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Pfizer cutting back vaccine deliveries to Canada due to production issues – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Cassandra Szklarski , The Canadian Press


Published Friday, January 15, 2021 10:13AM EST


Last Updated Friday, January 15, 2021 2:47PM EST

OTTAWA – Only half of Canada’s promised COVID-19 vaccine doses by Pfizer-BioNTech will arrive in the next month, federal officials revealed Friday, blaming production issues in Belgium that will affect immediate vaccination plans.

Procurement minister Anita Anand said Canada faces an “unfortunate” delay that is nonetheless expected to be made up by the end of March, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted most Canadians will still be vaccinated by the fall.

News of the Pfizer delay drew immediate concern from Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe who said the province’s strategy for the two-dose regime depends on steady shipments.

“We have been planning our vaccine rollout based on this schedule, including second dosages,” said Moe, noting he expected 11,700 doses a week in February.

“If this has changed, they need to advise us immediately.”

In British Columbia, where all available doses are being deployed as they arrive, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the delay will have “some significant effect” on when priority groups get their shot.

“Obviously, when you receive fewer doses you immunize fewer people,” said Dix.

The delay could also affect the wait time between each shot of the two-dose regime, he said.

Although Pfizer-BioNTech suggests a second dose 21 days after the first, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that could be extended to 35 days.

A spokeswoman for Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said the temporary slowdown reinforced the province’s decision to wait up to 90 days to administer the vaccine’s second dose.

“The strategy remains the same: we must give a boost now and vaccinate as many vulnerable people and health workers as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Marjaurie Cote-Boileau.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province was evaluating the impact of the delay and “will adjust as necessary.”

Maj-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading the national vaccine distribution, said Pfizer’s production delays would reduce deliveries by an average of 50 per cent over the coming weeks.

He said that won’t be felt until after next week because Canada’s upcoming shipment has already been prepared. But the final week of January will bring “about a quarter of what we expected.”

“The numbers will pick right back up after that to about half of what we had expected (and) progressively grow into the rest of February,” said Fortin.

“Pfizer is telling us it will impact us for four weeks.”

According to the government’s website, more than 200,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were expected in each of the next two weeks and 1.4 million doses were expected in February.

Trudeau said Ottawa was “working day in and day out to get vaccines delivered as quickly as possible” but acknowledged that Pfizer-BioNTech doses have been derailed in the short-term.

Trudeau said this is why Canada has one of the most diverse vaccine portfolios in the world, pointing to seven bilateral agreements he says ensure “flexibility when it comes to supply chains.”

“I want to be very clear: this does not impact our goal to have enough vaccines available by September for every Canadian who wants one,” Trudeau said from outside Rideau Cottage.

Anand said all countries that receive vaccines from Pfizer’s European facility have been affected but that Canada has been assured it will receive four million doses by the end of March.

“This is unfortunate. However such delays and issues are to be expected when global supply chains are stretched well beyond their limits,” Anand said at a news conference.

“It’s not a stoppage.”

Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou said the production facility in Puurs, Belgium is undergoing modifications in the coming weeks to increase the number of doses it can pump out.

Pfizer hopes to double its 2021 production to two billion doses.

“Pfizer Canada will continue to pursue its efforts in anticipation that by the end of March, we will be able to catch up to be on track for the total committed doses for Q1,” Antoniou said.

The news came as Ottawa released federal projections that suggested the pandemic may soon exceed levels seen in the first wave, rising to 19,630 cumulative deaths and 10,000 daily infections in a little over a week.

The modelling shows total cases could grow to nearly 796,630 from about 694,000, and that another 2,000 people could die by Jan. 24.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam urged sustained vigilance as a long-range forecast suggested rapid growth would continue without “quick, strong and sustained” measures.

Tam said that’s especially so in national hot spots of Quebec and Ontario, where a steady increase in hospitalizations has strained the health system’s ability to keep up with critical care demands. The post-holiday projections do not take into account Quebec’s recently implemented four-week curfew or Ontario’s new stay-at-home orders.

Tam emphasized the need to reduce community spread to help relieve some of the pressure on hospitals and long-term care homes.

“The vaccine alone is not going to make a dent in some of that,” she said.

Ontario reported 100 deaths linked to COVID-19, although that took into account a difference in database reporting between one of its health units and the province.

The province’s newly resolved tally added 46 deaths from Middlesex-London that occurred earlier in the pandemic.

Ontario also reported 2,998 new cases of COVID-19 with 800 of those new cases in Toronto, 618 in Peel Region and 250 in York Region.

