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Ontario reports record 2,923 new COVID-19 cases – The Globe and Mail

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A personal support worker receives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at St. Michael’s Hospital, in Toronto, on Dec. 22, 2020.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Ontario will lay out the order and time frame in which specific population groups will be immunized against COVID-19, possibly within the next few weeks.

Dr. Dirk Huyer, a member of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, says the group is working to determine the sequencing “over the next number of weeks,” after which it should be publicly released.

He says it won’t be broken down at the individual level, but by category such as health-care workers.

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Huyer says that within each category, there will be further prioritization based on factors such as risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the number of cases in a geographic area.

The province has released its ethical framework for determining who will get immunized first as more doses of various COVID-19 shots are delivered.

The principles listed in the framework include equity, fairness and transparency, and stress the need to protect those who face the greatest risk of serious illness and death due to “biological, social, geographical, and occupational factors.”

The announcement came as some 50,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were set to arrive in Ontario.

Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, who is leading the province’s COVID-19 vaccination program, has said the drug will be distributed to long-term care and retirement homes, with immunizations slated to start there within days of the delivery.

Hillier said Tuesday that more than half of Ontarians – about 8.5 million – should receive the vaccine by the end of July.

Another vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech is already being administered to health-care workers, but its storage requirements limit where that can be done.

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Meanwhile, Ontario reported 2,923 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic.

The province also logged 19 new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said 998 of the new cases reported today are in Toronto, 441 in Peel Region, 408 in York Region, 158 in Durham and 144 in Windsor-Essex County.

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B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown – Caledonia Courier

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B.C. continues to administer both kinds of COVID-19 vaccine, preparing for a slowdown in deliveries next week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.

B.C. has received 26,775 doses in its latest shipments, mostly the Pfizer vaccine, plus the last currently scheduled shipments of Moderna vaccine that arrived on Friday.

Despite the temporary slowdown in deliveries to Canada, B.C. remains on track to complete its vaccination of high-risk health care employees and seniors in care by the end of March as planned, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in their regular update Jan. 18.

Public health officials reported three days of test results, with 584 new cases in the 24 hours up to Saturday, another 445 up to Sunday and 301 up to Monday, for a total of 1,330 since the last report on Friday. There were 31 additional COVID-19-related deaths over the three days, and as of Monday, there were 343 coronavirus patients in hospital, 68 in critical care.

The latest cases include 13 positive tests in people who normally live outside of Canada, and Henry said most of them are temporary foreign workers who have begun arriving again to prepare for the growing season. B.C. continues to provide hotel accommodation to quarantine arriving foreign farm workers for 14 days.

One new health care outbreak was reported at Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody. Outbreaks were declared over at four facilities, including McKinney Place in Oliver where 17 people have died. The others declared over are at Laurel Place in Surrey, AgeCare Harmony Court in Burnaby and Capilano Care Centre in West Vancouver, were 25 residents died during a two-month outbreak.

RELATED: Surrey care home outbreak ended after 10 deaths

RELATED: Provinces revise plans as vaccine deliveries slow


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Pfizer vaccine delay: Is Canada being left behind? – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)

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OTTAWA — At least three provinces are now temporarily delaying or pausing COVID-19 vaccination programs amid fallout from Pfizer’s decision to reduce Canada’s vaccine deliveries over the next month.

More than half a million Canadians have been vaccinated against COVID-19 thus far, and more than 822,000 doses of the two approved vaccines have been delivered from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

But all provinces are being forced to revisit their vaccination programs after Pfizer suddenly told Canada on Friday morning it would be cutting the doses delivered in half over the next four weeks, while it upgrades its factory in Belgium. Pfizer was to ship 735,150 doses to Canada between Jan. 18 and Feb. 14.

Canada’s deliveries after the partial pause will be bigger than previously expected so Pfizer can fulfil its contract to deliver four million doses by the end of March.

About 600,000 doses have been delivered from Pfizer so far.

The new delivery schedule has not yet been posted publicly, but provinces are preparing for the temporary downturn anyway.

Manitoba stopped taking appointments for first doses Friday but will honour appointments already made.

Ontario’s chief medical officer Dr. David Williams said Saturday his province would delay giving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 42 days, instead of the recommended 21 days. The 28-day schedule for Moderna’s vaccine will remain intact, said Williams.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Monday his province has “quite simply run out of supply” of COVID-19 vaccines and is no longer taking appointments for people to get their first doses.

“I am deeply disappointed at the situation we are now facing,” said Kenney.

