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These 3 countries are winning the COVID-19 vaccine rollout race. Here’s the result – Global News

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Canada is facing a variant-fuelled new wave of COVID-19 cases as the country is beginning to ramp up inoculation efforts following a slow start.

Meanwhile, countries such as the United Kingdom, Israel and the United States have far surpassed Canada’s vaccine rollout. And as the third wave is hitting many parts of the world, these countries are starting to see a huge drop in coronavirus-related cases and deaths since the start of their aggressive inoculation campaigns.

United Kingdom

How many people vaccinated?

With a population of 66.65 million, more than 50 per cent of people in the U.K. have received at least one vaccine shot.

Around 30.4 million people in the country have received their first COVID-19 shots in the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, with the aim of offering shots to all adults by the end of July. More than 3.6 million people have had both doses of a vaccine, according to the U.K.’s health database.

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Read more:
U.K. speeds up COVID-19 vaccinations, aims to have all adults receive 1st dose by July 31

The BBC reported that the number of first doses administered each day now averages around 350,000 — a drop from an average of about 500,000 a week ago as the schedule of second doses started to kick in.

On March 20, the country had the highest number of vaccinations given in a single day — more than 844,000.

U.K. health officials said the country is on track to offer the first dose to everyone aged 50 and over by the end of April, and to all adults by the end of July.


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U.K. study examines safety of mixing COVID-19 vaccines


U.K. study examines safety of mixing COVID-19 vaccines

How many COVID-19 vaccine types?

The U.K. is currently receiving doses of two approved vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech is imported from Belgium. The second vaccine, from Oxford University and AstraZeneca, is made in Britain.

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Supplies of a third vaccine to be approved, made by U.S. company Moderna, is expected in the next few weeks, according to the BBC.

COVID-19 infection and death rates?

The daily release of COVID-19 data in the United Kingdom showed that 56 new deaths were recorded on Tuesday. This is substantially lower than the peak of the second-wave in January, which recorded more than 1,000 deaths per day.

The U.K. was also recording an average of 50,000 to 60,000 new cases a day in January.

Read more:
U.K. won’t share surplus COVID-19 vaccines until all adults are inoculated: minister

But new infection numbers are also substantially down, with 4,040 cases reported Tuesday and a seven-day total of 35,460, down by 7.9 per cent from the previous seven days.

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 149,168 people have died in the U.K, the highest official death toll in Europe and the fifth-highest in the world. There have been more than 4.3 million confirmed cases as well.

Israel

How many people vaccinated?

With a population of 9.053 million people, well over half of Israel’s population have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Israel is one of the top nations leading the world in vaccination rollouts, which began Dec. 19, 2020 — just 10 days after the first Pfizer doses arrived in the country.


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The benefits and challenges of a vaccine certificate system


The benefits and challenges of a vaccine certificate system – Feb 28, 2021

The country was well ahead of most countries in signing a purchase agreement for Moderna’s vaccine in June 2020. Later in 2020, it made another deal with Pfizer.

As of Wednesday, more than 5.23 million people have been given the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to an Israel health database. And more than 4.76 million people have received a second dose.

How many COVID-19 vaccine types?

Israel has approved two COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer, imported from Belgium, and Moderna, imported from the U.S.

COVID-19 infection and death rates?

On Jan. 27, 2021, during the height of the second wave, the nation recorded 11,934 new cases of the virus, according to Our World in Data. On Jan. 20, the country recorded its highest COVID-19 related death number at 101 cases.

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Read more:
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These numbers have plummeted since the country’s aggressive vaccine rollout. On March 29, Israel recorded 201 new cases and 12 recorded deaths.

United States

How many people vaccinated?

With a population of 328.2 million people, 28.9 per cent of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine shot.

As of Tuesday, around 96 million people in the United States have been given a first vaccine shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 53 million Americans have been given a second dose, which is 15.8 per cent of the population.

Seventy-three per cent of the population over the age of 65 have been given at least one dose of the vaccine.


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Biden doubles U.S. COVID-19 inoculation target


Biden doubles U.S. COVID-19 inoculation target

How many COVID-19 vaccine types?

The U.S. has approved three vaccines: Pfizer, imported from Belgium, Moderna, made in the U.S., and Johnson & Johnson, which is also made on national soil.