Quebec reported 1,918 new COVID-19 cases and 62 more deaths, including nine that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Concern also remained in Atlantic Canada’s hot spot of New Brunswick, which reported 25 new cases and remains at the province’s second-highest pandemic alert level.

with files from Catherine Levesque and Mia Rabson in Ottawa, Shawn Jeffords in Toronto, Stephanie Taylor in Regina, and Hina Alam in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

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J&J's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, says FDA – Yahoo Canada Finance

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The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 49,917 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,652,282 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,359.666 per 100,000. There were 36,279 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,040,089 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 80.99 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were 2,340 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 26,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,020 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,630 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 73.316 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 5,188 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 29,237 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 29.959 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 10,932 new vaccinations administered for a total of 376,910 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.049 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 509,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 17,141 new vaccinations administered for a total of 602,848 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.041 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.23 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 2,402 new vaccinations administered for a total of 66,372 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 48.20 per 1,000. There were 14,040 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 98,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.14 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 1,003 new vaccinations administered for a total of 63,345 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.721 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 106.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 5,817 new vaccinations administered for a total of 186,572 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.383 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.62 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 6,521 new vaccinations administered for a total of 230,875 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.991 per 1,000. There were 19,899 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 307,849 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 941 new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,364 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 344.205 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 76 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 62 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,073 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 182.642 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 45.93 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press

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Single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 66% effective, say U.S. regulators – CBC.ca

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Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine appeared safe and effective in trials, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff said in documents published on Wednesday, paving the way for its approval for emergency use.

The FDA’s panel of independent experts is set to meet Friday to decide whether to approve the shot. While the panel is not bound to follow the advice of its experts, the FDA did so when authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was 66 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 against multiple variants in a global trial involving nearly 44,000 people, the company said last month.

Its effectiveness varied from 72 per cent in the United States to 66 per cent in Latin America and 57 per cent in South Africa, where a new variant has spread, though the vaccine was 85 per cent effective overall in stopping severe cases of the disease.

FDA finds vaccine is safe

The vaccine was effective in reducing the risk of COVID-19 and preventing polymerase-chain-reaction-test (PCR-test) confirmed COVID-19 at least 14 days after vaccination, the FDA said in its briefing documents.

Three vaccine recipients had severe side effects in the trial, but the FDA said its analysis did not raise specific safety concerns that would preclude issuance of an emergency use authorization.

Johnson & Johnson had not previously released details of its clinical trial data beyond efficacy rates.

Approval could speed up vaccination drives

While the overall effectiveness numbers may suggest Johnson & Johnson candidate isn’t quite as strong as two-dose competitors, all of the world’s COVID-19 vaccines have been tested differently, making comparisons nearly impossible.

It wouldn’t be surprising if one dose turns out to be a little weaker than two doses, but policymakers will decide if that’s an acceptable trade-off to get more people vaccinated faster.

The rival Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines currently being used in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries must be kept frozen, while the Johnson & Johnson shot can last three months in the refrigerator, making it easier to handle.

Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical division, Janssen, has applied for regulatory approval from Health Canada. That application is still under review.

Canada has ordered 10 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, with options for up to 28 million more, if necessary. Most of those shots are expected to arrive by the end of September.

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Meme stock mania kicks up anew after GameStop shares triple – BNN

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A flurry of buying that saw GameStop Corp. shares almost quadruple from Tuesday’s close spread to a host of other meme stocks at the center of last month’s day trader-fueled boom and bust.

GameStop jumped 104 per cent in Wednesday’s cash session, spurred by a final-hour surge that brought its biggest advance since Jan. 29, the day Robinhood Markets restricted trading in it and 49 other stocks at the height of the frenzy. An equally weighted Bloomberg basket of those rose more than 5 per cent, the most since late January. AMC Entertainment Inc. rallied 18 per cent to push a three-day climb toward 59 per cent. Express Inc. surged 41 per cent, Naked Brand Group gained 31 per cent and Koss Corp. jumped 55 per cent.

The flurry of activity inflated trading volumes in the meme stocks and caused an outage on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, the hub of the January volatility. The tumult continued in late trading, where GameStop rallied another 120 per cent before paring the advance. At US$135, the stock is up more than 200 per cent from its close on Tuesday.

“It seems like the Reddit crowd is still active and when you see a bit of news like that they’re pressing again,” Keith Gangl, portfolio manager at Gradient Investments, said in a phone interview. “Though I’m not sure how that’ll last,” he added

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The sudden revival in left-for-dead stocks recalled the frenzy last month that captured the attention of Wall Street, regulators and eventually Congress, as members of Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum egged on retail hordes in an attempt to take on professional short sellers.

Various explanations circulated as to what spurred the rallies. The GameStop frenzy came after Bloomberg News reported late Tuesday that the company’s chief financial officer Jim Bell was pushed out in a disagreement over strategy to make way for an executive more in line with the vision of activist investor and board member Ryan Cohen, the co-founder of online pet-food retailer Chewy.com. His addition to the board in early January underpinned the first flurry of moves in the stock after capturing the attention of WallStreetBets.

The clearinghouse whose demands for increased margin collateral from Robinhood forced the brokerage to restrict trading last month published a white paper Wednesday that laid the grounds for speeding up the stock settlement process. It proposed cutting settlement to one day from two, prompting some chest puffing among the retail crowd on Reddit.

The now infamous WallStreetBets forum, which boasts 9.2 million members, saw so much demand that the site would not load. When attempted, a page read “www.reddit.com is currently unable to handle this request” as of 4:43 p.m. in New York.

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–With assistance from Kamaron Leach.

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