MIa Rabson, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, January 21, 2021 4:39PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 21, 2021 8:00PM EST
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla by phone Thursday, the same day the company informed Canada delays to its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are going to be even worse than previously thought.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander now overseeing the vaccine logistics for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said last week a factory expansion at Pfizer’s Belgium plant was going to slow production, cutting Canada’s deliveries over four weeks in half.
In exchange, Pfizer expects to be able to ship hundreds of millions more doses worldwide over the rest of 2021.
Tuesday, Fortin said Canada would receive 80 per cent of the previously expected doses this week, nothing at all next week, and about half the promised deliveries in the first two weeks of February.
Thursday, he said the doses delivered in the first week of February will only be 79,000, one one-fifth of what was once expected. Fortin doesn’t know yet what will come the week after, but overall, Canada’s doses over three weeks are going to be just one-third of what had been planned.
Trudeau has been under pressure to call Bourla, as the delayed doses force provinces to cancel vaccination appointments and reconsider timing for second doses.
Fortin said some provinces may be hit even harder than others because of limits on the way the Pfizer doses can be split up for shipping. The vaccine is delicate and must be kept ultra frozen until shortly before injecting it. The company packs and ships specialized coolers, with GPS thermal trackers, directly to provincial vaccine sites.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said earlier this week he doesn’t blame the federal government for the dose delays but wanted Trudeau to do more to push back about it.
“If I was in (Trudeau’s) shoes … I’d be on that phone call every single day. I’d be up that guy’s yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn’t know what hit him,” he said of Pfizer’s executives.
Trudeau informed Ford and other premiers of the call with Bourla during a regular teleconference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Until Thursday, all calls between the federal cabinet and Pfizer had been handled by Procurement Minister Anita Anand.
Ford also spoke to Pfizer Canada CEO Cole Pinnow Wednesday.
Trudeau didn’t suggest the call with Bourla made any difference to the delays, and noted Canada is not the only country affected.
Europe, which on the weekend thought its delayed doses would only be for one week after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to Bourla, now seems poised to be affected longer. Italy is so angry it is threatening to sue the U.S.-based drugmaker for the delays.
Mexico said this week it is only getting half its expected shipment this week and nothing at all for the next three weeks. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also reported delays getting doses. Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou said more countries were affected but wouldn’t say which ones.
Fortin said Pfizer has promised to deliver four million doses to Canada by the end of March and that is not going to change with the delay. With the current known delivery schedule, the company will have to ship more than 3.1 million doses over 7 1/2 weeks to meet that commitment.
Deliveries from Moderna, the other company that has a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada, are not affected. Canada has received about 176,000 doses from Moderna to date, with deliveries arriving every three weeks.
Moderna has promised two million doses by the end of March.
Both vaccines require first doses and then boosters several weeks later for full effectiveness. Together Pfizer and Moderna intend to ship 20 million doses to Canada in the spring, and 46 million between July and September. With no other vaccines approved, that means Canada will get enough doses to vaccinate the entire population with two doses by the end of September.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.
35000 Eligible Residents Already Pre-Registered for COVID Vaccine, Two New Cases Identified in Eastern NL – VOCM
There are two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province today.
Both are in the Eastern Health region and involve people under the age of 20 who are contacts of previous cases.
Eleven people are in hospital with the virus. There have been 27 new recoveries for a total of 236 active cases in Newfoundland and Labrador.
A previous case reported on February 22, has turned out to be a false positive.
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says there has been great interest in preregistration for those 70 and older for the COVID vaccine. She says there’s been good uptake with over 35,000 people already pre-registered.
Those with access to the internet are encouraged to fill out the form online and help others who may need assistance. Or you may call 1-833-668-3930 or 709-273-3930 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
In the meantime, Fitzgerald is strongly discouraging people from non-essential travel in and out of the metro region while it remains in Alert Level 5. Visits to the cabin or a snowmobile run are not considered to be essential, she suggests.
NL Reviewing AstraZeneca Vaccine Following Health Canada Approval
The province is still reviewing the evidence surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine, which received Health Canada approval late last week.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says the vaccine meets Health Canada’s standards for safety and efficacy and quality.
The vaccine is effective in preventing serious illness as a result of COVID-19 says Fitzgerald and they’re still reviewing the evidence to see where it will fit into the province’s strategy.
Premier Andrew Furey expressed optimism knowing that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is “not too far behind” in getting Health Canada approval.
Global National: March 1 | AstraZeneca vaccine not recommended for Canadians over age 65 – Global News
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- Global National: March 1 | AstraZeneca vaccine not recommended for Canadians over age 65 Global News
- AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ‘not recommended’ in people 65 and older: NACI CTV News
- AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaxine not recommended for seniors in Canada CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
- Europe must get its act together with Covid vaccine rollout Telegraph.co.uk
- Pfizer and AZ Covid jabs ‘highly effective’ in elderly: UK study RFI
- View Full coverage on Google News
Will Alberta ease more COVID-19 restrictions on Monday? Kenney, Hinshaw to give update at 4:30 – CTV Edmonton
Alberta continued to ease COVID-19 restrictions on Monday as cases of the variant and the positivity rate tick up.
Premier Jason Kenney announced the province would loosen some indoor fitness rules and reopen public libraries as part of Step 2 of its Path Forward plan, but limitations linked to hotels, banquets and conference centres were extended.
“We’re not out of the woods but we can continue taking small steps forward as we go into Step 2,” the premier told media.
Kenney is worried about variant cases — Alberta Health reported 35 on Monday, increasing the total to 457 — and said the positivity rate “has risen a bit.”
Contact tracers don’t know the source of transmission for about a third of COVID-19 infections, Kenney said, but 30 per cent cases are linked to homes.
“We need to be very careful about at-home transmission,” the premier said, adding it’s too early to allow indoor gatherings.
Now allowed in Step 2, however, are “low-intensity” individual and group fitness activities, such as pilates, tai chi and indoor climbing, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.
“I know many Albertans are eager to get back to activities like running on the treadmill,” Shandro said. “High intensity activities like that are still only allowed on a one-on-one basis with a trainer or for a household and one trainer.”
Drop-in fitness is not allowed.
The province also reopened libraries with a limit of 15 per cent capacity.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw said health and government officials will keep a close eye on hospitalizations, daily case counts, the positivity rate and R-value before they decide whether to ease more restrictions three weeks from now, “to watch for any concerning shifts that may require us to pause or reverse our current approach.”
She reported 291 COVID-19 cases, a positivity rate of 4.9 per cent an R-value of 1.01. There are 4,674 active cases and 257 patients in hospital, including 48 in ICU.
“We’re fully prepared to reinstate measures as needed if trends and daily cases shift,” Shandro said.
As of Sunday, Alberta Health Services had administered 235,508 doses and fully vaccinated 88,145 people.
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