The province of Prince Edward Island has suspended use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for people under the age of 55.
Early Monday afternoon, a senior government source confirmed to CTV News that the NACI will recommend pausing administration of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to those under the age of 55.
In a live COVID-19 update later in the afternoon, P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison announced the province would hault AstraZeneca doses for that age group as well.
“The term given to this presentation is called the VIPIT, vaccine induced pro thrombotic immune thrombocytopenia,” said Dr. Morrison. “Serious side effects from vaccines are very rare and VIPIT is a rare presentation occurring anywhere from one in every 125,000 to one in a million people. It’s important to note that no such blood clotting abnormalities or VIPIT have been reported in Canada.”
“This pause will allow the manufacturer to conduct a detailed assessment of the benefits and risk of the vaccine by age and gender in the Canadian context, its information along with further international evidence will be used to determine if additional regulatory actions are necessary,” Morrison added.
P.E.I. Premier Dennis King added assurance to those who have already received the AstraZeneca vaccine on the island.
“For those Islanders who have been vaccinated, to date using AstraZeneca, 1680 of them. I understand this news would be a little bit disturbing to hear this,” said King. “But, I do want to reiterate and Dr. Morrison will further reiterate that the risk of developing a serious problem after being immunized is very very low. To date there have been no reported cases of any of these issues in P.E.I., or Canada.”
King says all islanders will still be able to receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June.
The new federal recommendation is expected to be made official later Monday.
Several provinces have already announced plans in line with this expected recommendation, P.E.I. being the first.
Manitoba and Quebec announced later in the day that they were halting vaccinations using AstraZeneca doses for anyone under the age of 55.
Earlier Monday, P.E.I. spokesperson Samantha Hughes sent the following information to CTV News in an email, indicating they would hault AstraZeneca shots for those 18-29:
“Appointments at pharmacies for AstraZeneca vaccine for those 18-29 are on hold pending anticipated further information from Health Canada and NACI. We expect more information on this later today.”
Last Tuesday, Health Canada said the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and will continue to be recommended for use despite criticism from U.S. health officials of the drugmaker’s analysis of the shot’s efficacy, health officials said.
“The message is that the efficacy and the safety of the vaccine have been shown,” senior Health Canada official Marc Berthiaume told reporters on March 23. “It continues to be beneficial for Canadians to prevent COVID-19.”
In early March, Denmark and other European countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of blood clots. Norway and Sweden also have paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Also on Tuesday, Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief medical officer said most of the 2,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine received on the island had been administered to people 18-29 working in the service industry, and reaffirmed Health Canada’s stance on the Astrazeneca vaccine, saying it is safe and effective, and encouraging any islanders who are offered it, to take it.
“I ask employers and business owners in these areas to encourage their staff age 18-29 to be immunized,” said Morrison on March 23. “And, if possible, please offer to assist with transportation and eliminating any other barriers that may be preventing staff from being vaccinated.”
The province had expanded the AstraZeneca eligibility to any 18-29 year olds who cannot work virtually. Initially the vaccines were opened to 18-29 year olds who work in the food and beverage sector.
This is a developing story. It will be updated throughout the day.
World Bank sees ‘significant’ inflation risk from high energy prices
Energy Prices are expected to inch up in 2022 after surging more than 80% in 2021, fueling significant near-term risks to global inflation in many developing countries, the World Bank said in its latest Commodity Markets Outlook on Thursday.
The multilateral development bank said energy prices should start to decline in the second half of 2022 as supply constraints ease, with non-energy prices such as agriculture and metals also expected to ease after strong gains in 2021.
“The surge in energy prices poses significant near-term risks to global inflation and, if sustained, could also weigh on growth in energy-importing countries,” said Ayhan Kose, chief economist and director of the World Bank’s Prospects Group, which produces the Outlook report.
“The sharp rebound in commodity prices is turning out to be more pronounced than previously projected. Recent volatility in prices may complicate policy choices as countries recover from last year’s global recession.”
The International Monetary Fund, in a separate blog https://blogs.imf.org/2021/10/21/surging-energy-prices-may-not-ease-until-next-year, said it expected energy prices to revert to “more normal levels” early next year when heating demand ebbs and supplies adjust. But it warned that uncertainty remained high and small demand shocks could trigger fresh price spikes.
The World Bank noted that some commodity prices rose to or exceeded levels in 2021 not seen since a spike a decade earlier.
Natural gas and coal prices, for instance, reached record highs amid supply constraints and rebounding demand for electricity, although they are expected to decline in 2022 as demand eases and supply improves, the bank said.
It warned that further price spikes could occur in the near-term given current low inventories and persistent supply bottlenecks. Other risk factors included extreme weather events, the uneven COVID-19 recovery and the threat of more outbreaks, along with supply-chain disruptions and environmental policies.
Higher food prices were also driving up food-price inflation and raising questions about food security in several developing countries, it said.
The bank projected crude oil prices would reach $74/bbl in 2022, buoyed by strengthening demand from a projected $70/bbl in 2021, before easing to $65/bbl in 2023.
