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One vaccine shipment to Canada delayed by a day due to weather: Pfizer – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Today’s planned delivery of Pfizer doses has been delayed by one day due to inclement winter weather in the United States, the pharmaceutical giant has confirmed to CTV News.

The short delay is to just one of what Pfizer says will be a few shipments slated to arrive in Canada this week. Overall this week’s delivery total is expected to be 403,650 doses.

“Unfortunately the inclement weather in the U.S. has caused a short delay of today’s planned delivery. As a result, our delivery scheduled for today will be delayed by one day. However, the majority of our deliveries this week are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday and those remain on schedule,” said spokesperson Christina Antoniou in an email.

“We are doing everything we can to try and reduce the delay as much as possible and sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused,” she said.

As a result of “significant weather events,” the United Parcel Service (UPS) closed its Worldport shipping facilities in Louisville, Ky. on Monday.

While Canada’s doses are being shipped from Europe, they pass through the U.S. facility in Louisville along the way.

Weather delays have been considered a potential issue by the federal government and those leading Canada’s national vaccine rollout, though during a press conference in which the vaccination campaign was discussed, Procurement Minister Anita Anand did not mention this delay.

This holdup follows a month-long slowdown as it made changes to its facility in Belgium, resulting in deliveries of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine to Canada dropping off completely for one week and significantly reduced in others.

As of this week, and in the weeks between now and the end of March, Canada is expecting to receive weekly shipments of more than 400,000 doses.

Before the brief delay was announced, Cole Pinnow, president of Pfizer Canada, was asked on CTV News Channel about Canada’s vaccine rollout, where he stated the pharmaceutical giant is “confident” it will meet its target of four million doses delivered to Canada by the end of next month.

Pinnow noted that the company has moved up its timeline for all 40 million guaranteed doses to the end of September, instead of the end of the year.

Canada currently receives its doses from the Belgium facility, but some have suggested the government could turn to the U.S. state of Michigan, also home to a Pfizer production facility, for help with more doses.

Pinnow acknowledged that the company is considering that as an option for the second part of 2021, but is confident that Belgium will satisfy the dosage needs for now.

Though Canada has faced criticism for its lack of domestic production capacity, Pinnow said that vaccine manufacturing is so complex — particularly with a product as innovative as the Pfizer mRNA vaccine — that there could have been “a bottleneck in the process” even with a Canadian facility in play.

“It’s important to note, regardless of who’s making which part of any given product, that there is a global supply chain and it’s really in all of our best interest to support open borders and open trade,” Pinnow said.

He also said that from his perspective, Canada was doing “quite well” in the global vaccine race.

Canada is currently 19th in the world when it comes to total vaccines administered as a percentage of population, according to CTV News’ vaccine tracker. 

While more than 975,000 first doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered across the country over the last two months, amounting to less than three per cent of the population, other nations have far surpassed the Canadian speed. In the U.S., nearly 53 million doses have already been administered. In the U.K., now a global leader for immunizations, nearly a quarter of the population has been inoculated.

“When you look at over 50 countries that Pfizer is contracted with, Canada is doing exceptionally well on deliveries. But what we’re trying to manage is a global supply chain to meet our obligations to all 50 countries,” said Pinnow.

In the House of Commons on Tuesday the federal government continued to face a series of questions from the opposition parties about the state of Canada’s vaccination efforts, all pushing for more details and an accelerated pace so that the country doesn’t fall further behind other nations when it comes to tacking the virus, and restarting the economy.

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As BC COVID Cases Rise, Health Officials Say Better Days Are Ahead – Toronto Star

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Despite rising COVID-19 cases, especially in Metro Vancouver, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry didn’t announce new measures to curb the spread of the virus in a briefing today.

Henry urged British Columbians to continue to stay home when sick, wear a mask in public spaces and not socialize outside their households — public health orders that have been in place for nearly five months.

