The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two.
Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways.
The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85 per cent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.
“This is really good news,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told The Associated Press Saturday. “The most important thing we can do right now is to get as many shots in as many arms as we can.”
Shipments of a few million doses to be divided among states could begin as early as Monday. By the end of March, J&J has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S., and 100 million by summer.
J&J also is seeking authorization for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organization. Worldwide, the company aims to produce about 1 billion doses globally by the end of the year. On Thursday, the island nation of Bahrain became the first to clear its use.
Health Canada is still reviewing the vaccine. Canada has ordered 10 million doses from Johnson & Johnson with options for up to 28 million more, if necessary. Most of those shots are expected to arrive by the end of September.
‘We’re champing at the bit to get more supply’
On Sunday, a U.S. advisory committee will meet to recommend how to prioritize use of the single-dose vaccine. And one big challenge is what the public wants to know: Which kind of vaccine is better?
“In this environment, whatever you can get — get,” said Dr. Arnold Monto of the University of Michigan, who chaired an FDA advisory panel that unanimously voted Friday that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks.
Data is mixed on how well all the vaccines being used around the world work, prompting reports in some countries of people refusing one kind to wait for another.
WATCH | Will Canadians be able to choose which vaccine they get?:
In the U.S., the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots were 95 per cent protective against symptomatic COVID-19. J&J’s one-dose effectiveness of 85 per cent against severe COVID-19 dropped to 66 per cent when moderate cases were rolled in. But there’s no apples-to-apples comparison because of differences in when and where each company conducted its studies, with the Pfizer and Moderna research finished before concerning variants began spreading.
Collins said the evidence of effectiveness shows no reason to favour one vaccine over another.
“What people I think are mostly interested in is, is it going to keep me from getting really sick?” Collins said. “Will it keep me from dying from this terrible disease? The good news is all of these say yes to that.”
Also, J&J is testing two doses of its vaccine in a separate large study. Collins said if a second dose eventually is deemed better, people who got one earlier would be offered another.
The FDA cautioned that it’s too early to tell if someone who gets a mild or asymptomatic infection despite vaccination still could spread the virus.
There are clear advantages aside from the convenience of one shot. Local health officials are looking to use the J&J option in mobile vaccination clinics, homeless shelters, even with sailors who are spending months on fishing vessels — communities where it’s hard to be sure someone will come back in three to four weeks for a second vaccination.
WATCH | Canada’s procurement minister on Johnson & Johnson vaccine:
The J&J vaccine also is easier to handle, lasting three months in the refrigerator compared to the Pfizer and Moderna options, which must be frozen.
“We’re champing at the bit to get more supply. That’s the limiting factor for us right now,” said Dr. Matt Anderson of UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, where staffers were readying electronic health records, staffing and vaccine storage in anticipation of offering J&J shots soon.
The FDA said studies detected no serious side effects. Like other COVID-19 vaccines, the main side effects of the J&J shot are pain at the injection site and flu-like fever, fatigue and headache.
The FDA said there is “a remote chance” that people may experience a severe allergic reaction to the shot, a rare risk seen with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in adults 18 and older for now. But like other vaccine makers, J&J is about to begin a study of its vaccine in teens before moving to younger children later in the year, and also plans a study in pregnant women.
All COVID-19 vaccines train the body to recognize the new coronavirus, usually by spotting the spike protein that coats it. But they’re made in very different ways.
WATCH | Provinces offer different timelines for COVID-19 vaccine rollout:
J&J’s shot uses a cold virus like a Trojan horse to carry the spike gene into the body, where cells make harmless copies of the protein to prime the immune system in case the real virus comes along. It’s the same technology the company used in making an Ebola vaccine, and similar to COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and China’s CanSino Biologics.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made with a different technology, a piece of genetic code called messenger RNA that spurs cells to make those harmless spike copies.
The AstraZeneca vaccine — which was approved for use in Canada on Friday and is already in use in numerous other countries — is finishing a large U.S. study needed for FDA clearance. Also in the pipeline, Novavax uses a still different technology, made with lab-grown copies of the spike protein, and has reported preliminary findings from a British study suggesting strong protection.
Still other countries are using “inactivated vaccines,” made with killed coronavirus by Chinese companies Sinovac and Sinopharm.
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, July 22 – CBC.ca
- Ottawa reported nine more COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
- Ontario reported 185 new cases of COVID-19, the most on a single day in two weeks.
