Administering most of Canada’s coronavirus vaccines now, as opposed to reserving half of them to be used later as second doses for the first recipients, could prevent a significant amount of new symptomatic COVID-19 infections, according to new data from researchers at the University of Toronto.
The results of the modelling, which were first reported by The Globe and Mail, come amid plans from provinces such as Ontario to keep half of their initial shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine in case future deliveries of the vaccine are delayed.
Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, presented her findings to Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table on Tuesday.
Based on her team’s study, Tuite told Global News that withholding fewer doses during early distribution of the vaccine — so that more people can be immunized as soon as possible — could prevent an additional 25 to 40 per cent of symptomatic COVID-19 infections, compared to a more conservative approach that would reserve half of each vaccine instalment for the second dose.
The cost of the more conservative approach would be “to delay receipt of first doses in many people who could gain substantial health benefits from earlier vaccination,” according to the paper, which is still under review.
Tuite’s and the other researchers’ findings also comes just a day after Health Canada approved Moderna’s COVID-19 shot, now the second available vaccine the country can use to immunize against the virus.
The year that changed everything
Moderna’s vaccine approval now puts pressure on whether provincial governments should hold back half of their vaccine shots due to it being easier to store and administer in nursing homes and rural areas.
That’s because of its less stringent transport requirements than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a shot that has to be transported at -70 C.
In order for both vaccines to reach their maximum efficacy, two shots have to be administered over a period of several weeks. Pfizer’s second dose would have to be administered 21 days after the first shot, while Moderna’s would come after 28 days.
According to infectious disease expert and epidemiologist Dr. David Fisman, Canada should be vaccinating with as much of the doses it has on hand as fast as possible.
“The basic idea is that we actually have more and more and more vaccine coming week on week on week, so it makes no sense right now — given the number of people who are dying and given how effective this vaccine is — that we would set vaccine aside for three weeks from now, because that’s going to result in a lot more people dying because they haven’t been vaccinated at all,” Fisman told Global News.
“And in fact, you see a lot of protection right around the time that that second dose is given, which tells us that that’s not from the second dose, right, because it takes time for an immune response to develop.”
Fisman said that we should still want to give people that second dose, but that we should administering as much of the vaccines as possible given the urgency of the pandemic.
Health Canada approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine
A statement from Ontario said that no formal recommendations to administer more of its doses as opposed to saving them have yet been made.
It also confirmed that they would continue giving second doses to patients after they were administered their first. Saskatchewan, B.C. and New Brunswick have all said they don’t plan to hold back doses.
Dr. Peter Jüni, the scientific director of the science advisory table, says that it “seems to be safe” to invest into vaccinating as many people as we can with the doses we have now. According to Jüni, two of the presentations came to the conclusion that frontloading the doses and not reserving them in installments as second doses would be a more “efficient” strategy in tackling the spread of COVID-19.
Coronavirus: First shipment of Moderna’s vaccine arrives in Canada
Newly-released recommendations from Canada’s National Advisory on Immunization (NACI) presented several ethical considerations on whether or not vaccines should be held back for a second dose or used on as many people as possible, with the committee’s report identifying factors like having an informed choice and minimizing the risk of harm versus the benefits of holding back or administering all their vaccines.
Canada’s first shipments of the Moderna vaccine, which arrived Thursday, is set to be widely distributed to Canada’s nursing homes — which house seniors at highest risk of a severe outcome from being infected — as well as to the territories.
The country is set to receive 168,000 doses by the end of December.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Pakistan deeply appreciates US announcing it will send 3 million Moderna doses through COVAX: FO – Geo News
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Friday Jul 23, 2021
The government on Friday said it “deeply appreciates” the United States’ announcement that it is sending three million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through the United Nations’ COVAX vaccine-sharing programme.
“The government and the people of Pakistan deeply appreciate the announcement by the White House to ship three million doses of Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through COVAX,” read a statement by the Foreign Office.
Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, added: “These vaccines will give a boost to the ongoing vaccination drive in Pakistan.”
“This considerate gesture is part of the continued assistance that the US has provided to Pakistan to support our COVID relief and prevention efforts,” he said.