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COVID-19 infection and death rates?

On Jan. 8, during the height of the second wave, the U.S. recorded 315,119 new cases. On Jan. 12, the U.S. recorded its highest day of COVID-related deaths with 4,447 cases.

The cases and death count have gone down substantially since January. On March 29, the U.S. recorded 47,464 new COVID-19 cases and 560 deaths, according to the CDC.

Canada

How many people vaccinated?

Canada has a population of about 37.7 million people, approximately 31.5 million of whom are over the age of 16 and eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

So far, more than 5.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in Canada; that number includes both first and second doses. On March 25, deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said that more than 10 per cent of Canadians had received at least one vaccine jab.

Around 59 per cent of adults aged 80 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.


Click to play video: 'Millions of more doses could accelerate Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout'



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Millions of more doses could accelerate Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout


Millions of more doses could accelerate Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Over the past few weeks, Canada has administered more than 100,000 doses per day. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously said the government plans to have most Canadian adults vaccinated by September.

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Although the country has ramped up its vaccination efforts, Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, previously told Global News, “it’s not even remotely fast enough.”

Furness said at the rate of vaccinating 100,000 Canadians per day, it could take Canada 10 months to achieve herd immunity levels.

Based on those numbers, if the federal government expects to achieve its vaccine targets by September, Furness said it would need to administer around 400,000 shots per day.

How many COVID-19 vaccine types?

Canada has approved four vaccines: Pfizer, imported from Belgium, Moderna, imported from the U.S., Johnson & Johnson, imported from the U.S. (though doses are not expected to arrive until late April), and AstraZeneca, imported from the U.K.

COVID-19 infection and death rates?

Daily case counts have dropped since a peak of 8,883 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 9. Although numbers started falling in February, in recent weeks COVID-19 cases have again been on the rise with public health officials warning that Canada is losing the fight against variants and that more restrictions could be in our future.

On Tuesday, the country recorded 26 deaths and 4,879 new cases of the virus.

Read more:
Canada adds 4,880 new COVID-19 cases as global infections top 128 million

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While Canada has seen a dramatic decline in COVID-19 among seniors, more transmissible — and possibly more deadly — variants are dramatically increasing infections among younger people.

New national public health modelling, released last week, acknowledges the progress Canada has made in getting older, more vulnerable populations vaccinated, but yet again emphasizes the threat virus variants, like the B.1.1.7 variant, bring to Canadians who aren’t yet up for vaccination.

In British Columbia and Saskatchewan, public health officials have warned that variants appear to be impacting young people and that otherwise healthy young people are ending up in hospital.

The changing patterns come up against a slowly burning vaccination effort — so far only focused on the elderly or, in some cases, those between 60 and 65.


Click to play video: 'Ontario’s hospitals buckling as Canada’s third wave grows dire'



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Ontario’s hospitals buckling as Canada’s third wave grows dire


Ontario’s hospitals buckling as Canada’s third wave grows dire

But Canada is banking on a large influx of vaccines in the coming months.

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On Tuesday, federal officials announced that Canada’s total tally of vaccines should reach 44 million doses by the end of June, and that the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine is set to begin arriving in late April, adding to that number.

— with files from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun, Rachael D’Amore and Reuters

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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CANADA STOCKS – TSX falls 0.14% to 19,201.28

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* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s TSX falls 0.14 percent to 19,201.28

* Leading the index were Stantec Inc <STN.TO​>, up 3.4%, Imperial Oil Ltd​, up 3.3%, and Corus Entertainment Inc​, higher by 2.9%.

* Lagging shares were Aphria Inc​​, down 14.2%, Village Farms International Inc​, down 9.9%, and Aurora Cannabis Inc​, lower by 9.4%.

* On the TSX 91 issues rose and 134 fell as a 0.7-to-1 ratio favored decliners. There were 24 new highs and no new lows, with total volume of 228.0 million shares.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Toronto-dominion Bank, Royal Bank Of Canada and Suncor Energy Inc.

* The TSX’s energy group fell 0.32 points, or 0.3%, while the financials sector climbed 2.46 points, or 0.7%.

* West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.52%, or $0.31, to $59.63 a barrel. Brent crude  rose 0.4%, or $0.25, to $63.2 [O/R]

* The TSX is up 10.1% for the year.

