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Vaccine manufacturers concerned about provinces delaying second doses: Anand – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
While Canada’s top immunization experts have signed off on provinces delaying the administration of the second Pfizer and Moderna doses in an effort to begin vaccinating more people with a small supply, Procurement Minister Anita Anand says she’s heard concerns from the manufacturers that may impact future deliveries.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period airing on Sunday, Anand said that some drug companies have brought up concerns with Canada or other countries not following the recommended usage protocols set out by the vaccine manufactures, as they are based on data from their clinical trials.

“That has not directly impacted our deliveries to date, but it has been a concern that vaccine corporations have raised with us in our discussions,” Anand said. While she would not say whether a company has outright said it would withhold future doses, she said the issue has come up in negotiations.

“It is still a recommendation from the manufacturers that we are hearing at the table” to follow their protocols, she said.

This week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) approved delaying administering second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for up to 42 days. The decision was made in the face of rising cases and strained hospitals.

The two vaccines that have been approved in Canada so far – made by PfizerBioNTech and Moderna — require two separate doses in order to achieve 94-95 per cent immunity for the patient.

These doses are spaced apart. Pfizer’s second dose is intended to be delivered 21 days after the first, while Moderna’s has a 28-day wait in between the doses.

The report from NACI stated that while the ideal is to follow the vaccine manufacturers’ recommendations, people can wait longer — 42 days or so for the second dose — in order to allow double the number of Canadians to get some partial protection by receiving their first shot faster.

However, contrary to NACI’s recommendations, Quebec public health officials have announced they plan to prolong second doses in that province for up to 90 days between the first and second dose, and Ontario indicated on Friday that given the upcoming temporary Pfizer shortage that province may also extend the timeframe between doses. 

SOME TRIAL PARTICIPANTS HAD DOSE DELAYS

In a separate interview on CTV’s Question Period, NACI chair Dr. Caroline chair Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh said that while Pfizer and Moderna have recommended shorter windows between vaccinations, in phase three trials for both vaccines, candidates received their second dose up to 42 days after the first.

“So the actual vaccine efficacy that are reported in those trials are covering a span from 21 to 42 days. It’s impossible to say if people who got their second dose at 42 days are protected better, less, or worse than the ones that got it before,” she said.

She’s suggesting Quebec conduct surveillance to ensure the vaccine remains effective if the second shot is given so late after the first.

“If we had enough doses to vaccinate all the high-risk groups right away with it two doses, we would stick to label. But at one point in time if you have to choose between vaccinating only a small proportion of your population, and let the variant spread very quickly, there’s no health gains here,” she said.

With files from CTV News’ Alexandra Mae Jones, CTV Montreal and CTV Toronto.  

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Global National: March 1 | AstraZeneca vaccine not recommended for Canadians over age 65 – Global News

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  1. Global National: March 1 | AstraZeneca vaccine not recommended for Canadians over age 65  Global News
  2. AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ‘not recommended’ in people 65 and older: NACI  CTV News
  3. AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaxine not recommended for seniors in Canada  CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
  4. Europe must get its act together with Covid vaccine rollout  Telegraph.co.uk
  5. Pfizer and AZ Covid jabs ‘highly effective’ in elderly: UK study  RFI
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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Will Alberta ease more COVID-19 restrictions on Monday? Kenney, Hinshaw to give update at 4:30 – CTV Edmonton

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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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SoftBank-backed Compass makes IPO filing public, reveals revenue jump

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(Reuters) – Real estate brokerage firm Compass Inc published its filing for an initial public offering and revealed a 56% surge in revenue helped by a strong housing market on Monday.

Compass, which runs an integrated software platform that serves real estate agents in the residential real estate market, has been lifted by the COVID-19 pandemic as more people prefer to buy and sell homes online.

The New York-based startup said its revenue rose to $3.72 billion in 2020 from $2.39 billion a year earlier, while net loss narrowed to $270.2 million from $388 million a year ago. (https://bit.ly/3r9aY7F)

The strong growth came in contrast to a dim outlook the company had when the coronavirus first hit the United States a year ago. It laid off 15% of its employees and predicted a 50% decline in revenue.

Compass was founded in 2012 by Ori Allon, a former director of engineering at Twitter Inc, and Robert Reffkin, who worked at Goldman Sachs earlier. The firm covers 46 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States and works with over 19,000 agents. It generates revenue from commissions paid for transactions on the platform.

The company has raised $1.5 billion from investors including Soft Bank Group Corp, Goldman Sachs and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. It was valued at $6.4 billion after its $370 million funding round in 2019.

Other public-listed brokerages including Redfin Corp and Zillow Group Inc, have seen their shares rebounding strongly from last March’s lows.

Compass had confidentially filed to go public in January. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays are the underwriters for its offering.

 

(This story corrects name of founders in para 5)

 

 

 

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel, Shinjini Ganguli and Jonathan Oatis)

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