Niagara pharmacists are still waiting to learn how much AstraZeneca vaccine they can expect to receive and when it will arrive, after the province included 22 local pharmacies on its expanded list of drug stores that will vaccinate people 55 years old and up.
In a media release Thursday, it said some locations will begin offering the vaccine as early as Saturday.
But local pharmacists — many of whom have been allowing patients to pre-register for a vaccination via their websites and phone calls — are still waiting to determine how much vaccine they can expect to receive.
They also wonder when those shipments will arrive, before they can begin contacting preregistered customers to schedule appointments.
“Honestly, the amount of information coming out of the ministry (of health) is like next to nothing,” said pharmacist Aaron Boggio, who co-owns three locations on the list of nearly 380 additional pharmacies that will provide doses of vaccine to patients.
“We don’t know when we’re going to receive them. We honestly expect them to just show up on our doorstep. … We were told to sign up, so we’re expecting them. We may honestly receive them as early as this weekend, or early next week,” he said.
“We’re ready. We’re just waiting for them (the province) to get their act together.”
Pharmacist Sean Simpson, who owns two Niagara-on-the-Lake pharmacies on the province’s list, said he too is “still waiting for more details.”
“We have been waiting for it. We weren’t sure when the government was going to make their official announcement, but it looks like the cat’s out of the bag now,” said Simpson, a member of Niagara’s COVID-19 vaccination task force.
“We were somewhat hopeful they wouldn’t make the announcement until we actually had vaccine.”
Despite the unknowns, local pharmacists are eager to do their part in protecting people from the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re excited to be able to help our customers and the residents of Niagara,” Boggio said. “In my mind, it’s taken far too long to get to this point. But we’re really excited.”
Pharmacist Donnie Edwards, who runs a pharmacy in Ridgeway, said he hopes the first of the vaccine shipments will arrive on the weekend, “and hopefully we’ll be starting vaccinations on Monday.”
As COVID-19 cases increase across Ontario during the pandemic’s third wave, Edwards said pharmacies are “going to have to play a huge role in getting vaccinations into people’s arms as quickly as they can.”
“We’re definitely prepared to go 24-7, 365 days a year if we need to,” he said. “We want people back to regular life as quick as possible.”
Local pharmacists have also arranged for extra staff, bringing in licensed pharmacists and registered pharmacy technicians and ensuring they have been trained to administer the vaccinations.
“We’re just raring to go, just waiting for the go-ahead. As soon as we get the vaccines, we’re going to be ready to put them into people’s arms,” Boggio said.
Simpson said he plans to allocate appointments to patients as the vaccine becomes available, and he has an idea of how much he will receive.
“We’re expecting to sort of test our workflow on the first day or two and to see how much we can accommodate, and we’ll scale up as safely as we can,” Simpson said.
“We’ll be trying to do our best to get as many needles in arms as we possibly can.”
Edwards was pleased to see the list included pharmacy locations from throughout Niagara rather than just urban centres.
As an Ontario Pharmacists Association board member, he said the group worked hard to ensure rural pharmacies were involved in the expanded rollout, as well as “fair distribution into all different facets of pharmacies” including chains, big box stores and independent shops.
“People trust their pharmacists and we’re so accessible. It makes it easier for folks, especially in rural areas, instead of having to go into an urban centre to get vaccinations at a mass clinic,” Edwards said. “These are people they know and trust.”
The following pharmacies in Niagara are part of the vaccine program:
Shoppers Drug Mart, 3701 Portage Road;
Costco Pharmacy, 7500 Pin Oak Drive;
Walmart Pharmacy, 7481 Oakwood Drive;
Shoppers Drug Mart, 5125 Montrose Road;
Boggio Pharmacy, 6680 Drummond Road;
Rexall, 6484 Lundy’s Lane;
Shoppers Drug Mart, 387 Scott Street;
Walmart Pharmacy, 429 Vansickle Road;
Loblaw Pharmacy, 221 Glendale Avenue;
Shoppers Drug Mart, 42 St. Andrews Avenue;
Boggio Pharmacy, 200 Catherines Street;
Simpson’s Pharmacy, 1882 Niagara Stone Road;
Simpson’s Apothecary, 233 King Street;
Shoppers Drug Mart, Seaway Mall;
Shoppers Drug Mart, 595 South Pelham Road;
Loblaw Pharmacy, 821 Niagara Street;
Rexall, 399 King Street;
Boggio Pharmacy, 307 Ridge Road;
Rexall, 310 Garrison Road;
Crescent Park Pharmacy, 1264 Garrison Road;
Rexall, 4486 Ontario Street;
Shoppers Drug Mart, 144 Griffin Street.
Almost half of Shopify’s top execs to depart company: CEO
By Moira Warburton
(Reuters) – Three of e-commerce platform Shopify’s seven top executives will be leaving the company in the coming months, chief executive officer and founder of Canada‘s most valuable company Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday.
The company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all transition out of their roles, Lutke said, adding that they have been “spectacular and deserve to take a bow.”
“Each one of them has their individual reasons but what was unanimous with all three was that this was the best for them and the best for Shopify,” he said.
The trio follow the departure of Craig Miller, chief product officer, in September. Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.
Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the last year as many businesses went virtual during COVID-19 lockdowns. It has a market cap valuation of C$182.7 billion ($146 billion), above Canada‘s top lender Royal Bank of Canada.
It is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.
“We have a phenomenally strong bench of leaders who will now step up into larger roles,” Lutke said, but did not name replacements.
Shopify said in February revenue growth would slow this year as vaccine rollouts encourage people to return to stores and warned it does not expect 2020’s near doubling of gross merchandise volume, an industry metric to measure transaction volumes, to repeat this year.
Chief talent officer, Brittany Forsyth, was the 22nd employee hired at Shopify and has been with the company for 11 years. She said on Twitter that post-Shopify she would be focusing on Backbone Angels, an all-female collective of angel investors she co-founded in March.
Shopify shares fell 5.1% while the benchmark Canadian share index ended marginally down.
($1 = 1.2515 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Aurora Ellis)
CANADA STOCKS – TSX falls 0.14% to 19,201.28
* 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.
Air Canada signs C$5.9 billion government aid package, agrees to buy Airbus, Boeing jets
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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