The use of crude oil as a substitute for natural gas presented a major upside risk to the demand outlook, although higher energy prices may start to weigh on global growth.
The bank forecast a 5% drop in metals prices in 2022 after a 48% increase in 2021. It said agricultural prices were expected to decline modestly next year after jumping 22% this year.
It warned that changing weather patterns due to climate change also posed a growing risk to energy markets, potentially affecting both demand and supply.
It said countries could benefit by accelerating installation of renewable energy sources and by cutting their dependency on fossil fuels.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Diane Craft)
U.S. FAA seeks new minimum rest periods for flight attendants between shifts
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing to require flight attendants receive at least 10 hours of rest time between shifts after Congress had directed the action in 2018, according to a document released on Thursday.
Airlines for America, a trade group representing major carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and others, had previously estimated the rule would cost its members $786 million over 10 years for the 66% of U.S. flight attendants its members employ, resulting from things like unpaid idle time away from home and schedule disruptions.
Aviation unions told the FAA the majority of U.S. flight attendants typically do receive 10 hours of rest from airlines but urged the rule’s quick adoption for safety and security reasons.
Under existing rules, flight attendants get at least 9 hours of rest time but it can be as little as 8 hours in certain circumstances.
“Flight attendants serve hundreds of millions of passengers on close to 10 million flights annually in the United States,” the FAA said, adding that they “perform safety and security functions while on duty in addition to serving customers.”
It cited reports about the “potential for fatigue to be associated with poor performance of safety and security related tasks,” including in 2017, when a flight attendant reported almost causing the gate agent to deploy an emergency exit slide, which was attributed to fatigue and other issues.
The FAA estimated the regulation could prompt the industry to hire another 1,042 flight attendants and cost $118 million annually. If hiring assumptions were cut in half, it said, that would cut estimated costs by over 30%.
After the FAA published an advance notice of the planned rules in 2019, Delta announce it would mandate the 10-hour rest requirement by February 2020.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson is testifying at a U.S. House Transportation subcommittee hearing on Thursday.
House Transportation Committee chairman Peter DeFazio said on Wednesday that it was “unacceptable” to delay the FAA adopting the flight attendant rest rule and mandating secondary flight deck barriers to better protect the cockpits on all newly manufactured airliners.
Attorneys at the FAA “need a little poke” to move faster on rules when ordered by Congress, DeFazio said on Thursday at the hearing. “Do not screw around with it for three years… you just do it.”
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants representing 50,000 workers at 17 airlines, said the rule was critical.
“Flight attendant fatigue is real. COVID has only exacerbated the safety gap with long duty days, short night, and combative conditions on planes,” she said. “Congress mandated 10 hours irreducible rest in October 2018, but the prior administration put the rule on a process to kill it.”
During the pandemic, flight attendants have dealt with records numbers of disruptive, occasionally violent passenger incidents, with the FAA citing 4,837 unruly passenger reports, including 3,511 for refusing to wear a mask since Jan. 1.
The FAA proposes to make the new flight attendant rest rules final 30 days after it publishes its final rules.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jason Neely and Bill Berkrot)
Bitcoin price hits all-time high, one day after U.S. ETF debut – Global News
The world’s leading cryptocurrency was up 3.30 per cent, trading at US$66,364.72, after reaching a record of US$67,016.50, topping the US$64,895.22 hit on April 14 this year.
Tuesday was the first day of trading for the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF — a development market participants say is likely to drive investment into the digital asset.
The ETF closed up 2.59 per cent at US$41.94 from its opening price of US$40.88 on Tuesday and continued its ascent on Wednesday, last up 3.76 per cent at US$43.52.
The Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF, expected to debut on the Nasdaq Wednesday, appeared to be delayed after its prospectus was amended in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A person familiar with the matter said the Nasdaq expects the ETF to launch on Thursday, but that has not been confirmed yet.
El Salvador becomes 1st country to adapt Bitcoin as legal tender
Trading appeared to be dominated by smaller investors and high-frequency trading firms, analysts said, noting the absence of large block trades indicated that institutions were likely staying on the sidelines.
James Quinn, managing partner at Q9 Capital, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency private wealth manager, said the launch of the new product was “meaningful” for bitcoin.
Theoretically, any licensed brokerage firm in the United States which wants to take on this ETF can do so as easily as any other ETF, which “should make it available to a lot of folks,” said Quinn.
While the ETF is based on bitcoin futures, Quinn said the trades and hedges underpinning the ETF means activity will flow into the spot market and the bitcoin price.
Crypto ETFs have launched this year in Canada and Europe amid surging interest in digital assets. VanEck is also among fund managers pursuing U.S.-listed ETF products, although Invesco on Monday dropped its plans for a futures-based ETF.
Ether, the world’s No. 2 cryptocurrency, was up 3.63 per cent on the day at US$4,018.75, after hitting a high of US$4,080, nearing its record high of US$4,380 reached on May 12.
© 2021 Reuters
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