“We look forward to our continued cooperation with the US in our fight against the pandemic,” the statement added.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki had announced last month that the Biden administration is donating 80 million surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world by the end of June.
“Thanks to the President’s commitment to playing a leading role in ending the pandemic everywhere, 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will begin to ship to Peru from the United States, and 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will ship to Pakistan,” Psaki said.
The shipment of 2.5 million doses landed in Pakistan on July 2, making it the first time the Moderna vaccine had arrived in the country.
Subsequently, the government had announced the availability of the Moderna vaccine at select vaccination centres across the country, starting July 5.
Criteria to qualify for the Moderna vaccine
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has outlined the criteria that must be met by the recipient of the Moderna vaccine.
The vaccine will be administered to the following categories, provided they are 18 years of age or older and have NOT received any other currently available COVID-19 vaccines.
A. Those with comorbid conditions, e.g diabetes, hypertension, congestive cardiac failure, renal failure, chronic liver disease, malignancy, etc.
– Those who are chronically immunosuppressed
1. Post organ transplantation, the patient may receive the vaccine 3 months after
2. Post chemotherapy, the patient may receive the vaccine 28 days after chemotherapy.
B. Individuals with a mandatory requirement of vaccination for travel
– Overseas workers who have a mandatory need for travel for employment overseas with valid work visas/iqama in a country where Chinese vaccines are not accepted at present
– Those travelling for official or business purposes
Women who are pregnant and lactating, falling under the above-listed categories CAN receive the Moderna vaccine.
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Ontario reports slight increase in new COVID-19 cases, per cent positivity rate rises – CTV Toronto
Ontario is reporting a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as the province’s per cent positivity rate rises.
Officials are reporting 172 new cases of COVID-19 today with two additional deaths.
The province reported 170 new cases on Saturday and 192 on Friday.
The seven-day rolling average remains at 159, compared to 153 a week ago.
Provincial labs processed more than 13,902 test specimens, generating a positivity rate of at least 1.1 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.
The province’s virus-related death toll stands at 9,313.
Another 144 people recovered from the disease yesterday, resulting in 1,450 active cases across the province.
Right now, there are 88 people in hospital current infected with COVID-19 and 127 patients being treated in intensive care, according to the Ministry of Health.
The hospitalization data presented by the province has been skewed over the past several weeks, which may be explained by a delay in patient reporting.
Where are the new cases?
Officials are reporting 48 new cases in Toronto, 23 in Peel Region, 11 in Durham Region and 11 in Hamilton.
Update on COVID-19 variants of concern
The Ministry of Health is reporting 131 new cases of the Alpha variant Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 145,386.
Officials reported 16 new cases of Delta variant, B.1.617.2, Sunday and the case total is now 3,913.
Three cases of the Beta variant, B.1.351, were also recorded. So far, there have been a total of 1,492 cases of the Beta variant reported in Ontario.
As for the Gamma variant, P.1, two new cases were recorded today. The total number of Gamma variants recorded in Ontario is now 5,142.
The province said it administered 103,812 doses of COVID-19 vaccines Saturday.
Throughout Ontario’s seven-month vaccination campaign, over 18.9 million needles have gone into arms.
As of Sunday, 8,569,752 people have received both doses and are considered to be fully vaccinated.
The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.
Rio Tinto smelter workers go on strike in Kitimat, B.C. – Business News – Castanet.net
Approximately 900 Rio Tinto workers at the company’s aluminum smelting facilities in Kitimat, B.C. have gone on strike.
The walkout began today at one minute after midnight. Unifor Local 2301, which represents the workers, had issued a 72-hour strike notice after nearly seven weeks of negotiations.
Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President, says the strike comes down to what he calls “Rio Tinto’s greed and lack of respect” for the union members working at the Kitimat smelting facilities.
The union says it has proposed the first changes to workers’ retirement income and benefit levels in more than a decade, including moving younger workers to defined benefit from defined contribution pension plans.
It also says negotiations have focused on a backlog of more than 300 grievances resulting from the company’s use of contractors and its refusal to hire full-time workers.
Bargaining had continued up until the strike deadline, and the company had earlier said that it was “committed to working with the union to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.”
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