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No unexpected side-effects from COVID-19 shots given in Canada so far: Health Canada – The Battlefords News-Optimist

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OTTAWA — Federal procurement minister Anita Anand says Canada will do “whatever it takes” to get more vaccine doses delivered to Canada faster but there hasn’t yet been any change to the number of doses Canada is expecting to receive this winter and approvals for additional vaccines are still at least several weeks away.

Anand said Canada had already put a number of offers on the table to vaccine makers to get more deliveries faster, including upping the price per dose.

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“We convey to the vaccine suppliers that we will do whatever it takes to get vaccines into this country and to do so as early as possible,” Anand said at a regular pandemic briefing to Canadians Friday.

Canada has approved two vaccines and is currently scheduled to receive four million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and another two million from Moderna before the end of March. That is the same delivery plan that has existed since November.

Reports say Israel — which signed a contract with Pfizer in mid-November, more than three months after Canada did — paid twice as much per dose, and is getting that vaccine much faster. Israel has vaccinated more than 1.5 million people already, mostly with Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine.

Canada has given doses to fewer than 250,000 people.

Canada’s contracts with vaccine makers have not yet been made public but Anand said Friday Canada paid fair market value for the doses.

Reports have put the European price for Pfizer’s product somewhere between C$18 and C$24 and the United States’s at about C$25.

Moderna has previously said it is charging CDN $40 to $47 per dose.

Anand did not elaborate much on what else Canada is doing to urge faster deliveries of the hottest commodities in the world, other than to suggest Canada isn’t going to follow the United Kingdom and delay a second dose of the vaccines in a bid to get more people a first dose faster.

“It’s important from a procurement perspective to remember also, that as we press for additional deliveries on an accelerated basis, we need to be able to show to the vaccine companies that Canada is indeed following the instructions that a second dose be administered in a certain time frame,” said Anand.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is to be given in two doses 21 days apart and Moderna’s in two doses 28 days apart.

Canada’s national advisory committee on immunization is looking at the evidence to determine if a first dose works well enough for long enough to allow the second dose to be delayed.

Neither Pfizer nor Moderna is on board with the idea, because their clinical trials are based on the dosing schedule as listed.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada overseeing the vaccine approvals, said there have been some calculations that suggest both vaccines are quite effective after one dose, but because almost all the trial patients who were vaccinated got a second dose on schedule, it’s impossible to know how long that single dose’s immunity would have lasted.

Sharma said early studies on animals that got single doses showed immunity waned.

She said the first report on adverse events from vaccines administered in Canada so far shows no evidence of any trouble. There have been no rare side-effects seen at all, and the mild and moderate side-effects, such as fevers, headache and fatigue, were in line, both in severity and frequency, as what was seen during the clinical trials.

That news was overshadowed by federal-provincial vaccine bickering, with Ottawa concerned doses aren’t being given by provinces fast enough and provinces arguing they’re running out of doses to give.

Several premiers say they can vaccinate people faster if more doses can be delivered and are potentially going to run out of doses.

But Anand said Ottawa has been clear to the provinces on the delivery schedules and they should base their vaccine efforts on that.

She said deliveries will double between January and February.

Moderna deliveries come every three weeks, and are to go from 170,000 per shipment to 250,000 in February and 1.24 million in March.

Pfizer deliveries happen weekly, and are to include 208,650 each week in January, and more than 366,000 each week in February. Pfizer’s March deliveries aren’t yet confirmed.

Canada expects to vaccinate three million people by the end of March, 15 million to 19 million people by the end of June, and all 38 million Canadians by the end of September.

That assumes every Canadian wishes to be immunized and that vaccines prove safe and effective for children as well as adults.

Anand acknowledged the schedule also depends on Canada approving more vaccines. Moderna and Pfizer are to send enough to vaccinate about 30 million Canadians by the end of September.

Health Canada is reviewing submissions from drugmakers AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, but Sharma said a lot of information has to come in from them before decisions can be made on their vaccine candidates.

AstraZeneca’s has been approved in the United Kingdom but Canada is waiting for results from a big trial in the United States. Sharma said that review is complicated because AstraZeneca made a mistake in its earlier trials and some people only got half doses instead of full doses.

Sharma said she expects results from the AstraZeneca U.S. trial in one to three months. Johnson & Johnson could report results before the end of January.

Health Canada can’t make a decision on either until those results come in.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2021.

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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 – Times Colonist

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The latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada (all times eastern):

12:15 p.m.

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Nunavut is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

All the new cases are in Arviat, the only community in the territory with active COVID-19 cases.

Because of the rise in cases, Arviat’s hamlet council has imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.

There are 25 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 858 new COVID-19 infections and 16 more deaths due to the novel coronavirus.

