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Provinces to boost vaccination efforts as Pfizer deliveries expected to ramp up – Canada News – Castanet.net

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The Ontario government said Monday it is developing a web portal for booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments, a sign of provinces preparing to ramp up vaccination efforts as manufacturer Pfizer-BioNTech increases deliveries.

In Quebec, Health Minister Christian Dube tweeted Monday the province expects more than 90,000 Pfizer vaccines this week, which will allow it to “increase the rhythm” of vaccination, particularly in private seniors homes.

The federal government said that after a month-long slowdown as Pfizer expanded its plant in Belgium, it expects to receive weekly shipments of more than 400,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine beginning this week and lasting at least until early April.

That number represents a significant jump in shipments to Canada, which has received a total of about 928,200 Pfizer doses since December.

The new schedule, published on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website, specifies that the numbers are based on the understanding that there are six shots per vial, rather than five as originally calculated.

Ontario’s proposed online booking system will be part of the province’s expanded vaccine rollout, which on Sunday was updated to identify adults aged 80 and older, seniors in congregate care and Indigenous adults among those next in line for a shot.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says a more predictable delivery schedule will make it easier for provinces to plan.

The University of Toronto expert, who sits on the province’s vaccine task force, said in an interview that while the shipment delays have given the provinces time to fine-tune their plans, it remains to be seen whether they will carry them out smoothly, especially when it comes to the more complex operation of vaccinating the general population.

“It all looks really, really good on paper, but it’s another thing to actually operationalize this,” he said.

The community phase of the rollout will include figuring out how to prioritize various groups, including different age cohorts, racialized and low-income communities, essential workers and those with underlying health conditions, he said.

The federal government on Monday updated its guidance to the provinces to specify that adults from racialized communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic should be given priority for shots in the second stage of the vaccination campaign, which comes after staff and residents of long-term care homes, adults aged 70 and older, front-line health workers and adults in Indigenous communities have received their shots.

The advice would also see all essential workers who can’t work from home moved into the second stage, instead of focusing on health workers with lower-risk jobs.

The new vaccine deliveries will be welcomed by provinces and territories, which have administered the vast majority of the vaccines received to date. They will also likely ease some of the pressure on the federal Liberal government, which has been accused of mismanaging what amounts to the largest mass-vaccination effort in Canadian history.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week acknowledged the struggle with deliveries, but said things will get better in the weeks ahead, and even better in April, when Canada is expecting as many as one million doses a week.

“We’re approaching something we’re calling the big lift,” he said Thursday in a virtual roundtable with nurses and doctors from around Canada.

The head of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer assured Trudeau on Monday that Canada could also expect to receive AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from India “in less than a month,” pending their approval by Health Canada.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, delivered the news on Twitter after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised Trudeau last week that India would “do its best” to get COVID-19 vaccines to Canada.

Health Canada is in the final stages of approving the AstraZeneca vaccine. It also received an application Jan. 23 to review the production process at the Serum Institute of India, ahead of the possibility Canada will get its doses from there.

Yet the problems aren’t entirely over. Moderna — the other company whose vaccine has been approved for use in Canada so far — has confirmed its next shipment on Feb. 22 will be only 168,000 doses, two-thirds of what had been promised.

Moderna, which delivers once every three weeks, shipped 180,000 doses last week — 80 per cent of the promised amount.

In addition, Pfizer’s deliveries will only meet the promised number of doses if medical professionals can adjust to extracting six doses from every vial.

Getting that sixth dose requires the use of a low dead-volume syringe, which traps less vaccine in the needle and syringe after an injection. Canada has now ordered 72 million of those syringes, and two million were delivered last week.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander overseeing Canada’s vaccine distribution, has said those were being shipped to the provinces to be ready for Monday, though no provinces reported receiving any as of Thursday.

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Key COVID-19 numbers in the Ottawa area today – CBC.ca

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  • Ottawa is reporting 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
  • Another 25 cases recorded in western Quebec.

Today’s Ottawa update

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday but zero deaths. 

Another 39 cases have been classified as resolved.

Ottawa and communities under the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are now in the orange alert level, with slightly more restrictive rules than the rest of eastern Ontario, which is green.

