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Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine: Here’s what experts are saying about the new data – Global News

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Pfizer released an early snapshot of its Phase 3 trials for its coronavirus vaccine on Monday, and said the results look promising with data suggesting it’s 90 per cent effective at preventing the virus.

The company and its collaborator BioNTech may now be on track to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators in late November, as previously stated.

Read more:
Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine may be 90% effective, early data suggests

However, the announcement does not mean a vaccine is fast approaching, experts warn.

“We aren’t doing terribly well in the fight against COVID-19. The numbers just keep rising in Canada and around the world,” said Kerry Bowman, a professor of bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto.

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“This is wonderful news to hear. … Psychologically we needed some good news. However, we have to be quite cautious, as the data is not complete and there are still some lingering questions.”

This is because Pfizer provided only a glimpse of the data and cautioned the initial protection rate might change by the time the study ends.


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What does the Phase 3 COVID-19 data say?

Monday’s interim analysis, from an independent data monitoring board, looked at 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the volunteers who had either received two doses of the vaccine or a placebo.

The Phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine, called “BNT162b2” began on July 27 and has enrolled 43,538 participants — 38,955 of whom have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of Nov. 8.

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“Approximately 42 per cent of global participants and 30 per cent of U.S. participants have racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds,” Pfizer said in its release.

READ MORE: Pfizer may ask for emergency approval of its OCIVD-19 vaccine in late November

According to the findings, the trial found that fewer than 10 per cent of infections were in participants who had been given the vaccine, a strong signal of efficacy. More than 90 per cent of the cases were in people who had been given a placebo.

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Pfizer said that the vaccine provided protection seven days after the second dose and 28 days after the initial dose of the vaccine.

The company also said that — so far — no participant has become severely ill.

What wasn’t revealed?

“There are still some questions hanging in the air,” Bowman said. “How long does the vaccine work for? We don’t know that, but let’s hope it’s at least one year.”

Bowman said there is also a chance that participants in the trial may have contracted the virus but aren’t showing symptoms.

According to Pfizer, participants were tested only if they developed symptoms, leaving unanswered whether vaccinated people could get infected but show no symptoms and unknowingly spread the virus.

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Infection control epidemiologist Colin Furness, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, said there is still a lot of data that needs to be reviewed. He said he would like to know what the experience was for participants who received the COVID-19 vaccine and still got the virus.

“I would like to know whether or not it was a mild case of coronavirus,” he said. “All of this data should be released, such as the demographics, who got sick, and obviously what the side effects of the vaccine are. Pfizer needs to be very transparent about this.”

The data has yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal. Pfizer said it would do so once it has results from the entire trial.

‘Cautiously optimistic’

Although the data is promising, Bowman said it’s best that everyone remains “cautiously optimistic” as there are still a lot of unknowns.

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“We have to be quite cautious. We are looking at public relations from a pharmaceutical company whose primary goal is marketing and profit,” he said. “I am not saying I don’t believe it, but you have to realize that the full data has not been released. They are telling us what the data says, so experts still need to review it.”

But, he said, by the end of November, Pfizer could be publishing more of the results, and then “we will be able to review the larger picture.”

Read more:
A coronavirus vaccine is almost ready. But will you take it?

He also stressed the importance of not rushing a vaccine due to “hesitancy” surrounding inoculation.

Furness agreed.

Because “political interference” could lead to rushing a vaccine, Furness said, companies like Pfizer are aware that “public trust may be shaky.”

“So they have to counter that by being very transparent, let everyone know the data, release all the information,” he said. “Usually pharmaceutical companies want to protect their research. It’s the way of the business … but transparency is very important in this case.”

What comes next?

Pfizer said it doesn’t plan to stop its study until it records 164 infections among all the volunteers, a number that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed is enough to tell how well the vaccine is working. The agency has made clear that any vaccine must be at least 50 per cent effective.

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“The study also will evaluate the potential for the vaccine candidate to provide protection against COVID-19 in those who have had prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2, as well as vaccine prevention against severe COVID-19 disease,” the company’s statement said.

The company predicts that its “safety data” following the second and final dose of the vaccine, will be available by the third week of November.


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Canada inks new deal to secure potential vaccines – Aug 6, 2020

“Based on current projections we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021,” the company said (enough to vaccinate 650 million people as it is a double dose).

Canada has signed a deal with Pfizer in August to secure 20 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine in 2021.

Speaking at a media conference on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hopes to have the vaccine rollout in early 2021.

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Bowman said because coronavirus rates are skyrocketing in places like the U.S. and Canada, this means there is a silver lining — more people can volunteer for the trials. He remains optimistic that not only with Pfizer have positive results, but other companies, too.

