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Should provinces reserve COVID-19 vaccine 2nd doses or administer them all right away? – Global News



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.

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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.

Click to play video 'The year that changed everything'

The year that changed everything

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.

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That’s because of its less stringent transport requirements than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a shot that has to be transported at -70 C.

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

Click to play video 'Health Canada approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine'

Health Canada approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

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.

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Click to play video 'Coronavirus: First shipment of Moderna’s vaccine arrives in Canada'

Coronavirus: First shipment of Moderna’s vaccine arrives in Canada

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.

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Central Health reveals more details over vaccine hiccup, as N.L. reports no new cases of COVID-19 –



Central Health is revealing more information about a problem with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which forced the health authority to hastily organize an immunization clinic to prevent it from losing some doses.

After repeated requests from CBC, the health authority provided more details by email Tuesday afternoon.

The statement said a shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine “went to a temperature that did not permit longer storage” on its way to Grand Falls-Windsor on Jan. 7, and had to be administered within six hours. 

The health authority said that batch made up only a “small portion” of its supply: 160 doses that were allotted for a clinic the next day.

The temperature monitor for the shipment went outside the recommended 2 to 8 C, meaning they could not be refrozen. According to the statement, the health authority “engaged provincial consultants who confirmed the vaccine was safe to use but had to be administered in the required time frame.”

The health authority says it suspects there may have been an issue with the placement of the monitor that was measuring the temperature of the vaccine. It said the doses fell out of the recommended temperature range, but none of them were wasted.

“We quickly organized an impromptu clinic with priority health-care workers, along with a small number of additional employees who were available to attend at such a short notice,” the statement said.

“The 160 doses were safely administered with no wastage. Many of those who were immunized already had appointments booked for Friday onward.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be kept at extremely low temperatures to remain viable. (Andrew Furey/Twitter)

Central Health refused two requests to do an interview with CBC, and wouldn’t provide more information on the incident until Tuesday afternoon, such as what the exact problem was, what type of vaccine was involved, and how many people ended up vaccinated.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the health authority said someone would speak about the issue to CBC’s Newfoundland Morning on Thursday. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be stored at ultra-low temperatures to be viable, between –60 C and –80 C. The Moderna vaccine is more stable, but must still be stored at around –20 C. The provincial government has said that due to Moderna’s stability, those doses were earmarked for remote communities in Labrador.

Also on Tuesday afternoon, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the person in charge of national vaccine distribution, said Canada would not receive any doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week, as the company upgrades its European plant. Fortin said that delay will have “considerable impact.”

It’s not clear yet on how the drop in shipments will affect Newfoundland and Labrador.

No new cases Tuesday

The province has five active cases of COVID-19, with one person in hospital, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

No new cases were reported Tuesday, and one person in the Eastern Health region has recovered since Monday, with a total of 384 people recovering since March.

As of Tuesday, 76,740 people have been tested, and as of last Wednesday, 5,291 vaccine doses had been administered. The Department of Health has said vaccination data will be released weekly.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Ottawa sees lowest daily COVID-19 case count in three weeks – CTV Edmonton



Ottawa Public Health is reporting 56 more people in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19, the lowest daily figure in three weeks.

However, two more residents of Ottawa have died of COVID-19.

It comes amid a drop of cases provincewide, with fewer than 2,000 new cases reported across Ontario, due in part to a technical issue in Toronto.

“Due to a technical issue, Toronto Public Health could not report an undetermined number of new cases today, resulting in an underestimation of the daily counts,” Public Health Ontario said.

Figures from OPH and the province often differ due to different data collection times. The province reported 41 new cases in the city.

According to Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been 12,427 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 407 deaths.

There are early signs of some improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the city, with the number of known active cases falling for the third day in a row, and some weekly trends also on the decline. The number of cases in the past seven days per 100,000 residents has been slowly falling, and the estimated reproduction rate in the last week is below 1, suggesting viral spread is slowing down.

The COVID-19 wastewater monitoring is also showing signs of a decline after a peak in early January. 

However, there are still more than 30 COVID-19 outbreaks in congregate care settings such as long-term care homes and retirement homes and new outbreaks are still being regularly declared.


A province-wide lockdown went into effect on Dec. 26, 2020. Ottawa Public Health moved Ottawa into its red zone in early January.

A provincial stay-at-home order has been in effect since Jan. 14, 2021.

Ottawa Public Health data:

  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 81.9 cases
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 4.0 per cent (Jan. 11 – Jan. 17)
  • Reproduction number: 0.96 (seven day average)

Reproduction values greater than 1 indicate the virus is spreading and each case infects more than one contact. If it is less than 1, it means spread is slowing. 


As of Jan. 18, 2021:

  • Doses administered in Ottawa (first and second doses): 21,938 
  • Doses received in Ottawa: 22,245

As of Jan. 19, 2021:

  • Doses administered in Ontario: 224,134 
  • Vaccinations completed in Ontario: 25,609
  • Doses received in Ontario: 277,050 (Jan. 14, 2021)


The number of people with known active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa is below 1,200 for the first time in a week.

OPH reported 1,137 active cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, down from 1,232, driven largely by a jump in resolved cases.

The number of resolved cases rose by 149 on Tuesday to 10,883. 

The number of active cases is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.


There are 39 people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19 complications and eight people are in the ICU.

Of the people in hospital, one is between the ages of 10 and 19 (this person is in the ICU), one is in their 30s (this person is in the ICU), six are in their 50s (one is in the ICU), eight are in their 60s (two are in the ICU), seven are in their 70s (three are in the ICU), nine are in their 80s, and seven are 90 or older.


