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Pfizer says we need a 3rd COVID-19 vaccine. But experts aren’t so sure – Global News



As vaccine coverage blankets the country, ushering in hope for a return to normal, Pfizer announced Thursday that it’s prepping a COVID-19 booster shot to make sure things keep trending in the right direction.

There’s just one problem, according to experts. We might not actually need it.

Read more:
Pfizer developing booster shot to combat COVID-19 Delta variant

Preventing severe outcomes is the key to quashing COVID-19’s impact on our daily lives, according to the experts. Lockdowns and restrictions come into play when hospitalizations start to push the health care system’s capacity to its outer limits.

But with vaccines proving highly effective at preventing severe outcomes, experts say any conversations about boosters are still premature.

“I don’t think there’s good clinical evidence,” said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist, on whether there’s data to back up Pfizer’s booster shot claims.

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Can Ontario evade a potential new wave of COVID-19 brought on by the Delta variant?

Can Ontario evade a potential new wave of COVID-19 brought on by the Delta variant?

Chagla added people “shouldn’t necessarily worry that these two shots are going to be useless in a few years.”

“These are the shots that are going to keep people out of hospital and health care from dying,” he said.

Chagla isn’t alone in his skepticism.

“The general feeling that it is not the right time for a third dose of the mRNA vaccines,” said John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

“We’re not saying it should never happen, but now is not the time.”

While there are few studies showing how long protection provided by COVID-19 vaccines lasts, the early research is promising.

Read more:
Study finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccine immunity lasts longer. Do we still need booster shots?

A study published in the journal Nature in late June found mRNA-based vaccines create a more “persistent” germinal centre B cell response, which means that a person’s immune response to the jab is stronger and longer-lasting.

The researchers examined participants four months after they received their first Pfizer dose and found that the germinal centres in their lymph nodes, likened to a boot camp for immune cells, kept pumping out said cells to protect against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Despite this research, Pfizer is maintaining that it is “likely” that a third dose “may be needed within 6 to 12 months after full vaccination,” according to the company’s Thursday press release.

“While protection against severe disease remained high across the full 6 months, a decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease over time and the continued emergence of variants are expected.”

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The United States’ FDA and CDC released a joint statement responding to Pfizer’s claims this week — and in it, they said there’s currently no evidence supporting a recommendation of a booster shot.

“Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. FDA, CDC, and NIH are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary,” the organizations wrote in the statement.

They said this process will look at laboratory data, clinical trial data and, potentially, data from specific pharmaceutical companies — but the research will “not rely on those data exclusively.”

“We continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed. We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed,” the statement read.

Health Canada struck a similar tone in their own statement about the issue, which they sent to Global News.

“Currently, people who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating,” read the statement.

Read more:
Israel reports drop in Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infection

But Health Canada is open to the possibility of booster shots if the evidence supports it, they said, adding that the longevity of the immune response to existing vaccines is “currently being studied.”

And while Pfizer’s vaccine efforts have been hugely helpful in quashing the spread of COVID-19, they’ve also proven to be extremely lucrative for the company.

In the first three months of 2021 alone, the COVID-19 vaccine raked in $3.5 billion USD ($4.3 billion CAD) in revenue for the pharmaceutical giant, according to their reported first quarter earnings.

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Some experts wonder if Pfizer’s arguments in favour of a booster shot could have a financial motivation.

“It’s being (said) that Pfizer is being somewhat opportunistic,” said Moore.

“Pushing the idea of vaccine boosters will, of course, greatly increase vaccine sales.”

Chagla added that these vaccines are some of “the most valuable assets on Earth right now” and that keeping them in the “limelight” likely “plays a role” in what’s happening here.

There may be a need for a booster eventually, Chagla added, but “there is something to be said about the fact that we’re talking about boosters for variants, without a global vaccine plan.”

The threat of vaccine inequality

As for Pfizer’s claims that the “continued emergence of variants are expected,” experts say there’s a much bigger threat when it comes to deadly mutations of the virus: the lack of vaccine coverage around the world.

It comes down to how variants emerge, according to Chagla.

Read more:
When is the pandemic over? Globally, it’s hard to say. In Canada — soon

As a virus spreads, it replicates. With each opportunity the virus has to replicate, it has more and more chances to make a mistake. Sometimes, those mistakes end up being advantageous for the virus — either allowing it to spread more easily, or potentially making the virus more severe.