READ MORE: Pfizer to include participants as young as 12 in COVID-19 vaccine trials

“This could be very good news, and other vaccines could start working too, so we may have a situation where there is a combination of vaccines or you can ‘take your pick,’” he said.

However, he stressed that despite Pfizer’s promising data, it does not mean that it’s over. It means we are on an “uphill trend,” he said.

“We are not going back to normal life yet. It’s going to take time and research — but boy, did we need this good news.”

— With files from the Associated Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The 5 Big Banks in Canada

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Banks in Canada

The Big Five Banks is a term used in Canada to describe the five largest banks: Royal Bank, The Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Bank of Nova Scotia, and TD Canada Trust.

Occasionally, the term “Big Six Banks” is used, with the sixth bank referring to the National Bank of Canada. As of March 2008, the Big Six Banks and Laurentian Bank of Canada are the largest banks in Canada. The Five Big Banks hold over $100 billion in assets, and they are all based in Toronto. World Atlas provides the following data on each of the Big Five Banks.

1. Royal Bank of Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest of the Big Five with respect to net revenue (C$12.431 billion in 2018) and capitalization (C$150.35 billion as of early 2020). The Royal Bank of Canada has over 16 million clients worldwide, over 74,000 full-time employees and over 1,300 branches. Founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the bank financed the lumber and timber industries. It was known as the Merchants Bank of Halifax. The Royal Bank of Canada gives 1% of its income to charity.

2. Toronto-Dominion Bank

The second-largest bank in Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank has the most assets, which are valued at C$1.4 trillion as of July 2019. This bank has over 22 million clients worldwide, 85,000 full-time employees and over 1,100 branches. The bank was the result of a merger of the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank in 1955.

3. Bank of Nova Scotia

The Bank of Nova Scotia, or Scotiabank, is the next largest bank in Canada with assets valued at C$998 billion as of late 2019, the revenue of C$28.8 billion in 2018 and capitalization of C$87.55 billion. The bank has over 23 million customers worldwide, 89,000 full-time employees and over 1,000 branches in Canada. This bank offers to trade on both the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges.

Also founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia—this one in 1832—the bank moved its headquarters to Toronto in 1900 to improve the transAtlantic trade industry.

4. Bank of Montreal

The Bank of Montreal is the fourth largest Canadian bank with C$852.2 billion worth of assets in late 2019, the revenue of C$22.8 billion and capitalization of C$64.81 billion as of early 2020. The bank has over 7 million clients in Canada and 939 branches. The bank has over 47,000 employees. It was founded in 1817 and is the oldest bank in Canada. Throughout crises such as World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the Bank has consistently met dividend payments.

5. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has C$597 billion in assets, the revenue of C$17.834 billion for 2018, and capitalization of C$48.01 billion. The bank has over 11 million clients worldwide, 1,100 branches in Canada and over 44,000 full-time employees worldwide. The bank was formed in 1961 when the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada merged.

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U.S. lawmakers press GM CEO on California emissions

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U.S. lawmakers press GM CEO on California emissions

General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra faced questions from U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday on a workers’ vote at a company plant in Mexico and the company’s support for emissions reductions.

Barra met with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other senior Democrats on Capitol Hill, and touted the company’s decision announced earlier in the day to boost spending on electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion through 2025.

“We’re committed to an all-EV future,” Barra said in brief comments to Reuters after the meeting. “We had a lot of conversations about a lot of things that we can do to enable EV adoption.”

Until November, GM backed the Trump administration’s effort to block California from setting tougher emissions standards than the federal government.

Pelosi had expressed disappointment with GM’s support for Republican President Donald Trump’s position on the emissions rules, a source briefed on the matter said, and she urged GM to work with California and the Biden administration to reach the strongest possible vehicle emissions standards.

The administration of Democratic President Joe Biden is set to unveil revised vehicle emissions rules in July.

GM said last week it backs emissions reductions outlined in a 2019 deal struck between California and other major automakers, but wants the federal government to endorse changes to speed the adoption of electric vehicles.

Barra also faced questions about a delayed worker vote at a GM plant in Silao, Mexico.

Mexico’s Labor Ministry scrapped an initial union-led vote in April, citing “serious irregularities,” and later ordered the GM union to hold a new ballot within 30 days of its May 11 statement. No vote has been scheduled

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in May asked Mexico to review potential labor abuses at the Silao plant under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Last month, U.S. Representatives Dan Kildee, Bill Pascrell and Earl Blumenauer, all Democrats, pressed GM to answer questions about potential abuses in Mexico.

“We want to see some real demonstration of embracing the labor standards in Mexico — more than compliance,” Kildee told Reuters after the meeting. “The situation in Silao — I raised that with Mary — that’s a problem.”

