Most Americans likely won’t get immunized with a coronavirus vaccine until the middle of next year, U.S. officials and public health experts say, even as the federal government asks states to prepare to distribute a vaccine as soon as November.
U.S. health officials expect to know whether at least one of the three potential vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca in late-stage testing works by the end of the year or sooner. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Thursday the company could have results from its late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial as early as October.
Whichever vaccine wins regulatory authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, it will likely be in short supply once it’s cleared for public distribution, officials and experts warn. The vaccine will likely require two doses at varying intervals, and states still face logistical challenges such as setting up distribution sites and acquiring enough needles, syringes and bottles needed for immunizations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently asking states to expedite the approval process for medical supply company McKesson so it can set up coronavirus vaccination sites across the U.S. by Nov. 1. The agency said states may need to waive some licensing and permit requirements that could bog down the process.
Still, a vaccine ready for public distribution in November is “extremely unlikely,” Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is leading the Trump administration’s Operation War Speed initiative, said in an interview with NPR that published Thursday evening.
“There is a very, very low chance that the trials that are running as we speak” could be ready before the end of October, he told NPR. “And therefore, there could be — if all other conditions required for an Emergency Use Authorization are met — an approval. I think it’s extremely unlikely but not impossible.”
He said he “firmly” believes a vaccine will be available before the end of the year and “in quantities that can immunize patients at the highest risk, which means very old people, 70 years and older, and maybe people that are highly exposed on the first line.”
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA Commissioner, said broad distribution of a coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. is likely “a 2021 event.”
He said the vaccine will likely be authorized by the FDA in stages where “incremental groups are getting access to the vaccine through the end of this year, assuming that they work and that they’re demonstrated to be safe and effective.”
On Tuesday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a draft proposal for distributing a vaccine in the U.S. if and when one is approved for public use. The report was requested by the National Institutes of Health and the CDC.
The vaccine would be distributed in four phases, with health-care workers, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, getting vaccinated first, according to the group. Essential workers, teachers and people in homeless shelters as well as people in prisions would be next on the list, followed by children and young adults.
The CDC estimates there are between 17 million and 20 million health-care workers in the U.S. alone, almost the entire amount of vaccine doses the U.S. expects to have by the end of the year, according Slaoui, who told NPR the U.S. should be able to immunize up to 25 million people by the end of the year.
He said the U.S. will “be able to immunize the U.S. population by the middle of 2021.”
Gottlieb was a little more optimistic on the timing during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday. He said a vaccine will be broadly available by the first quarter, “maybe it’s more like the first half of 2021 … but it’s clearly going to slip into 2021.”
An emergency use authorization allows the FDA “to stage the authorization, the access to the vaccine, to different high risk groups while they continue to collect data,” he said.
It also “allows the FDA to collect a lot of data, post market data, around the use of a product and effectively stand up what would be the equivalent of a registry where they’re continuing to collect safety and efficacy data on people as they get vaccinated.”
“In terms of having a vaccine available for broad distribution where you can actually go to your doctor’s office or distribution site and get the vaccine … that’s clearly I think a 2021 event,” Gottlieb said.
The World Health Organization also doesn’t see widespread vaccinations until the middle of next year. The agency said phase three trials underway will take longer as scientists need to assess whether the vaccines are “truly protective.”
“You also need to see how safe it is,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said. “There are earlier phases you do look at safety and you look at safety very, very carefully before you go into the phase three. But you need to be following safety at all stages, so that makes it a longer process.”
A key forecast predicts the U.S. will top more than 410,000 Covid-19 deaths by the end of the year as the country heads into the fall and winter, according to new projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Covid-19 has already killed at least 186,800 people in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The model by IHME, whose models have previously been cited by the White House and state officials, forecasts that the death toll will more than double by Jan. 1 and could reach as high as 620,000 if states aggressively ease coronavirus restrictions and people disregard public health guidance.
Follow COVID-19 isolation rules or face $5000 daily fine: Ottawa's top doctor – CTV Edmonton
Ottawa residents who have or may have COVID-19 and don’t properly self-isolate could face steep fines under a new order from the city’s top doctor.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches announced on Tuesday she is invoking an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act that requires people to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19, have signs of symptoms, are a close contact of a positive test, are awaiting a test result or have reasonable grounds to believe they may have COVID-19.
“Failure to comply with this order could result in a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues,” Etches said on Tuesday.
People under the order must remain in self-isolation for 14 days unless COVID-19 has been ruled out, and they must do everything they can to avoid exposing others.
“I don’t take these types of decisions and steps lightly,” Etches told a news conference on Tuesday. “However, I must do everything possible to reduce the transmission that’s currently happening in Ottawa.”
“We must again plank the curve.”
Etches reiterated the goals in resopnding ot the pandemic: to keep the level of COVID-19 transmission in the community from disrupting society in a detrimental way, and to limit hospitalizations and death.
“This level that we’re seeing … is too high for these purposes,” she said.
