as traders pulled out $6 billion in funds within three days.

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Filings show the company owes almost $10 billion to various creditors, and at least $1 billion worth of customer deposits are missing. 

Among numerous allegations, customer deposits at FTX appear to have been used as capital and collateral for loans for an investment firm called Alameda affiliated with him — an allegation that amounts to fraud, and one that he pushed back against strongly.

‘Deeply sorry’ 

“I didn’t ever try to commit fraud on anyone,” he told Sorkin, “I didn’t knowingly co-mingle funds.”

While he acknowledged mistakes were made, Bankman-Fried rejected repeated attempts to characterize what happened at his cryptocurrency firm as being in any way malicious or illegal.

“I am deeply sorry about what happened,” he said. “I was excited about the prospects of FTX a month ago, I saw it as a thriving, growing business.”

Bankman-Fried has seen his personal net worth evaporate in the debacle, from more than $26 billion a year ago to “close to nothing” today — and he insisted that he doesn’t have any of the money that has vanished.

“I don’t have any hidden funds here. Everything I have, I am disclosing,” he said. 

“I’m down to one working credit card … [and] hundreds of dollars or something like that, in a bank account.”

WATCH | Former regulator weighs in on FTX debacle: 

Former regulatory executive weighs in on FTX collapse

19 days ago

Duration 4:04

Charley Cooper, a former executive at commodities regulator the CFTC, says the collapse of FTX is a good lesson of the inherent dangers of the cryptocurrency space.

He says, to his knowledge, there are enough funds at FTX to give users their money. But his hands are tied since he no longer has a formal role at the company since it entered bankruptcy proceedings.

“I believe that withdrawals could be opened up today and everyone could be made whole,” he said.

John Jay Ray III, the restructuring expert who has been handling FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings has said in legal filings that Bankman-Fried appears to have treated the company as his “personal fiefdom” and has called the fiasco a “complete failure of corporate controls.”

Bankman-Fried has been active on Twitter since the debacle first started, but his appearance on Wednesday marks his first public appearance since the saga began.

There was speculation he was going to appear in person, but ultimately he appeared via video link from the Bahamas, where he lives.

Legal problems

Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried if he did not appear in person because he is worried about being within the reach of U.S. agencies including the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, both of which are probing what happened at FTX.

Bankman-Fried appeared to side-step that question, remarking instead that, to his knowledge, he can still legally enter the U.S. 

“I’ve seen a lot of the hearings that have been happening [and] would not be surprised if some time I am out there talking about what happened,” he said, adding that he “does not personally think” he has any criminal liability to worry about.

That being said, he said his legal team is “very much not” supportive of his decision to appear at the summit and speak publicly about what happened at FTX. His lawyers advice was “to recede into a hole,” he joked.

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Investors focus on Powell's comments which put gold back into rally mode – Kitco NEWS

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Today gold futures are trading solidly higher as market participants react to Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech at the Hutchings Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, held at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Market participants focused intently on his remarks which alluded to a dynamic change in the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

“Thus, it makes sense to moderate the pace of our rate increases as we approach the level of restraint that will be sufficient to bring inflation down … The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting.”

However, it must be noted that the reaction by investors at large seems to focus on what they had hoped to hear which is the Fed will begin to raise rates at a slower pace rather than his nuanced message that the time required for the Federal Reserve to achieve their goal will take much longer.

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“It is likely that restoring price stability will require holding policy at a restrictive level for some time … History cautions strongly against prematurely loosening policy. We will stay the course until the job is done.”

As of 6:16 PM EST gold futures basis of the most active February, 2023 Comex contract is fixed at $1784.60 After factoring in today’s double-digit advance comprised of dollar weakness, buyers in the market along with the rollover from the December to February contract month.

Chairman Powell’s speech today diminished the concern of investors as they reacted to other members of the Federal Reserve who have been extremely vocal about upcoming interest rate hikes. Specifically, recent remarks by James Bullard underscored the hawkish intent of the Federal Reserve. Last week he commented on the need for the Federal Reserve’s benchmark rate to go as high as 7% to deal with inflation. This week he said that “the Federal Reserve will likely need to keep its benchmark policy rate north of 5% for most of 2023 and into 2024 to succeed in taming inflation.”

Chairman Powell’s statements were not in conflict in any way with those made earlier by James Bullard and other members of the Federal Reserve in his prepared speech. However, the chairman was able to deliver this message in a much softer tone. Chairman Powell in essence cemented a 50-basis point rate hike at the December FOMC meeting. However, he stressed that slowing the pace of rate hikes would require that the Fed maintains a restrictive monetary policy for a longer period.

Gold’s recent rally from $1621 to just shy of $1800 is a reflection of a major change in the market sentiment of investors. It suggests that investors are focusing intently on inflation and that lowering inflation to restore price stability will be a multi-year process.

For those who would like more information simply use this link.

Wishing you as always good trading,

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