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

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Health Canada has no reports of unexpected side-effects from patients vaccinated against COVID-19 thus far.

“There haven’t been any serious adverse events, or even the mild and moderate adverse events, that have been out of line or different than what we’ve seen in the clinical trials,” Dr. Supriya Sharma said in an interview with The Canadian Press Friday.

Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, is overseeing the vaccine review process.

She said experts look for two things when reviewing data after vaccines are given. The first is whether anything happens that was not observed during the clinical trials, and the second is whether the side-effects that were documented during the trials are more severe or greater in number than what the trials saw.

The answer to both questions in Canada so far is no, said Sharma.

“It seems that the clinical trials are pretty representative,” she said.

The most common side-effects from the vaccines are short-term fever, pain at the injection site, headache and fatigue. Most subside within 24 hours.

Health Canada approved two vaccines for COVID-19 in December, including one from Pfizer and BioNTech and a second from Moderna.

Vaccinations began Dec. 14, and data aggregated by University of Saskatchewan student Noah Little shows about 230,000 doses have been given so far. Most of the first doses went to front-line hospital staff and long-term care workers and a smaller number of long-term care residents.

Vaccines began reaching some First Nations and northern territories this week.

Health Canada continues to review data from two other vaccine developers, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, but is still awaiting more data from the companies. Sharma said she can’t say when Health Canada would be ready to make a decision about either one.

Both companies are expected to complete Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States this month.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply – Terrace Standard – Terrace Standard

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The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is supporting B.C.’s decision to delay the second doses of COVID-19 vaccines by up to four months.

“NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first,” the committee said in a decision published Wednesday (March 3).

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada; Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the newly approved AstroZeneca vaccine.

B.C. announced the decision to delay the second booster shot for four months on Monday, which health officials said could mean that all adults in the province could have their first dose by July.

READ MORE: Most B.C. adults could get their first COVID vaccine shot by July: health officials

Both provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and NACI said that its rationale was based on both the current available vaccine supply and data from other countries.

A study published by the University of Cambridge in the U.K., which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggests that a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can reduce the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections by 75 per cent.

In Israel, researchers studied the effects of a single dose of the same vaccine and published their findings in The Lancet medical journal, concluding that it was 85 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

Also in The Lancet, a U.K. study found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 81 per cent effective when its second dose is given three months after the first, compared with 55 per cent efficacy after six weeks.

The national advisory committee noted that since the COVID-19 vaccines are still new, its unknown how long the protection of one or both doses lasts for.

“Experience with other multi-dose vaccines after a single dose suggests persistent protection could last for six months or longer in adolescents and adults,” NACI said in its statement. “Longer-term follow-up of clinical trial participants and those receiving vaccination in public programs will assist in determining the duration of protection following both one and two doses of vaccination.”

The national advisory committee added that it’s unknown how a delayed booster shot regime will affect the spread of variants of concern, including the U.K. and South African ones. However, NACI notes that there is “currently no evidence that an extended interval between doses will either increase or decrease the emergence of variants of concern.”

The committee noted that all three currently approved vaccines have shown “promising early result” against the U.K. variant B.1.1.7.

READ MORE: COVID-19 wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

– with files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between COVID doses – ABC News

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TORONTO — A national panel of vaccine experts in Canada recommended Wednesday that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to four months to quickly inoculate more people amid a shortage of doses in Canada.

A number of provinces said they would do just that.

Second doses would begin to be administered in July as more shipments arrive, the panel said, noting that 55 million doses are expected to be delivered in July, August and September.

In comparison, the federal government previously said 38% of people would receive two doses by the end of June.

“They are making, I think, a reasonable calculation in a time of drug shortage,” said Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network. “It’s the right decision in my mind. Let me ask … A couple are given two vaccines. Do you give two to one, or give one each one dose? It’s a no brainer.”

The addition of the newly approved AstraZeneca vaccine to the country’s supply could mean almost all Canadians would get their first shot in that time frame.

“The vaccine effectiveness of the first dose will be monitored closely and the decision to delay the second dose will be continuously assessed based on surveillance and effectiveness data and post-implementation study designs,” the panel wrote.

“Effectiveness against variants of concern will also be monitored closely, and recommendations may need to be revised,” it said, adding there is currently no evidence that a longer interval will affect the emergence of the variants.

The updated guidance applies to all three of the vaccines currently approved for use in Canada.

Manitoba and Quebec also said Wednesday they will delay second doses. And Ontario’s health minister said it would Ontario to rapidly accelerate its vaccine rollout.

Earlier Wednesday, Trudeau said any change in public health guidance regarding the timing of the two doses could affect the speed of Canada’s vaccine rollout, as could the approval of more vaccines like Johnson and Johnson.

Canada’s provinces administer health care in the country so it’s ultimately up to the provinces.

Dr. Brad Wouters, executive vice-president of science and research at University Health Network, cast doubt on the recommendation. “Nobody in the world has been 4 months between doses. These are RNA vaccines never used before. We should use evidence to make decisions. Canada conducting a population experiment,” Wouters tweeted.

And Mona Nemer, the federal government’s Chief Science Advisor, also said this week that the plan amounts to a “population-level experiment” and that the data provided so far by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech is based on an interval of three to four weeks between doses.

But Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s provincial health officer, said the manufacturers structured their clinical trials that way to get the vaccines to market as quickly as possible, but said research in British Columbia, Quebec, Israel and the United Kingdom has shown that first doses are highly effective.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser for Health Canada, the country’s regulator, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in a time of limited supply they are starting to have greater comfort with the idea of waiting for the second dose after seeing real world data versus the strict interpretation of the clinical trials.

“In the real world we’re starting to see evidence from other countries that have delayed that second dose ‘Oh, it looks like they still have a really good effectiveness.’ We have lab studies that show it’s unlikely that immune response will drop off,” Sharma said.

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Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply – Maple Ridge News – Maple Ridge News

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The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is supporting B.C.’s decision to delay the second doses of COVID-19 vaccines by up to four months.

“NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first,” the committee said in a decision published Wednesday (March 3).

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada; Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the newly approved AstroZeneca vaccine.

B.C. announced the decision to delay the second booster shot for four months on Monday, which health officials said could mean that all adults in the province could have their first dose by July.

READ MORE: Most B.C. adults could get their first COVID vaccine shot by July: health officials

Both provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and NACI said that its rationale was based on both the current available vaccine supply and data from other countries.

A study published by the University of Cambridge in the U.K., which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggests that a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can reduce the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections by 75 per cent.

In Israel, researchers studied the effects of a single dose of the same vaccine and published their findings in The Lancet medical journal, concluding that it was 85 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

Also in The Lancet, a U.K. study found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 81 per cent effective when its second dose is given three months after the first, compared with 55 per cent efficacy after six weeks.

The national advisory committee noted that since the COVID-19 vaccines are still new, its unknown how long the protection of one or both doses lasts for.

“Experience with other multi-dose vaccines after a single dose suggests persistent protection could last for six months or longer in adolescents and adults,” NACI said in its statement. “Longer-term follow-up of clinical trial participants and those receiving vaccination in public programs will assist in determining the duration of protection following both one and two doses of vaccination.”

The national advisory committee added that it’s unknown how a delayed booster shot regime will affect the spread of variants of concern, including the U.K. and South African ones. However, NACI notes that there is “currently no evidence that an extended interval between doses will either increase or decrease the emergence of variants of concern.”

The committee noted that all three currently approved vaccines have shown “promising early result” against the U.K. variant B.1.1.7.

READ MORE: COVID-19 wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

– with files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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