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Select Rexall, Costco locations among pharmacies to administer AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Loblaws and Costco are among the pharmacy chains participating in the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in three regions of Ontario this week, Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday.

As part of a new pilot program, 325 pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments to Ontarians born between between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1961. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Ford said some of those pharmacies had already started administering vaccines as of this morning.

Both big chains and smaller independent pharmacies have been included in the pilot, the premier said.

For a full list of participating pharmacies follow this link

Although people between the ages of 60 and 64 are not being prioritized during Phase One of province’s vaccination program, the AstraZeneca doses are being made available to people in that age group based on the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

The committee said the AstraZeneca vaccine is not recommended for people ages 65 and older due to “limited information on the efficacy of this vaccine in this age group.”

The 194,000 AstraZeneca doses that Ontario has now received are set to expire on April 2 and the pilot program will help ensure vaccine doses are delivered as “quickly and efficiently” as possible, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said this week.

Vaccines will go to doctors’ offices in other regions

This weekend, AstraZeneca doses will also be delivered to primary care settings, including physician offices, in Hamilton, Peel Region, Simcoe-Muskoka, Peterborough, Guelph, and Toronto, Ford said.

Primary care providers in those areas will not be taking appointments by request but will be reaching out to eligible patients.

Retired Gen. Rick Hiller, who is leading Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, acknowledged Wednesday that the first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine doses won’t come anywhere close to vaccinating everyone in that age group across the province.

“Our first allocation of AstraZeneca is 194,000. In that age group of 60 to 64 across Ontario there are one million people so clearly we don’t nearly have enough vaccines to do all of that age group in this first batch,” he said at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are not sure of the next arrivals of AstraZeneca but you can be sure as soon as we get them, as soon as we know, we will publicize that and we will move it to our logistics pipeline and get it to pharmacies and family doctors and carry on along that same age group until we have finished all of those who are eligible and who want to have the vaccine.”

The province is currently in Phase One of its vaccination program, which prioritizes health-care workers at the highest risk of infection and people over the age of 80 for a shot.

To date, Ontario has administered just 943,533 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine but the Ontario government has said it hopes to inoculate another one million people in the month of March.

During Phase Two of its vaccine program, which is set to run from April to July, the province has said it plans to offer doses to nine million more Ontarians.

The Ontario government plans to ramp up inoculations next week when it launches its online appointment booking portal on Monday. Officials say more than 120 mass immunization clinics are scheduled to open this month and many areas, including the regions of Peel and York, have already opened mass vaccination sites to begin inoculating people over the age of 80.

Toronto plans to open its first three mass immunizations clinics on March 17.

Speaking to CP24 on Wednesday morning, Mayor John Tory called the province’s pharmacy rollout “a great step forward.”

“I think people should understand that as supply has increased, the different kinds of places we are going to be able to administer the vaccine have been increasing as well,” he said.

A group of hospitals in Toronto have launched their own booking portal and have already begun inoculating people over the age of 80.

Vaccines are currently only available at select pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and Kingston but the premier said Wednesday that as more supply become available, additional pharmacies will come online and begin to offer COVID-19 vaccines to the general public.

Ford said while not all of the province’s 4,900 pharmacies will be involved in the vaccine rollout, “the vast majority will.”

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3 Ways to Incorporate CBD Into Your Spring Wellness Plan



Canada’s cannabis market has grown significantly since it first became legal in 2018 — when the federal government legalized the plant for recreational use. Since that time, the market has developed into a variety of avenues. From edibles to beverages and beyond, the number of legal products available continues to grow.

As spring weather takes over from the cold winter months, there is an opportunity for novice and experienced CBD users to incorporate this newly legal plant into their diets and wellness routines. Let’s take a look at three popular ways to incorporate CBD into your spring diet.

1.   Food & Drink

The food and beverages we consume have a significant impact on our overall health and wellness. The incorporation of edibles is one of the fastest-growing avenues of legal CBD production in Canada. Consumers are gravitating towards the discretionary and efficiency functions of edibles.

As more licenced businesses begin to set up shop across the country, the variety of products available shows genuine promise — whether it’s with gummies or a sweet chamomile herbal tea, this is where Canada’s entrepreneurs are shining.

The CBD properties in edibles are becoming a go-to for many consumers looking to regulate their appetites, improve muscle function, and treat mood irregularities. Incorporating CBD into your spring diet may be a gradual process, particularly if you’re new to the experience. The easiest way to experiment is with the smallest dosage recommended and gauge your body’s reaction — as time goes on, you may be able to incorporate a higher dosage into your food or drink.

2.   Improving Sleep

Developing a healthy sleep pattern is a crucial part of your mental and physical health. The conversation around CBD and improved sleep is ongoing, though it shows promise. Since CBD is a non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, it could offer therapeutic benefits without the attached high that comes with the same plant’s THC compounds.

Oils are one of the most popular ways to incorporate CBD into a sleeping ritual — consumers can choose to add the oil directly to their skin or add a few droplets to their diffusers while they sleep. The way the CBD compound reacts to the body’s serotonin receptors and the brain’s receptors is continuously studied. Consumers can use the available research and reports to decide whether adding CBD to their nighttime routine is the right choice for their lifestyle.