Ottawa’s medical officer of health is backing up what some key numbers and experts have suggested: that the capital is close to moving to the red zone if the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t slow.

Numbers to watch

33.8: The weekly incidence rate, a rolling seven-day total of new COVID-19 cases expressed per 100,000 residents. The red zone threshold is 40.

.98: The number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). Health officials consider the spread under control if it’s below one.

34: The number of outbreaks in Ottawa.

504: The number of known active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa. One month ago there were more than 1,200.

Across the region

In western Quebec, another 25 cases were reported on Sunday but no new deaths. 

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LILLEY: Trudeau makes Canada 'vaccine pirate,' stealing from poor nations – Toronto Sun

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Canada is being described as a “vaccine pirate” after the latest announcement of COVID vaccine approvals showed we will be getting our doses from a facility funded to provide vaccines for the developing world.

On Friday, Health Canada announced that they had approved two related but distinct products, the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in collaboration with Oxford University and COVISHIELD, a version of the AstraZeneca recipe manufactured by Serum Institute of India.

The problem is that Canada will be getting its doses, starting as early as Wednesday, from the Serum Institute, an organization funded to produce vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries.

Like the announcement that the Trudeau government will take 1.9 million doses from COVAX, this makes it look like Canada is taking vaccines meant for poorer countries.

In a news release last June announcing the deal that would allow the SII to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine, the company specifically said it was “to supply 1 billion doses for low-and-middle-income countries” In September, a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allowed the program to expand by an extra 100 million doses.

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“This is vaccine manufacturing for the Global South, by the Global South, helping us to ensure no country is left behind when it comes to the race for a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO Gavi, the alliance to ensure poor countries have access to vaccines.

Now Canada has found its way to the front of that line.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand confirmed on Friday that of the 3.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccines that we will see delivered before the end of June, 2 million will come from the Serum Institute and 1.9 million from COVAX.

The move has led one former Canadian health bureaucrat who now works internationally to accuse the Trudeau government of turning Canada into a “global vaccine pirate.” It’s a view held by many people paying attention to the details of our latest vaccine announcement.

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Amir Attaran, a professor with the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa, accused the Trudeau government of poaching these doses from developing countries.

“How many people in other lands will this kill? ‘Sunny ways’ it isn’t,” Attaran said on Twitter.

Dr. Srinivas Murthy, an infectious disease specialist with the B.C. Children’s Hospital, said that Canada was taking doses away from LMICs or low and middle-income countries.

“This is much more anger-inducing than the COVAX conversation weeks ago. The Serum Institute of India was funded by CEPI and GAVI to produce vaccines for LMICs. Canada, because of diplomacy and money, is skipping that line and taking doses meant for LMICs,” Dr. Murthy said.

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When the Trudeau government announced at the beginning of February that we would be taking vaccines from COVAX, the move was blasted by a broad range of organizations including Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.

“Canada should not be taking the COVAX vaccine from poor nations to alleviate political pressures at home,” Oxfam said at the time.

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Yet, that is exactly what Trudeau was doing in early February and it is what he is doing now. Canadians are upset at seeing Americans, Brits, Italians, Serbians and Barbadians vaccinated much fast than we are, and they are rightly blaming the federal government.

Even the record 643,000 doses received across the country last week is less than the Americans use before lunch each day.

Justin Trudeau campaigned on improving Canada’s reputation on the world stage, now we are taking vaccines meant for developing countries. It is nothing short of a national embarrassment.

The Trudeau government owes Canadians an explanation on his latest moves; let’s hope he faces the tough questions he should later this week.

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Experts advise Canadians to take whatever COVID-19 vaccine is offered – CBC News: The National

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  1. Experts advise Canadians to take whatever COVID-19 vaccine is offered  CBC News: The National
  2. Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday  CBC.ca
  3. AstraZeneca approval opens door to some B.C. front-line workers getting earlier vaccine  Global News
  4. Europe must get its act together with Covid vaccine rollout  Telegraph.co.uk
  5. Keep up COVID-19 protocols as vaccines roll out, experts say  CBC News: The National
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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