Experts in Canada say that comments by the World Health Organization’s chief scientist on mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccine doses have been taken out of context and that doing so under public health guidelines is safe and effective.
The WHO’s Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said during an online briefing Monday that there is little data on mixing and matching vaccines and that it could be a “chaotic” situation if “citizens start deciding” when they should be taking “a second or a third or a fourth dose” and from which vaccine manufacturer.
“To be charitable here, I think this was a conversation that was taken out of context,” Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease doctor, told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
In some parts of the world, he said, people have taken it upon themselves to get multiple doses of various COVID-19 vaccines so they can travel.
“We’re seeing in other parts of the world, some people are getting a certain vaccine, say Sinopharm – not available in Canada — and then trying to get another two doses of vaccine to get double vaccinated or get a vaccine that will satisfy some sort of condition,” he said.
Some countries will not allow travellers to cross their borders without full vaccination via specific authorized vaccines. Others, including Canada, require travellers to quarantine for 14 days unless they’ve been fully immunized with one of the vaccines authorized for use in the country.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, the WHO said that Swaminathan’s remarks were targeted towards individuals.
“At our Global press conference on COVID 19, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan explained that individuals should not decide for themselves, public health agencies can, based on available data. Data from mix and match studies of different vaccines are awaited – immunogenicity and safety both need to be evaluated,” the statement said.
In Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and Public Health Agency of Canada have said mixing and matching doses is safe based on available evidence. In a June update to COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, NACI said that the mRNA vaccines can be used interchangeably if the original dose is not available, and that a second dose of mRNA vaccine is recommended for those who got AstraZeneca as a first dose.
“I agree that mixing and matching doses of vaccine is safe, we have evidence for this, we’ve been doing it, and it works so I think that that discussion was something that was not applicable to what’s happening in Canada,” Chakrabarti added.
Studies conducted in other countries have shown that mixing mRNA and AstraZeneca vaccines can promote a stronger immune response.
“We have some evidence out of Spain, in England, and also Germany showing that you can actually put these two vaccines together, and you see actually a boost in the amount of antibodies you get,” he said.
Canadian researchers are conducting their own study on mixing and matching vaccines. The study will investigate the impacts of the use of COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers in adult participants.
Dr. Joanne Langley, co-principal investigator of the MOSAIC study and infectious disease physician, told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Tuesday that the Canadian study is investigating antibody responses to mix-and-match vaccine schedules and will document how participants are feeling in the short-term and long-term.
Due to Canada’s quickening vaccine rollout, the researchers have run into issues getting enough participants for the study, particularly as it also aims to examine extended intervals of up to 70 days between doses.
“They think they can get it quicker through public health and that may not be the case,” Langley said. “There is an interval so you can get it as soon as 28 days from your first vaccine or as long as the 70 days, but if you’re already at two months from your first vaccine that means it’s only two weeks to get your next one.”
The study is done in conjunction with the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group, Canadian Immunization Research Network and Dalhousie University and it will investigate mixing and matching vaccines and extended dose intervals in 1,300 adults across Canada at Canadian Immunization Research Network clinical trial sites. These sites are located in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C.
And while Langley agrees that there is room for more data and evidence, there are currently at least 26 studies on mixing vaccines being conducted worldwide. She too thinks Swaminathan’s remarks were taken out of context.
“She was referring in particular to what some people are talking about doing: getting a third and a fourth dose, and that absolutely should only be done if it’s recommended by public health people,” she said. “In Canada you couldn’t do that. But in some countries, you could access the vaccine as an individual.”
COVID-19 vaccines aren’t the only ones we see mixed and matched with other brands. This happens with other vaccinations that Canadians need occasional boosters for.
“We also know from previous vaccines, outside of COVID, that this works,” Chakrabarti said. “For example, with pneumococcal vaccinations, this is something that’s safe.”
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, the Public Health Agency of Canada also said that vaccine interchangeability happens regularly in Canada.
“Vaccine interchangeability is not a new concept. Similar vaccines from different manufacturers are used when vaccine supply or public health programs change. Different vaccine products have been used to complete a vaccine series for influenza, hepatitis A, and others,” the statement read.