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Air Canada signs C$5.9 billion government aid package, agrees to buy Airbus, Boeing jets

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By David Ljunggren and Allison Lampert

OTTAWA/MONTREAL (Reuters) -Air Canada, struggling with a collapse in traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reached a deal on Monday on a long-awaited aid package with the federal government that would allow it to access up to C$5.9 billion ($4.69 billion) in funds.

The agreement – the largest individual coronavirus-related loan that Ottawa has arranged with a company – was announced after the airline industry criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government for dawdling. The United States and France acted much more quickly to help major carriers.

Canada‘s largest carrier, which last year cut over half its workforce, or 20,000 jobs, and other airlines have been negotiating with the government for months on a coronavirus aid package.

In February, Air Canada reported a net loss for 2020 of C$4.65 billion, compared with a 2019 profit of C$1.48 billion.

As part of the deal, Air Canada agreed to ban share buybacks and dividends, cap annual compensation for senior executives at C$1 million a year and preserve jobs at the current level, which is 14,859.

It will also proceed with planned purchases of 33 Airbus SE 220 airliners and 40 Boeing Co 737 MAX airliners.

Chris Murray, managing director, equity research at ATB Capital Markets, said the deal took into account the “specific needs of Air Canada in the short and medium term without being overly onerous.”

He added: “It gives them some flexibility in drawing down additional liquidity as needed.”

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the government was still in negotiations with other airlines about possible aid.

Canada, the world’s second-largest nation by area, depends heavily on civil aviation to keep remote communities connected.

Opposition politicians fretted that further delays in announcing aid could result in permanent damage to the country.

Air Canada said it would resume services on nearly all of the routes it had suspended because of COVID-19.

‘SIGNIFICANT LAYER OF INSURANCE’

The deal removes a potential political challenge for the Liberals, who insiders say are set to trigger an election later this year.

The government has agreed to buy C$500 million worth of shares in the airline, at C$23.1793 each, or a 14.2% discount to Monday’s close, a roughly 6% stake.

“Maintaining a competitive airline sector and good jobs is crucially important,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters, adding the equity stake would allow taxpayers to benefit when the airline’s fortunes recovered.

The Canadian government previously approved similar loans for four other companies worth up to C$1.billion, including up to C$375 million to low-cost airline Sunwing Vacations Inc. The government has paid out C$73.47 billion under its wage subsidy program and C$46.11 billion in loans to hard-hit small businesses.

Michael Rousseau, Air Canada‘s president and chief executive officer, said the liquidity “provides a significant layer of insurance for Air Canada.”

Jerry Dias, head of the Unifor private-sector union, described the announcement as “a good deal for everybody.”

Unifor represents more than 16,000 members working in the air transportation sector.

But the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents roughly 10,000 Air Canada flight attendants, said the package protected the jobs of current workers rather than the 7,500 members of its union who had been let go by the carrier.

($1=1.2567 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Additional reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler and Peter Cooney)

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U.K. advises limiting AstraZeneca in under-30s amid clot worry

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LONDON —
British authorities recommended Wednesday that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine not be given to adults under 30 where possible because of strengthening evidence that the shot may be linked to rare blood clots.

The recommendation came as regulators both in the United Kingdom and the European Union emphasized that the benefits of receiving the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks for most people — even though the European Medicines Agency said it had found a “possible link” between the shot and the rare clots. British authorities recommended that people under 30 be offered alternatives to AstraZeneca. But the EMA advised no such age restrictions, leaving it up to its member-countries to decide whether to limit its use.

Several countries have already imposed limits on who can receive the vaccine, and any restrictions are closely watched since the vaccine, which is cheaper and easier to store than many others, is critical to global immunization campaigns and is a pillar of the UN-backed program known as COVAX that aims to get vaccines to some of the world’s poorest countries.

“This is a course correction, there’s no question about that,” Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said during a press briefing. “But it is, in a sense, in medicine quite normal for physicians to alter their preferences for how patients are treated over time.”

Van-Tam said the effect on Britain’s vaccination timetable — one of the speediest in the world — should be “zero or negligible,” assuming the National Health Service receives expected deliveries of other vaccines, including those produced by Pfizer and Moderna.