Ontario health officials say 34,531 COVID-19 tests were performed on Monday across Ontario and 36,750 tests remain under investigation.

The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce says 1,717 swabs were taken at assessment centres on Monday and local labs performed 2,640 tests. There are 2,368 COVID-19 tests in progress as of Jan. 19.

The positivity rate for the week of Jan. 11 to 17 was 4.0%

The Average turnaround from the time the swab is taken at a testing site to the result was 23 hours.


Here is a breakdown of all known COVID-19 cases in Ottawa by age category:

  • 0-9 years old: 7 new cases (888 total cases)
  • 10-19 years-old: 8 new cases (1,572 total cases)
  • 20-29 years-old: 15 new cases (2,638 total cases)
  • 30-39 years-old: 10 new cases (1,716 total cases)
  • 40-49 years-old: 10 new cases (1,627 total cases)
  • 50-59 years-old: 3 new cases (1,469 total cases)
  • 60-69-years-old: 2 new cases (897 total cases)
  • 70-79 years-old: 0 new cases (562 total cases)
  • 80-89 years-old: 1 new case (632 total cases)
  • 90+ years old: 0 new cases (423 total cases)
  • Unknown: 0 new cases (3 cases total)


  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit: 14 new cases
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health: 3 new cases
  • Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health: 3 new cases
  • Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit: 0 new cases
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit: 2 new cases
  • Outaouais region: 20 new cases


Ottawa Public Health is reporting COVID-19 outbreaks at 38 institutions in Ottawa, including long-term care homes, retirement homes, daycares, hospitals and schools.

Five new outbreaks were declared on Tuesday at an Andrew Fleck Children’s Services daycare, the Montfort Long-term Care Centre home, the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, the Peter D. Clark long-term care home, and a supported independent living home.

The outbreak at the Duke of Devonshire retirement home has ended.

There are six active community outbreaks. An outbreak at a multi-unit dwelling has ended.

Three are linked to health workplaces, one is linked to an office workplace, one is linked to a distribution centre, and one is linked to a services workplace

The schools and childcare spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Andrew Fleck Children’s Services – Home Child Care – 29101 (NEW)
  2. Greenboro Children’s Centre
  3. Montessori by Brightpath
  4. Ruddy Family Y Child Care
  5. Services à l’enfance Grandir Ensemble – La Maisonée – 28627

The long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and other spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Alta Vista Manor
  2. Besserer Place
  3. Centre D’Accueil Champlain
  4. Colonel By Retirement Home
  5. Extendicare Laurier Manor
  6. Extendicare Medex
  7. Extendicare New Orchard Lodge
  8. Extendicare West End Villa
  9. Garry J. Armstrong long-term care home
  10. Grace Manor Long-term Care Home
  11. Granite Ridge long-term care home
  12. Group Home – 28608
  13. Group Home – 28740
  14. Group Home – 28848
  15. Group Home – 29045
  16. Group Home – 29049
  17. Group Home – 29052
  18. Hillel Lodge
  19. Madonna Care Community
  20. Montfort Long-term Care Centre (NEW)
  21. Oakpark Retirement Community
  22. Park Place 
  23. Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre (NEW)
  24. Peter D. Clark long-term care home (NEW)
  25. Redwoods Retirement Residence
  26. Shelter – 28365
  27. Sisters of Charity Couvent Mont Saint-Joseph
  28. St. Patrick’s Home
  29. Supported Independent Living – 28110
  30. Supported Independent Living – 29100 (NEW)
  31. Valley Stream Retirement Residence
  32. Villa Marconi
  33. Villagia in the Glebe Retirement Residence

A single laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member of a long-term care home, retirement home or shelter triggers an outbreak response, according to Ottawa Public Health. In childcare settings, a single confirmed, symptomatic case in a staff member, home daycare provider, or child triggers an outbreak.

Under provincial guidelines, a COVID-19 outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before or after school care).  

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PM warns Canada could impose new COVID-19 travel restrictions without notice – CTV News



Citing the evolving situation with the identified COVID-19 variants from other countries, the prime minister is strongly urging Canadians not to travel because federal travel rules could change very quickly.

In French, the prime minister implored anyone who has booked trips to cancel them, saying a vacation is not worth it given the uncertainty and chance of either contracting the virus or ending up stranded abroad.

He said the federal government is closely following the latest science on more transmissible strains, such as those from the U.K. and Brazil, and officials could impose new restrictions without advance notice at any time.

The government continues to advise against any non-essential travel, though that decision is left up to Canadians and no outright ban is in place. 

Canadian airlines and travel companies continue to offer vacation packages and flight deals to warmer destinations, with flights departing from Canada daily. 

Acknowledging that people have the right to travel, Trudeau said the government also has the ability to impose penalties for those endangering others’ health. 

Canada has had restrictions on international travellers entering the country since mid-March 2020, as well as a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone who returns from an international location. 

In December, while some Canadians opted to vacation abroad, the federal government imposed new travel rules, including the requirement to show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a flight coming back into this country. As well, for a short period of time flights from the U.K. were banned with little notice, but have since resumed. 

Violating any of Canada’s international travel screening and self-isolation requirements can result in charges under the Quarantine Act, with maximum penalties of up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $75,000.

According to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, in Canada there have been 23 confirmed cases of the variant first reported in the U.K., and two cases of the South African strain. Further, the Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting nearly 200 recent international flights that have landed in Canada with at least one COVID-19 positive passenger aboard. 

“Every vacation travel we postpone for a better time in the future, every outing or activity we avoid, shorten, or limit to essentials… helps to reduce spread of the virus,” Tam said Tuesday.  

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