The WHO’s latest messaging may have also been an attempt at stopping countries from hoarding COVID-19 vaccines for future booster shots, one infectious disease doctor said.
“I do sincerely believe that it was a well-intended message aimed at preventing the idea of hoarding too many doses of vaccines for booster shots, and potentially third or even fourth doses, especially when you’re dealing with a situation where COVAX has not worked ideally for under resourced parts of the world,” Dr. Abdu Sharkawy told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday.
Swaminathan did caution on Monday that “if 11 high and upper middle income countries decide… that they will go for a booster for their populations or even subgroups, this will require an additional 800 million doses of vaccine.” She said that would affect the global vaccine supply at a point “when there is no scientific evidence to suggest that boosters are definitely needed.”
Despite good intentions, Sharkawy said that he was surprised that Swaminathan said mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines was an “evidence free zone,” as studies around the world have yielded evidence and real-world evidence is taking place.
“When you’re talking about the science behind this protocol, and we’re dealing with emerging real-world evidence from multiple parts of Europe, that shows that this is a safe and effective strategy to use,” he said. “So for any Canadian who did receive a multi-platform vaccine protocol, including my own wife, I say you have nothing to fear. The science is very sound.”
For those who did mix their vaccine doses, Langley said they did the right thing by following public health advice and that advice hasn’t changed.
“The most important thing is to have two doses of an authorized COVID vaccine, so that you will reduce your likelihood of getting COVID serious complications,” she said.
For Chakrabarti, he has no doubt in the safety of mixing and matching and even recommended his own father mix doses.
“I wouldn’t do that unless I thought it was entirely safe.”
Stock market news live updates: Stock turn lower following last week's rebound – Yahoo Canada
U.S. stocks closed a choppy session lower Monday, weighed down by losses in technology shares, after the major indexes failed to sustain momentum from last week’s rally.
The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 60 points, or 0.2% after each benchmark wavered between the red and the green throughout the trading day. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.9%.
The moves follow a sharp rebound Friday that saw the S&P 500 surge 3% during the session and over 6% for the week, its second-best week this year and its first weekly rise since late May. Still, the benchmark index is on pace for its worst opening six months since 1970.
During the previous session, the Dow rose more than 800 points, or 2.7%, while the Nasdaq increased by more than 3.3%, leading to weekly gains for the indexes of more than 5% and 7%, respectively.
Some Wall Street strategists are hopeful that markets may have found a bottom.
“As bad as [this year] has been for investors, the good news is previous years that were down at least 15% at the midway point to the year saw the final six months higher every single time, with an average return of nearly 24%,” LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick said in a note last week.
J.P. Morgan strategist Marko Kolanovic also predicted that U.S. equities may climb as much as 7% this week as investors rebalance portfolios amid the end of the month, second quarter, and first half of the year.
While sentiment on Wall Street appears optimistic, investors are in for a bevy of key economic reports and earnings that may sway markets this week and put hopes of a comeback to the test.
Quarterly results from Nike (NKE) and Micron (MU) will be closely watched for signs of rising inventories and slowing orders like Target and some other retailers have warned about recently, which may renew worries of an economic slowdown among Corporate America.
Traders also face a fairly loaded economic calendar this week, with the latest read on core PCE inflation – the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of consumer prices, the Conference Board’s consumer sentiment survey, and manufacturing and housing reports due out through Friday.
On the move
Robinhood Markets (HOOD)‘s stock surged 14% to close at $9.12 per share following a report from Bloomberg that cryptocurrency exchange FTX is considering a deal to acquire digital trading platform. Earlier in the day, Robinhood was in the spotlight after Goldman Sachs upgraded the brokerage to Neutral, about two months after the bank downgraded shares to Sell.
Coinbase (COIN) shares plunged nearly 10.8% to $55.96 after analysts at Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded the cryptocurrency exchange to Sell from Neutral and slashed their price target on the stock to $45 from $70. Goldman also noted that while Coinbase recently announced it would cut 18% of staff, these layoffs will not be enough to bring the company’s costs in line with lowered sales.
AMC Entertainment (AMC) rallied to cap trading up 13.6% despite a turbulent session for the broader markets. The stock rose amid increased mentions across forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets and Stocktwits. AMC was also added to the Russell 1000 Index after an annual rebalancing.