The more COVID-19 spreads, the more opportunities it has to replicate and mutate. That means the biggest risk for the creation of variants is the large pockets of the world where uncontrolled spread is still occurring, Chagla explained.

“The big things that lead to variants are large unvaccinated populations, particularly ones where health systems are really poor and patients with immune conditions,” he said.

And while Canada’s current levels of vaccine coverage are sufficient to stave off the worst outcomes of the pandemic, Moore noted that many countries in the world aren’t so privileged.

“There is an ethical concern about prioritizing dose three for Americans over doses one and two for the rest of the world,” he said.

The WHO has warned that vaccine coverage in some parts of the world remains worryingly low.

“In some parts of the world, the vaccination rates, even at one dose, are one per cent, two per cent, three per cent, five per cent,” said Dr. Peter Singer, an advisor with the WHO, in a Wednesday interview with Global News.

“To be safe is for this fire to be put out everywhere in the world, because otherwise, if it’s burning anywhere, it’s going to be casting off embers that are going to ignite flames everywhere.”

Click to play video: 'Vaccine access ‘defining issue’ of COVID-19 in 2021, WHO advisor says'

Vaccine access ‘defining issue’ of COVID-19 in 2021, WHO advisor says

Vaccine access ‘defining issue’ of COVID-19 in 2021, WHO advisor says – Apr 25, 2021

Chagla said that as long as the world prioritizes new variant-focused vaccines over getting those first and second doses rolled out around the world, we’ll all be playing catch-up in preventing COVID-19’s spread.

“We can build vaccines to make ourselves more protected against the evolution of this virus,” Chagla said.

“But if we’re not addressing the root cause of the evolution of this virus, then we’re going to be left with chasing our tails over and over and over again.”

— with files from Global News’ David Lao and Mike Le Couteur

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Stock market news live updates: Stock turn lower following last week's rebound – Yahoo Canada



U.S. stocks closed a choppy session lower Monday, weighed down by losses in technology shares, after the major indexes failed to sustain momentum from last week’s rally.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 60 points, or 0.2% after each benchmark wavered between the red and the green throughout the trading day. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.9%.

The moves follow a sharp rebound Friday that saw the S&P 500 surge 3% during the session and over 6% for the week, its second-best week this year and its first weekly rise since late May. Still, the benchmark index is on pace for its worst opening six months since 1970.

During the previous session, the Dow rose more than 800 points, or 2.7%, while the Nasdaq increased by more than 3.3%, leading to weekly gains for the indexes of more than 5% and 7%, respectively.

Some Wall Street strategists are hopeful that markets may have found a bottom.

“As bad as [this year] has been for investors, the good news is previous years that were down at least 15% at the midway point to the year saw the final six months higher every single time, with an average return of nearly 24%,” LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick said in a note last week.

J.P. Morgan strategist Marko Kolanovic also predicted that U.S. equities may climb as much as 7% this week as investors rebalance portfolios amid the end of the month, second quarter, and first half of the year.

While sentiment on Wall Street appears optimistic, investors are in for a bevy of key economic reports and earnings that may sway markets this week and put hopes of a comeback to the test.

Quarterly results from Nike (NKE) and Micron (MU) will be closely watched for signs of rising inventories and slowing orders like Target and some other retailers have warned about recently, which may renew worries of an economic slowdown among Corporate America.

Traders also face a fairly loaded economic calendar this week, with the latest read on core PCE inflation – the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of consumer prices, the Conference Board’s consumer sentiment survey, and manufacturing and housing reports due out through Friday.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE in New York, the United States, June 16, 2022. U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as steep sell-off continued on Wall Street amid rising recession fears. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE in New York, the United States, June 16, 2022. U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as steep sell-off continued on Wall Street amid rising recession fears. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE in New York, the United States, June 16, 2022. U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as steep sell-off continued on Wall Street amid rising recession fears. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)

On the move

  • Robinhood Markets (HOOD)‘s stock surged 14% to close at $9.12 per share following a report from Bloomberg that cryptocurrency exchange FTX is considering a deal to acquire digital trading platform. Earlier in the day, Robinhood was in the spotlight after Goldman Sachs upgraded the brokerage to Neutral, about two months after the bank downgraded shares to Sell.

  • Coinbase (COIN) shares plunged nearly 10.8% to $55.96 after analysts at Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded the cryptocurrency exchange to Sell from Neutral and slashed their price target on the stock to $45 from $70. Goldman also noted that while Coinbase recently announced it would cut 18% of staff, these layoffs will not be enough to bring the company’s costs in line with lowered sales.