The order would be enforced by Ottawa Public Health taking people to court who don’t comply with officials who call them to get information about when their symptoms started, who they were in contact with, and other details necessary for contact tracing.
“If we start to run into some resistance, then we can point to the order that already exists and say you know, we have the authority to collect this information, there are some consequences for you if you don’t provide it to us,” Etches said. “if people still are having a reluctance to provide us with the information we need to do our public health work, then we could take the next step and go to court.”
Etches added that many people testing positive are between the ages of 20 and 39. Within that group, 40 per cent of the people who became ill in recent weeks acquired COVID-19 while in close contact with someone outside their household.
The number of cases in schools is also growing; Etches said 34 Ottawa schools have had someone test positive due to contact within a school setting.
Etches also said she doesn’t believe the provincially-mandated social circles have worked.
“I don’t think the social circle concept has worked out, when I look at what we’re seeing in people’s behaviour, where one circle of 10 becomes a different circle of 10 overlapping on different days of the week,” she said. “The concept was that you need to limit your contacts.
“The simple message I’m going back to: fewer is better.”
You can read the full Class Section 22 Order here.
Alberta confirms an additional 150 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, 2 deaths – Global News
Alberta Health released the updated numbers Tuesday afternoon.
The province also confirmed another two deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 258. On Tuesday, Alberta Health said a man in his 90s from the Edmonton zone and a man in his 80s from Calgary zone had both died.
The man from the Calgary zone was linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at Wentworth Manor, Alberta Health said.
Alberta Health Services confirmed another death linked to the outbreak at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
The province has said there is usually a bit of a delay in reporting, but some facilities with outbreaks report their own numbers. The Foothills death should show up in Alberta Health’s numbers in the coming days.
Alberta has no plans to reduce gathering limits at this time: Hinshaw
As of Tuesday, the province was reporting 1,565 active cases across the province. There were 485 in the Calgary zone, 820 in the Edmonton zone, 24 in the Central zone, 41 in the South zone and 188 in the North zone. There were seven active cases not associated to a specific zone Tuesday.
Across the province, there were 51 people in hospital with nine of those people in the ICU.
To date, 1,229,939 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Alberta.
On Tuesday, Canada’s top doctor warned the country is at a crossroads when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Theresa Tam said because daily reporting numbers only catch transmission in the past, Tam warned that actions taken now are essential to keep the virus under control.
“The only way to achieve strong control of COVID-19 and prevent the virus from surging into an uncontrollable growth trajectory is for public health authorities and the public to work together,” Tam said.
Is Canada in a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic? A doctor answers our questions
New modelling presented by Tam said, if Canadians maintain their current rates of contacts, the epidemic is forecast to resurge to over 5,000 reported cases per day in October. But, if Canadians decrease the current contact rate, the pandemic could come under control in most locations.
– With files from Katie Dangerfield, Global News
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. plunge overnight as recoveries surge – Powell River Peak
The B.C. government released data September 22 that showed 6,589 people have now recovered from COVID-19, up 617 from yesterday. The BC Centre for Disease Control identified 96 new infections and no new deaths were reported. The only way that all those numbers add up is if one person who had been listed as actively infected has left the province. So far, there have been 23 such people, according to government statistics.
The plunge in the number of active infections is a remarkably positive development given that those active cases had been steadily rising, and yesterday’s count of 1,987 active cases was a record high.
The number of people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases has risen to a record 3,314 people.
The total number of COVID-19 infections in the province is now up to 8,304, and the breakdown by health region is:
• 2,984 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up 39);
• 4,254 in Fraser Health (up 43);
• 203 in Island Health (no change);
• 511 in Interior Health (up three);
• 266 in Northern Health (up 11); and
• 86 people who reside outside Canada (no change).
One additional person has been admitted to hospital, resulting in 61 people being treated in hospitals, including 22 who are in intensive care units – one more than yesterday.
With no new deaths, the province’s death toll remains at 227.
“There has been an outbreak in one unit at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver,” B.C.’s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry, and Stephen Brown, deputy minister of health, said in a joint statement.
They added that there are 12 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and four acute-care facilities that have active outbreaks, but that included an outbreak at the Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility – a second outbreak for that facility. Henry said last week that this outbreak was declared over, and when
BIV asked the Ministry of Health, an official confirmed that this outbreak is indeed still over.
That leaves 11 assisted living, long-term care or seniors’ rental buildings with active COVID-19 outbreaks, They include:
• OPAL by Element assisted living facility in Vancouver;
• Point Grey Private Hospital long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Yaletown House long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Bear Creek Villa independent living facility in Surrey;
• Cherington Place long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Evergreen Hamlets long-term care facility in Surrey;
• KinVillage assisted living facility in Tsawwassen;
• Milieu Children and Family Services Society community-living facility in Courtenay;
• New Vista Care Home long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• Normanna long-term care facility in Burnaby; and
• Rideau Retirement Centre independent living facility in Burnaby.
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