- Does your doctor or dentist have to tell you if they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19? Technically, no.
- Escapade festival holds pop-up clinic to vaccinate concertgoers before show.
- Volunteers share how it feels to administer 200,000 doses.
- State of emergency has ended in Ottawa.
What’s the latest?
Ottawa Public Health reported nine more cases of COVID-19 Thursday, and no new deaths, but key indicators are on the rise.
Thursday’s provincial case count is up somewhat from one week ago when the province logged 143 further infections.
Some health-care workers may choose not to tell their patients their vaccine status because they value their privacy or have a medical condition that’s preventing them from getting vaccinated, and they don’t want to face stigma, a bioethicist told CBC.
Escapade Music Festival is holding a pop-up vaccine clinic this weekend with Ottawa Public Health, to make sure its concertgoers will be fully protected before attending its September event.
A team of volunteers shared their experiences administering 200,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Horticulture building at Lansdowne as the clinic closed this week.
After nearly sixteen months, the municipal state of emergency in the City of Ottawa has lifted as of 12:01 a.m. today.
WATCH | ‘It’s been wonderful’: Retired nurse reflects on going back to work at vaccination clinic:
How many cases are there?
As of Thursday, 27,761 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 34 known active cases, 27,134 cases considered resolved, and 593 cases where people have died.
Public health officials have reported more than 50,300 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 49,200 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 197 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 215.
Akwesasne has had nearly 700 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
What are the rules?
Ontario is in Step 3 of its reopening plan.
The latest step allows for indoor dining, with capacity limits based on everyone being able to keep an acceptable distance.
Gyms, movie theatres and museums are able to reach a capacity of 50 per cent inside.
Larger general gathering limits have risen to 25 people inside and 100 people outside. Those limits are even higher for organized events, leading to the resumption of summer festivals and professional sports.
A detailed plan for the next school year is in the works, according to the education minister.
Ten people are allowed to gather inside private residences and 20 people outdoors — which increases to 50 if playing sports. Organized games are permitted outdoors again and gyms are open.
People can eat both indoors and outdoors at restaurants and bars.
Personal care services and non-essential businesses can open. As many as 3,500 people can gather in a large theatre or arena and at outdoor festivals.
What can I do?
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don’t live with, even with a mask on.
Vaccines curb the spread of all types of the coronavirus.
WATCH | What the end of the pandemic could look like:
There’s federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.
The federal government has announced fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living there would be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine starting Aug. 9, while tourists from all other countries would be allowed as of Sept. 7.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
Canada’s task force says people can wait up to 16 weeks between doses. There are factors pushing provinces to drastically speed up that timeline, including supply and the more infectious delta variant.
That same task force says it’s safe and effective to mix first and second doses.
There is evidence giving a second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine offers better protection for people who got a first AstraZeneca-Oxford shot. Both Ontario and Quebec are giving people who got a first AstraZeneca dose the option to get a second of the same kind.
More than 2.8 million doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including more than 1.36 million in Ottawa and more than 450,000 in western Quebec.
Ontario is vaccinating anyone age 12 or older.
People can look for provincial appointments opening up online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems, as do some family doctors.
Local health units have flexibility in the larger framework, including around booking, so check their websites for details. They offer standby lists for doses on short notice and recently, more walk-in options.
Check out this weeks <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19Vaccine</a> walk-in clinic schedule. These walk-in clinics are available to RCD residents 12 years of age and older! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/IGotTheShot?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#IGotTheShot</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VaccinesWork?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VaccinesWork</a><br><br>You can find this schedule by visiting our <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19Vaccine</a> Rollout Webpage here: <a href=”https://t.co/OhXjNC74WM”>https://t.co/OhXjNC74WM</a> <a href=”https://t.co/9G4mUIHqbT”>pic.twitter.com/9G4mUIHqbT</a>
Vaccine bookings depend on the supply being sent to health units, which generally aren’t reporting the supply problems of previous months.
People may have to show proof of being fully vaccinated to access certain services if there is an autumn surge of cases.
Symptoms and testing
COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Recently, a runny nose and headache have become more common.
Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.
Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.
Staff, caregivers and visitors who have been fully-immunized and show no symptoms of the coronavirus no longer need to be tested before entering a long-term care facility.
Travellers who need a test have a few more local options to pay for one.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.
Akwesasne has COVID-19 vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341. Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.
Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.
The last day for Ottawa’s Indigenous vaccination clinic is July 29.