  • AMC Entertainment (AMC) rallied to cap trading up 13.6% despite a turbulent session for the broader markets. The stock rose amid increased mentions across forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets and Stocktwits. AMC was also added to the Russell 1000 Index after an annual rebalancing.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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Man uses Apple Airtags to find stolen Range Rover | CTV News – CTV News Toronto



An Ontario man whose car was stolen from his driveway in midtown Toronto twice in three months is revealing how he tracked and located his second vehicle.

“It’s pretty scary, but you can’t live your life in fear,” Lorne, whose surname CTV News Toronto has omitted due to safety concerns, said on Monday.

On April 1, his family moved to the Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue area.

The following day, employees from an electronics company arrived at his house to install televisions. He placed the keys of his Range Rover Autobiography into a faraday box, which is designed to prevent criminals from copying a key fob and gaining access to a vehicle.

However, within minutes of the employees leaving his house, his car was stolen in broad daylight.

“The thieves were able to disable the tracker in my car, put there by the manufacturer,” Lorne said.

Meanwhile, his wallet, along with his kids phones, which were in the car, were thrown out of the vehicle before it was stolen, which Lorne said he believes was a preventive measure to avoid him from tracking the location of his car.

His Range Rover was never recovered.

Thirty days later, he got a new car of the same model, but this time, he placed three Apple AirTag tracking devices inside – one in the glovebox, another in his spare tire in the trunk and a third under his back seat.

While Lorne said he typically parks in his garage, last Wednesday night, he didn’t.

At 8:30 a.m. the next morning, he said his kids ran into his bedroom screaming, ”Daddy, daddy, your car is gone.” 

Right away, he logged into his Find My app and located all three of his AirTags near Manville and Comsock roads in Scarborough, listed as a metal recycling plant. 

After dropping his kids at school, he headed to that location and called the police. With no success reaching an officer, he drove to the 41 Division police station.

Toronto police spokesperson David Hopkinson confirmed to CTV News Toronto that a report of this nature was received by police on Thursday.

“I pressed my panic button and you heard it going off,” Lorne said. “The next day I was told they recovered nine cars.”

Due to an ongoing investigation, police could not comment further on the incident.

This time, however, Lorne said police recovered his vehicle and he anticipates it should be back in his possession soon.

While he said his AirTags worked in this case, he anticipates car thefts will only get increasingly sophisticated.

“It’s not foolproof,” he said.

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Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas – Yahoo Canada Finance



NEW YORK (AP) — The company planning to buy Donald Trump’s new social media business has disclosed a federal grand jury investigation that it says could impede or even prevent its acquisition of the Truth Social app.

Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped almost 10% Monday as the company revealed that it has received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York.

The Justice Department subpoenas follow an ongoing probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether Digital World broke rules by having substantial talks about buying Trump’s company starting early last year before Digital World sold stock to the public for the first time in September, just weeks before its announcement that it would be buying Trump’s company.

Trump’s social media venture launched in February as he seeks a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech, a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The Trump Media & Technology Group — which operates the Truth Social app and was in the process of being acquired by Digital World — said in a statement that it will cooperate with “oversight that supports the SEC’s important mission of protecting retail investors.”

The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company. The company last year got promises from dozens of investors to pump $1 billion into the company, but it can’t get the cash until the Digital World acquisition is completed.

Stock in Digital World rocketed to more than $100 in October after its deal to buy Trump’s company was announced. The stock closed at $25.16 Monday.

Digital World is a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, part of an investing phenomenon that exploded in popularity over the past two years.

Such “blank-check” companies are empty corporate entities with no operations, only offering investors the promise they will buy a business in the future. As such they are allowed to sell stock to the public quickly without the usual regulatory disclosures and delays, but only if they haven’t already lined up possible acquisition targets.

Digital World said in a regulatory filing Monday that each member of its board of directors has been subpoenaed by the grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Both the grand jury and the SEC are also seeking a number of documents tied to the company and others including a sponsor, ARC Global Investments, and Miami-based venture capital firm Rocket One Capital.

Some of the sought documents involve “due diligence” regarding Trump Media and other potential acquisition targets, as well as communications with Digital World’s underwriter and financial adviser in its initial public offering, according to the SEC disclosure.

Digital World also Monday announced the resignation of one of its board members, Bruce Garelick, a chief strategy officer at Rocket One.

The Associated Press

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