EU and U.K. regulators held simultaneous press conferences Wednesday afternoon to announce the results of investigations into reports of blood clots that sparked concern about the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The EU agency described the clots as “very rare” side effects. Dr Sabine Straus, chair of EMA’s Safety Committee, said the best data is coming from Germany where there is one report of the rare clots for every 100,000 doses given, although she noted far fewer reports in the U.K. Still, that’s less than the clot risk that healthy women face from birth control pills, noted another expert, Dr. Peter Arlett.

The agency said most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 within two weeks of vaccination — but based on the currently available evidence, it was not able to identify specific risk factors. Experts reviewed several dozen cases that came mainly from Europe and the U.K., where around 25 million people have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“The reported cases of unusual blood clotting following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine should be listed as possible side effects of the vaccine,” said Emer Cooke, the agency’s executive director. “The risk of mortality from COVID is much greater than the risk of mortality from these side effects.”

Arlett said there is no information suggesting an increased risk from the other major COVID-19 vaccines.

The EMA’s investigation focused on unusual types of blood clots that are occurring along with low blood platelets. One rare clot type appears in multiple blood vessels and the other in veins that drain blood from the brain.

While the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risks, that assessment is “more finely balanced” among younger people who are less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19, the U.K’s Van-Tam said.

“We are not advising a stop to any vaccination for any individual in any age group,” said Wei Shen Lim, who chairs Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization. “We are advising a preference for one vaccine over another vaccine for a particular age group, really out of the utmost caution rather than because we have any serious safety concerns.”

In March, more than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, suspended their use of AstraZeneca over the blood clot issue. Most restarted — some with age restrictions — after the EMA said countries should continue using the potentially life-saving vaccine.

Britain, which relies heavily on AstraZeneca, however, continued to use it.

The suspensions were seen as particularly damaging for AstraZeneca because they came after repeated missteps in how the company reported data on the vaccine’s effectiveness and concerns over how well its shot worked in older people. That has led to frequently changing advice in some countries on who can take the vaccine, raising worries that AstraZeneca’s credibility could be permanently damaged, spurring more vaccine hesitancy and prolonging the pandemic.

Dr. Peter English, who formerly chaired the British Medical Association’s Public Health Medicine Committee, said the back-and-forth over the AstraZeneca vaccine globally could have serious consequences.

“We can’t afford not to use this vaccine if we are going to end the pandemic,” he said.

In some countries, authorities have already noted hesitance toward the AstraZeneca shot.

“People come and they are reluctant to take the AstraZeneca vaccine, they ask us if we also use anything else,” said Florentina Nastase, a doctor and co-ordinator at a vaccination centre in Bucharest, Romania. “There were cases in which people (scheduled for the AstraZeneca) didn’t show up, there were cases when people came to the centre and saw that we use only AstraZeneca and refused (to be inoculated).”

Meanwhile, the governor of Italy’s northern Veneto region had said earlier Wednesday that any decision to change the guidance on AstraZeneca would cause major disruptions to immunizations — at a time when Europe is already struggling to ramp them up — and could create more confusion about the shot.

“If they do like Germany, and allow Astra Zeneca only to people over 65, that would be absurd. Before it was only for people under 55. Put yourself in the place of citizens, it is hard to understand anything,” Luca Zaia told reporters.

The latest suspension of AstraZeneca came in Spain’s Castilla y Leon region, where health chief Veronica Casado said Wednesday that “the principle of prudence” drove her to put a temporary hold on the vaccine that she still backed as being both effective and necessary.

French health authorities had said they, too, were awaiting EMA’s conclusions, as were some officials in Asia.

On Wednesday, South Korea said it would temporarily suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in people 60 and younger. In that age group, the country is only currently vaccinating health workers and people in long-term care settings.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said it would also pause a vaccine rollout to school nurses and teachers that was to begin on Thursday, while awaiting the outcome of the EMA’s review.

But some experts urged perspective. Prof Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair of Britain’s vaccination committee, said that the program has saved at least 6,000 lives in the first three months and will help pave the way back to normal life.

“What is clear it that for the vast majority of people the benefits of the Oxford AZ vaccine far outweigh any extremely small risk,” he said. “And the Oxford AZ vaccine will continue to save many from suffering the devastating effects that can result from a COVID infection.”

Source: – CTV News

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