For more information
Wildfires are causing the price of lumber to spike again – CBC.ca
The price of lumber rose at its fastest pace in more than a year on Thursday, after timber companies warned that wildfires in Western Canada are hurting their business.
The price of a lumber futures contract jumped by more than 10 per cent, triggering circuit breakers designed to halt trading. Late in the day on Thursday, a contract for 1,000 board-feet of lumber was going for $647 US, up by more than $60 from the previous day’s close.
Prices are spiking because lumber companies in B.C. and elsewhere are scaling back operations because of wildfires.
Vancouver-based Canfor said it will produce about 115 million fewer board-feet of product this quarter because wildfires have damaged the rail network on which it depends. CN lost the use of at least one rail bridge on its line into Vancouver, and CP is facing similar bottlenecks.
“Canadian rails will … face pressure from wildfires in British Columbia as volumes may take several more weeks to fully recover,” Bloomberg Intelligence railway analyst Adam Roszkowski said in a note to clients on Thursday.
That means it’s harder to move just about anything to market, so Canfor is going to take its foot off the gas.
Canfor’s anticipated production drop of 115 million board-feet of wood is less than 1 per cent of what the industry normally cranks out every quarter. But Bank of Montreal analyst Mark Wilde said he expects more companies will also have to reduce production in the next little while.
“We expect more announcements of reduced shifts/hours over the next two to three weeks,” he said in a note to clients Thursday.
Like many industries, the lumber business slowed down at the start of the pandemic as workers were sent home and facilities idled. But demand for lumber unexpectedly exploded, mainly due to booming demand for home renovations.
At one point in May, the price of lumber hit an all-time high of more than $1,600 US per 1,000 board-feet or about five times what it was at the start of the pandemic. Builders reported that higher lumber prices were adding as much as $30,000 to the cost of constructing a standard home and lumber yards across the country were selling out.
WATCH | Why high lumber prices are going to make everything more expensive:
But things changed in a hurry. Those astronomical prices caused demand to crater once again, leading to inventory piling up at lumber yards as people shelved their do-it-yourself construction plans. Big box retailers in the U.S. such as Home Depot have reported that demand for lumber is down by almost half since May.
“After a year of chasing inventory, the market is now struggling with bulging inventories at many mills in the U.S. and Canada,” Wilde said.
The see-saw went so far in the other direction that Wilde said a number of B.C. sawmills were likely recently selling lumber for less than the cost of production.
“At those levels, some B.C. mills may need a snorkel,” he said of when the price dipped as low as $435 US. “It would be crazy to simply return all that cash to the market by overproducing during a weak market.”
TD analyst Sean Steuart also thinks that more shutdowns in Western Canada’s lumber industry are coming.
“We believe that production curtailments in this region are inevitable, but they have been slow to arrive so far,” he said in a note to clients.
Global outage affecting websites of airlines, banks, tech firms now fixed – Globalnews.ca
Several airlines, banks and technology websites were coming back online on Thursday afternoon after a brief outage, the third such widespread incident noted in just a span of two months, raising alarms across social media.
Websites of Delta Air Lines, Costco Wholesale Corp , American Express and Home Depot were down, displaying domain name system (DNS) service errors.
Some Canadian companies also said that their websites and services were fully operational again after they experienced technical difficulties or outages this afternoon.
Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and PC Financial all told customers on Twitter that their websites are back up after earlier informing people that they were aware of technical issues and working to resolve them.
Monitoring website Down Detector showed a sharp increase in reported technical difficulties on the three companies’ websites after 12 p.m. Eastern time, along with Bank of Nova Scotia and Air Canada.
Cloud services provider Akamai Technologies had given an alert on its “Edge DNS” service incident, noting a “partial outage” on its website.
“We have implemented a fix for this issue, and based on current observations, the service is resuming normal operations,” it said later in a tweet.
Oracle Corp said it was monitoring the global issue related to a cloud-based DNS solution provider impacting access to many internet resources, including its own cloud services.
Rogers, Fido service outage impacting many Canadian customers
DNS is a service that translates readable domain names to machine readable IP addresses, connecting it to a server and delivering the requested page on the user’s phone or laptop.
In June, multiple outages hit social media, government and news websites across the globe, with some reports pointing to a glitch at U.S.-based cloud computing service providers.
About 3,500 users reported issues with Airbnb’s website, while nearly 1,500 Home Depot users reported problems, according to outage tracking website Downdetector.
— With files from The Canadian Press
© 2021 Reuters
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