The Democrats urged GM to commit to providing workers with physical copies of the contract, publicly posting contracts and to meet other requirements.

Kildee offered additional steps GM could take to support workers and meet USMCA requirements, and the three lawmakers followed up with a written list of suggested actions, congressional aides said.

The suggestions “would be tangible demonstrations of GM’s commitment to lead on compliance with the new labor standards,” Kildee told Reuters.

Earlier Wednesday, some House lawmakers on a trade panel, including Kildee, had a virtual meeting with Mexico’s ambassador to the United States in which the GM labor issued was raised.

 

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Presenting Your Professional Experience: Numbers Are Your Friends

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B.C. has met its goal of hiring more than 1200 contact tracers

Numbers rule the business world—revenue, headcount, process time, value increase, number of clients, inventory count, profit margin, credit rating, customer satisfaction score. Numbers indicate and measure success or failure, whether a business activity is positive or negative to the bottom line. You’d be hard-pressed to find a business decision made without some factoring in of “the numbers,” be it stats, cost, the potential return on investment.

 

Hiring is a business decision.

 

To make a strong case for yourself (Envision your selling features.) throughout your resume use numbers, the language of business, to quantify your results and establish yourself as someone who can bring value to an employer. Using numbers shows you understand how companies operate and that they exist to make a profit. Most importantly, using results-achieved numbers displays your value.

 

Which job seeker displays better value?

 

Candidate 1: Duties included taking field measurements and maintaining records, setting up and tracking project using Microsoft Project.

 

Candidate 2: Spearheaded the Hazzard County water decontamination project, finishing $125,000 under budget due to a 25% decrease in staff allocation time.

 

Which job seeker gives a clearer picture of their responsibilities?

 

Candidate 1: Supervised team leaders.

 

Candidate 2: Supervised 3 team leaders, collectively responsible for 40 CSRs answering 1,750 – 2,500 calls daily.

 

Which job seeker shows their work ethic?

 

Candidate 1: Completed first editing pass on articles.

 

Candidate 2: Reviewed and evaluated 50 – 75 articles per week, deciding whether to reject the article, forward it to the editorial team, or send it back to the author with revision suggestions.

 

Information quantified means something. Information not quantified is just an opinion. Most resumes are just a list of opinions, thus quantifying your professional experience will set you apart from your competition.

 

TIP: Always use bullets, not paragraphs, to describe your professional experiences.

 

For each position you list on your resume, ask yourself:

 

  • Did I increase my employer’s revenue? How?
  • Did I save my employer money?
  • Did I save time?
  • Was my boss(es), colleagues, staff, customers, vendors, and leadership team members happier because of me?
  • How did I contribute to improving my employer’s business?

 

When answering these questions, quantify (percentage, range, monetary, frequency, before/after comparison, ratio). Creating a resume that WOWs requires filling it with quantified results-rich statements.

 

  • Reduced customer complaints by 47% by implementing a formal feedback system.
  • Improved product delivery time 22% after assigning clarified monthly job tasks to team members.
  • In 2020, grew revenue 33%, and improved gross margin by 22%, by standardizing business operating procedures.
  • Produced $1.75M in cost-savings after renegotiating the company’s supply and service contracts (14 vendors).
  • Built sales organization from the ground up, hiring and training 15 sales representatives within 6 months.
  • In 2019, generated over $7.25M in additional revenue by identifying, pursuing, and securing 4 new international contracts.

 

As I mentioned a few columns back, your resume must clearly and succinctly answer one question: How did you add or bring value to your employers? When it comes to answering this question, numbers are your friends.

 

Something to keep in mind: The king of numbers, the only metric in business that matters, the one that keeps a business alive and profitable, is revenue. As much as possible, throughout your resume and cover letter, demonstrate the results you’ve achieved that were added value to your employer’s financial success.

 

Don’t write on your resume what’s become a cliche, “result-oriented.” Don’t write it on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t say it during an interview. Show your results! “In 2017, I increased sales by 29% by creating upsell opportunities for my 8-member sales team to offer.”

 

Additional tips when bulleting your professional experience:

 

  • Employment dates need to be month/year. Only indicating years is a red flag you’re trying to cover up employment gaps.
  • Under 2 Lines. Your bullets shouldn’t be more than 2 lines.
  • The first 5 – 8 words are critical. When skimming a resume, the reader will likely read the first few words of a bullet then, unless their interest is piqued, move on to the next bullet. The first few words need to be captivating.

 

Next week I’ll cover presenting your education, skills, and certifications. These need to demonstrate your career path, not that you simply attended classes.

______________________________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

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