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No unexpected side-effects from COVID-19 shots given in Canada so far: Health Canada – Westerly 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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Fauci warns of COVID-19 spike in coming weeks, even though more vaccines are being administered | TheHill – The Hill

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Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is warning about another possible spike in COVID-19 infections in the U.S. as the number of new cases has plateaued at a rate health officials say is still too high. 

Cases in the U.S. continue to fluctuate around 60,000 to 70,000 per day after a steep decline of cases over the past several weeks following the record-high holiday surge. Daily coronavirus deaths are hovering around the 2,000 mark. 


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Public health officials are concerned the stall in the decline plus the spread of new variants and easing of restrictions by states could bring on another surge. 

Fauci pointed out that after the first surge in the spring, cases spiked then leveled out around 20,000 before a second wave hit in July, peaking around the 70,000 mark. Cases then plateaued around 40,000 before the U.S. began recording hundreds of thousands of new cases per day through the winter. 

“The issue is that we are starting to plateau. That plateau is about 60,000 to 70,000 cases a day. When you have that much viral activity in a plateau, it almost invariably means that you are at risk of another spike,” Fauci said during a White House COVID-19 briefing Friday. 

“Many countries in Europe have seen just that. They had a decrease in cases over a six-week period. They plateaued. And now, over the past week, they saw an increase in cases by 9 percent, something we desperately want to avoid,” he said. 

Fauci’s warning comes as multiple states have started rolling back restrictions to curb the spread of the virus despite recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) not to do so. Both Texas and Mississippi this week announced they were doing away with mask mandates and are allowing businesses to reopen to 100 percent capacity. 

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Friday said the number of cases and deaths in the U.S. are still too high and urged Americans to double down on prevention measures. 

“I know the idea of relaxing mask wearing and getting back to everyday activities is appealing, but we’re not there yet. And we have been — we have seen this movie before: When prevention measures like mask mandates are rolled back, cases go up,” Walenksy said Friday

The warnings come as the U.S. has had some promising news on the vaccine front. The Biden administration this week announced it will have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all American adults for the coronavirus by May, sooner than the administration’s previous estimate of securing the doses by July. 

Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine has also received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration. 

According to the CDC, more than 82 million doses have been administered across the country so far. 


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Gorillas are the first non-humans to be vaccinated against COVID-19 – Maple Ridge News – Maple Ridge News

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The San Diego Zoo has vaccinated nine great apes for the coronavirus after a troop of gorillas in its Safari Park became infected.

Officials say four orangutans and five bonobos received COVID-19 injections in January and February.

Three bonobos and a gorilla also are expected to receive the vaccine, which is experimental and not built nor suitable for human use.

The vaccinations followed a January outbreak of COVID-19 at the zoo’s Safari Park. Eight western lowland gorillas got the virus, probably by exposure to a zookeeper who tested positive for COVID-19.

The gorillas had symptoms ranging from runny noses to coughing and lethargy. But they are recovering.

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Quebec reports 749 new COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths as province expands vaccine access – Toronto Star

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Quebec continued to escalate its vaccination drive over the weekend, reporting Saturday that the past 24 hours had seen it deliver a single-day high of nearly 20,000 shots to its growing list of eligible residents.

The 19,865 jabs administered on Friday mark the most the province has reported in a single day and come as vaccine shipments ramp up across Canada following numerous international shipment delays.

To date, provincial figures show 532,012 doses of vaccine have been administered out of a total of 638,445 received from the federal government.

Provincial health minister Christian Dube highlighted the upward trend in a tweet on Saturday.

“Vaccinations have [increased] over the last few days and will continue to [increase], with other regions in addition to Montreal beginning mass vaccination next week,” Dube wrote.

Until recently, Quebec has concentrated its vaccination effort on particular groups such as health-care workers, people living in remote regions and seniors in long-term care facilities.

The government began allowing members of the general public to schedule appointments to receive their vaccines recently, with eligibility varying by region. In Montreal and Laval, for example, people over the age of 70 can book appointments, while slots are restricted to people over 80 in other regions.

More regions are scheduled to expand vaccine access to those in different age groups starting next week.

In addition to the vaccine numbers, Quebec reported 749 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday along with 10 new deaths linked to the virus.

Hospitalizations across the province declined by 16 to 601 over the past 24 hours, while the number of patients in intensive care declined by two to 109.

Quebec’s case numbers have stabilized in recent weeks, prompting officials to relax restrictions in some regions.

Starting on March 8, areas such as Estrie and Capitale-Nationale will be designated as “orange zones,” meaning the provincewide curfew will be extended until 9:30 p.m. rather than 8 p.m. More businesses, including restaurants, will also be allowed to open at limited capacity.

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Quebec premier Francois Legault has said that Montreal and the surrounding areas will not see any imminent changes in public health restrictions, warning that more contagious variants of the virus could prompt a sharp uptick in the number of cases in the region.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2021.

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