“Due to the unexpected supply disruption the federal government announced last week, Alberta will have no more vaccine doses available to administer as first doses by the end of today or early tomorrow.”

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said his province is considering whether to adjust the dosing schedule. B.C. had already changed the 21-day second-dose schedule to 35 days, but Dix said that may change again because of the delivery shortages.

Alberta hit a milestone on Sunday by delivering of the first doses of vaccine to all residents of long-term care facilities. Ontario still anticipates hitting its first target of inoculating 61,500 long-term care residents, staff and primary caregivers by Thursday.

Pfizer is trying to double its production of vaccine doses to two billion this year and is planning to temporarily curb production at its Belgian facility to make upgrades that will allow for that increase.

Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou said the delivery delays will affect other countries besides Canada and the European Union but the company has not identified them.

“Multiple countries around the world, beyond Canada and the EU, will be impacted in the short term,” Antoniou said.

“Pfizer is working closely with all governments on allocation of doses. While the precise percentage allocation may fluctuate, we anticipate that it will balance out by the end of (the first quarter of) 2021.”

Europe has already seen its delivery delay period shortened from four weeks to just one. Pfizer told Europe Friday that delays to its dose deliveries would end Jan. 25, while Canada expects to be affected until mid-February.

European leaders were furious at the initial announcement that their deliveries would be smaller for several weeks. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called Pfizer’s CEO directly to discuss the issue late last week.

Pfizer later announced Europe’s deliveries would only be affected for this week.

Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must explain why Canada’s delivery schedule is being affected for longer.

“It’s up to the prime minister to explain to Canadians why they won’t be able to get vaccinated for months, while European countries have minimal delays in receiving vaccines,” Rempel said.

“It’s up to him to explain why, based on Friday’s news about vaccine delivery delays, we might be looking at many more months of lockdown — with the lost jobs, time with families, and mental health challenges that accompany them. It’s up to him to find a better path forward.”

Trudeau said Friday the decision was “out of our hands” but that it would not affect Canada’s long-term goal to have every Canadian vaccinated by the end of September.

By the fall, Canada is to get a total 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Both use a similar technology to train the human immune system to recognize the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, and mount a defence against it.

Both vaccines showed they were more than 94 per cent effective at preventing serious illness after two doses.

Health Canada approved Pfizer’s vaccine Dec. 9 and Moderna’s on Dec. 23. It continue to review two more COVID-19 vaccines, from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, but neither is expected to complete the review process in Canada for at least several more weeks.

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COVID death toll rises in the north – Prince George Citizen

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The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of four more northern B.C. residents.

On Monday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported that the Northern Health region’s death toll from the pandemic had grown to 52 – up from 48 in Friday’s update.

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“”There have been 31 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,078 deaths in British Columbia,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement released on Monday afternoon. “We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

There were 166 new cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Health region since Friday’s update, according to the B.C. CDC data. The region’s number of active cases rose to 531, up from 497 on Friday.

The Northern Health’s case counts are moving the opposite direction of the province as a whole. On Monday, the province had 4,326 active cases of COVID-19, down from 4,604 on Friday and 5,232 a week ago.

Across B.C. there were 343 hospitalized with COVID-19, including 68 in critical care. Forty of those hospitalized were in the Northern Health region, and 16 of those people were in critical care.

B.C. had a total of 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 since the last update, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 61,447 – including 2,911 in the north.

A breakdown of COVID-19 cases by local health area released by the B.C. CDC reported there were 108 cases of COVID-19 in the Prince George area between Jan. 3 and Jan. 9.

A map showing cases by Health Service Delivery Area showed 132 cases between Jan. 8 and Jan. 14 in the Northern Interior area, which includes Prince George.

As of Monday, 87,346 British Columbians have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“With notice of a temporary reduction in Pfizer vaccine supply in Canada, we have adjusted our immunization program to match availability,” Henry and Dix said. “Our focus continues to be on immunizing all those in long-term care, as well as the people who care for the residents, and starting dose two at 35 days.”

As of this week, the B.C. CDC will add vaccination information to its COVID-19 dashboard information.

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“We have to remember that even though our COVID-19 immunization program is underway, the risks remain high. This is why we all need to continue using our layers of protection and follow the public health orders, to keep everyone without a vaccine as safe as possible,” Henry and Dix said. “The COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly effective, greater than what we see in the vaccines for many other illnesses. But right now, it is our individual efforts that have the biggest impact. Let’s show each other that we remain committed to doing our part to keep everyone safe, to protect our seniors and Elders who have not yet had the vaccine, our neighbours and loved ones.”

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