3.   Fitness Routine

Incorporating CBD has been a growing fundamental practice for anyone looking to improve their physical fitness. We know CBD is one of the many chemical compounds found in cannabinoids. Still, Cannabinoids actually exist in our bodies via our endocannabinoid system — which is known to regulate various functions in our body from appetite and mood to sleep and memory.

For those looking to add a therapeutic remedy to their active lifestyle, topical CBD products could be the answer. Massage oil or body cream has the potential to improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and aid in the recovery of soft tissue injuries.

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Rogers Communications revenue boosted by cable power



(Reuters) -Canadian telecoms operator Rogers Communications Inc trumped first-quarter revenue estimates on Wednesday, buoyed by strong demand in its cable unit that provides internet and cloud-based services.

Total revenue rose 2% to C$3.49 billion ($2.77 billion) in the quarter, compared with analysts’ average estimate of C$3.35 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Telecom providers have benefited from a surge in demand for high-speed internet from the COVID-19 pandemic caused shift to remote working and entertainment.

Revenue from the media segment, which includes television, radio broadcasting and digital media, rose 7% to C$440 million, boosted by the return of live professional sports broadcasting.

Cable service revenue increased 5% during the quarter.

Rogers, which is looking to expand its 5G infrastructure, said in March it was buying Canadian telecom services provider Shaw Communications Inc for about C$20 billion ($16.02 billion).

However, the company’s wireless service reported a 6% drop in revenue, hit by lower roaming revenue from fresh pandemic-induced travel curbs.

Net income rose to C$361 million, or 70 Canadian cents per share, from C$352 million, or 68 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 77 Canadian cents per share, while analysts had expected 66 Canadian cents.

U.S.-listed shares of Rogers, which did not provide second-quarter forecast due to pandemic-led uncertainty, rose nearly 1% in low pre-market trading volumes.

($1 = 1.2596 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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Canadian National challenges Canadian Pacific with $33.7 billion Kansas City bid



By Shreyasee Raj

(Reuters) -Canadian National said on Tuesday it had offered to buy Kansas City Southern railroad for about $33.7 billion, and shares of U.S. company soared as investors anticipated a potential bidding war with Canadian Pacific.

Canadian Pacific had agreed a deal to acquire Kansas City Southern for about $25 billion last month. Either combination would create a North American railway spanning the United States, Mexico and Canada as supply chains recover from being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The acquisition interest in Kansas City Southern also follows the ratification of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement last year, that removed the threat of trade tensions which had escalated under former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kansas City said it would evaluate Canadian National’s offer. If it found it could lead to a better deal, Canadian Pacific will be given the opportunity to raise its bid.

Canadian National’s cash-and-stock offer, worth $325 per share, is at a 26.8% premium to Kansas City Southern’s offer as of Monday’s trading close.

“We are surprised by this move given the healthy valuation Canadian Pacific had already offered to Kansas City Southern shareholders,” Stephens analyst Justin Long wrote in a note to clients.

Kansas City Southern shares rose 15.8% to $297.12, indicating most investors deemed it unlikely the company would stick with Canadian Pacific’s offer.

One investor that took a different view is Chilton Investment Co, which has a less than 1% stake in Kansas City Southern. Citing regulatory hurdles, it said it preferred a deal with Canadian Pacific.

“There’s more overlap with Canadian National deal which makes it harder to get (regulatory) approval. The Surface Transportation Board (STB) doesn’t like overlap,” Chilton CEO Richard Chilton said.

Canadian National CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest said his network and that of Kansas City Southern are “highly complementary networks with limited overlap.” They only run parallel for 65 miles, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Kansas City Southern has domestic and international rail operations in North America, focused on the north-south freight corridor connecting commercial and industrial markets in the central United States with industrial cities in Mexico. Calgary-based Canadian Pacific is Canada’s No. 2 railroad operator, behind Canadian National.

The STB updated its merger regulations in 2001 to introduce a requirement that Class I railways have to show a deal is in the public interest. Yet it provided an exemption to Kansas City Southern given its small size, potentially limiting the scrutiny that its acquisition will be subjected to.

Canadian Pacific agreed in its negotiations with Kansas City Southern to bear most of the risk of the deal not going through. It will buy Kansas City Southern shares and place them in an independent voting trust, insulating the acquisition target from its control until the STBLatest clears the deal. Were the STB to reject the combination, Canadian Pacific would have to sell the shares of Kansas City Southern, but the current Kansas City Southern shareholders would keep their proceeds.

Canadian National said it was willing to match these terms. It said its offer does not require approval from its own shareholders because of how much cash it has, eliminating a condition in Canadian Pacific’s offer.

Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment, which is Canadian National’s biggest investor with a 14.25% stake, said it fully supports the combination.

A private equity consortium led by Blackstone Group Inc and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) made an unsuccessful offer last year to acquire Kansas City Southern. But it was Canadian Pacific’s announcement of a deal with Kansas City Southern that spurred Canadian National into action, as it raised the prospect of losing out to its rival, according to people familiar with the matter.

(Reporting by Shreyasee Raj and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Anil D’Silva and David Gregorio)

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