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc
Man uses Apple Airtags to find stolen Range Rover | CTV News – CTV News Toronto
An Ontario man whose car was stolen from his driveway in midtown Toronto twice in three months is revealing how he tracked and located his second vehicle.
“It’s pretty scary, but you can’t live your life in fear,” Lorne, whose surname CTV News Toronto has omitted due to safety concerns, said on Monday.
On April 1, his family moved to the Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue area.
The following day, employees from an electronics company arrived at his house to install televisions. He placed the keys of his Range Rover Autobiography into a faraday box, which is designed to prevent criminals from copying a key fob and gaining access to a vehicle.
However, within minutes of the employees leaving his house, his car was stolen in broad daylight.
“The thieves were able to disable the tracker in my car, put there by the manufacturer,” Lorne said.
Meanwhile, his wallet, along with his kids phones, which were in the car, were thrown out of the vehicle before it was stolen, which Lorne said he believes was a preventive measure to avoid him from tracking the location of his car.
His Range Rover was never recovered.
Thirty days later, he got a new car of the same model, but this time, he placed three Apple AirTag tracking devices inside – one in the glovebox, another in his spare tire in the trunk and a third under his back seat.
While Lorne said he typically parks in his garage, last Wednesday night, he didn’t.
At 8:30 a.m. the next morning, he said his kids ran into his bedroom screaming, ”Daddy, daddy, your car is gone.”
Right away, he logged into his Find My app and located all three of his AirTags near Manville and Comsock roads in Scarborough, listed as a metal recycling plant.
After dropping his kids at school, he headed to that location and called the police. With no success reaching an officer, he drove to the 41 Division police station.
Toronto police spokesperson David Hopkinson confirmed to CTV News Toronto that a report of this nature was received by police on Thursday.
“I pressed my panic button and you heard it going off,” Lorne said. “The next day I was told they recovered nine cars.”
Due to an ongoing investigation, police could not comment further on the incident.
This time, however, Lorne said police recovered his vehicle and he anticipates it should be back in his possession soon.
While he said his AirTags worked in this case, he anticipates car thefts will only get increasingly sophisticated.
“It’s not foolproof,” he said.
Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas – Yahoo Canada Finance
NEW YORK (AP) — The company planning to buy Donald Trump’s new social media business has disclosed a federal grand jury investigation that it says could impede or even prevent its acquisition of the Truth Social app.
Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped almost 10% Monday as the company revealed that it has received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York.
The Justice Department subpoenas follow an ongoing probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether Digital World broke rules by having substantial talks about buying Trump’s company starting early last year before Digital World sold stock to the public for the first time in September, just weeks before its announcement that it would be buying Trump’s company.
Trump’s social media venture launched in February as he seeks a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech, a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The Trump Media & Technology Group — which operates the Truth Social app and was in the process of being acquired by Digital World — said in a statement that it will cooperate with “oversight that supports the SEC’s important mission of protecting retail investors.”
The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company. The company last year got promises from dozens of investors to pump $1 billion into the company, but it can’t get the cash until the Digital World acquisition is completed.
Stock in Digital World rocketed to more than $100 in October after its deal to buy Trump’s company was announced. The stock closed at $25.16 Monday.
Digital World is a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, part of an investing phenomenon that exploded in popularity over the past two years.
Such “blank-check” companies are empty corporate entities with no operations, only offering investors the promise they will buy a business in the future. As such they are allowed to sell stock to the public quickly without the usual regulatory disclosures and delays, but only if they haven’t already lined up possible acquisition targets.
Digital World said in a regulatory filing Monday that each member of its board of directors has been subpoenaed by the grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Both the grand jury and the SEC are also seeking a number of documents tied to the company and others including a sponsor, ARC Global Investments, and Miami-based venture capital firm Rocket One Capital.
Some of the sought documents involve “due diligence” regarding Trump Media and other potential acquisition targets, as well as communications with Digital World’s underwriter and financial adviser in its initial public offering, according to the SEC disclosure.
Digital World also Monday announced the resignation of one of its board members, Bruce Garelick, a chief strategy officer at Rocket One.
The Associated Press
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