“It is concerning that we’re seeing an increase in our per-cent positivity and in our weekly average, particularly in the Lower Mainland,” she said.

“We know what to do to manage.”

The province need only stay the course to lower transmission as it continues to roll out vaccines to the most vulnerable to serious illness, she said.

But recent data shows the number of people infected is beginning to climb again after a slow decline. Earlier this month, the province was reporting about 450 new COVID-19 cases each day.

On Thursday, the province reported 617 new cases. Today, Henry said 559 new cases had been identified.

And the rolling seven-day average of new daily cases has surpassed 500 for the first time since early January.

Recent polling also suggests British Columbians are less likely to consistently follow COVID-19 guidelines than people in other provinces.

Concerns have also increased after seven schools reported students and staff had been exposed to COVID-19 variants that are believed to be more easily transmitted and potentially more likely to cause serious illness.

Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside acknowledged the issue in a briefing Monday.

“I can appreciate the anxiety,” she said. But she added that testing has shown the variants are not being spread within schools.

Henry said the province is testing all positive cases for evidence of a variant, and genomic sequencing has been ramped up to confirm the extent of variants in the community.

“We are paying extra attention, so we better understand how and where these are spreading,” she said.

“We’re learning about the impacts of these variants of concern,” Henry said. “But we know what we have to do to manage it.”

Henry said there are signs the province’s vaccination effort has saved lives, particularly in long-term care.

More than 220,000 people have been vaccinated, and at least 55,057 of those have had two doses.

The province reported one death due to COVID-19 today, an individual in assisted living.

There have been no new cases or deaths in long-term care in the last 24 hours, and 92 per cent of residents have had their first dose of the vaccine, Henry said.

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Outbreaks in long-term care have also dropped from almost 60 in December to 12. There are five outbreaks in assisted living facilities.

On Monday the province will announce the plan for vaccinating seniors over 80 living in the community, Henry said, which will begin shortly.

“We are in a period of vaccine hope and pandemic reality,” she said.

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21K vaccinations booked, thousands left frustrated by technical issues around Alberta's rollout – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
Registration opened Wednesday morning for Alberta seniors to book vaccination appointments, but the system crashed within minutes, leaving many frustrated.

“As anticipated, we are experiencing very high volumes with the AHS COVID-19 immunization booking tool,” officials wrote on social media.

“The tool remains live. If you are having trouble accessing the site, please try again shortly. Thank you for your patience.”

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said on social media he was “disappointed that the launch of the vaccine booking tool today did not go more smoothly.”

“At launch, more than 150,000 users attempted to visit the site, causing a number of technical issues,” he wrote.

To fix the problems, Shandro said network capacity had been added to 10 servers and additional staff has been brought in to answer Health Link calls.

As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, Shandro said 21,000 appointments had been booked.

All Albertans age 75 and older — including those who will turn 75 this year — can book appointments by calling Health Link (811) or using and an online portal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Anyone born in 1946 or earlier is eligible as part of Phase 1B of the province’s vaccination plan rollout. First Nations and Metis who are age 65 or older are also eligible. Vaccines will be provided in two doses, given five to six weeks apart.

There will be 58 sites set up to deliver vaccinations, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Tuesday.

Officials have said the first appointments will be available as early as 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

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Only Two New COVID-19 Cases In N.B. – 91.9 The Bend

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New Brunswick is reporting only two new cases of COVID-19 today (February 24).

Public Health says one case in the Moncton Zone 1 region involves someone in their 50s.

The case is under investigation and the individual is said to be self-isolating.

The other case is someone in their 70s in the Edmundston Zone 4 region.

The individual is a staff member at Manoir Belle Vue and is reportedly self-isolating.

Public Health says 13 people have recovered from the virus since Tuesday which has lowered the number of active cases to 64.

Two patients are in hospital and one is in the ICU.

There have been 26 COVID-related deaths in the province.

On Tuesday, 797 tests were conducted.

All zones remain in the Orange level under the province’s mandatory order.

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