Health authorities say the number of patients requiring hospitalization has declined by 22 to 633, with eight fewer patients in intensive care.

The latest numbers come as the province began accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations for those 85 and older.

Officials also say primary school students in Quebec’s red pandemic-alert zones — which includes the greater Montreal area — will be required to wear a mask at all times beginning March 8.

10:40 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 1,138 new cases of COVID-19.

The province is also reporting 1,094 cases have been resolved since yesterday’s update and there have been 23 more deaths linked to the virus.

Ontario is set to release new COVID-19 projections this afternoon.

Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of Ontario’s science advisory group, is presenting the data.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

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COVID-19 update for Feb. 25: 456 new cases, two more deaths – Vancouver Sun

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Feb. 25, 2021.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on Feb. 24

• Total number of confirmed cases: 78,278 (4,668 active)
• New cases since Feb. 23: 456
• Total deaths: 1,338 (2 new)
• Hospitalized cases: 237
• Intensive care: 64
• Total vaccinations: 230,875 doses, of which 62,608 are second doses.
• Cases under public health monitoring: 7,924
• Recovered: 72,219
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 16

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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19 FAQ: What you need to know about the vaccine rollout in B.C.

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS ON COVID-19 IN B.C.

1 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

12 a.m. – B.C. reports 456 new cases, two more deaths

There were 456 new cases of COVID-19 reported in B.C. on Wednesday and two deaths.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were 4,688 active cases of the disease, of which 237 were being treated in hospital including 64 in intensive care.

There were no health-care outbreaks reported.

There were 6,525 doses of vaccine administered on Tuesday, bringing the total to 230,875. 62,608 people have been fully immunized with both doses.

12 a.m. – Outbreak over at Burnaby hospital

Fraser Health has declared the COVID-19 outbreak over at Burnaby Hospital.

Health officials continue to urge people living in the Fraser Health region to get tested as soon as you have COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones.

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People living in the Fraser Health region can find information about test collection centres by visiting Fraser Health’s website.

To book a COVID-19 testing appointment, complete a COVID-19 test booking form.


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

– With files from The Canadian Press

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Advocates call for COVID-19 vaccination plan for migrant and undocumented workers – Airdrie Today

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TORONTO — Migrant and undocumented workers must have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Canada’s immunization effort, advocates said Wednesday, calling on all levels of government to ensure the workers are guaranteed the shots.

The Migrant Rights Network, along with doctors and labour groups, voiced concerns that thousands of migrant and undocumented workers may not get the vaccine because of their immigration status.

“Concrete action is urgently necessary to ensure life-saving public health measures are accessible to all migrant and undocumented people,” said Syed Hussan, spokesman for the group.

An estimated 1.6 million people in Canada don’t have permanent resident status and many work in essential jobs in health care, construction and agriculture, the group said.

While governments have said the vaccine rollout will be universal, the advocates made specific recommendations to ensure the workers receive the shot.

Granting workers permanent resident status would address the problem, but in the absence of that the group recommended vaccines be provided to the workers free of charge and without a health card required to obtain them.

Advocates also said the shot shouldn’t be mandatory and health-care providers must train people providing the doses to ensure migrant or undocumented workers aren’t turned away.

Dr. Danyaal Raza, chairman of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, said many undocumented workers are afraid to get the shot because they worry about having to provide identification. 

“Many uninsured people with precarious status worry about being reported to the Canadian Border Services Agency to face detention or deportation,” he said. 

“Some, as a result, may avoid receiving the vaccine altogether. We need to be able to assure those affected that their privacy will be respected.”

Pauline Worsfold, a registered nurse with the Canadian Federation of Nurses and chair of the Canadian Health Coalition, said migrant workers cannot be included as an “afterthought” in the country’s vaccine rollout.

If Canada’s goal is to eliminate COVID-19, as many people as possible must be vaccinated, she said.

“They must have access to universal health care immediately, regardless of their immigration status, and it should be private and confidential so that we can eliminate the COVID virus and the variants that are now spreading like wildfire,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada said COVID-19 vaccines across the country are being administered for free.

“While they’re available to priority populations first, they’ll be available to everyone in Canada who is recommended to get the vaccine by federal, provincial and territorial public health authorities,” Anna Maddison said in a statement. 

“This applies to everyone in Canada, including those who aren’t citizens.”

Maddison said that each province is in charge of its own plan to administer the vaccine. 

In Ontario – where thousands of migrant workers arrive to work on farms every spring – a spokesman for the  Ministry of Health said the government’s goal is to provide a shot to everyone who is eligible and wants a vaccine.

“When temporary workers get vaccinated depends on where they fall in the priority framework,” David Jenson said in a statement. 

“You do not need an (health) card to receive the vaccine. If you do not have an (health) card, you may bring another form of a government issued-photo ID.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021.

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

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