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WestJet planning to fly 737 Max jets this month, pending Transport Canada OK – CBC.ca

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WestJet says it plans to resume flying its fleet of 737 Max aircraft later this month, pending approval by Transport Canada.

The announcement follows comments by Transport Canada late last year that safety experts had validated the aircraft design changes and outlined requirements for Canadian carriers to bring it a step closer to resuming flights.

The Boeing 737 Max aircraft has been grounded for nearly two years after technical issues led to deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the Max for flight, as long as carriers implement certain design fixes and provide specialized training to pilots.

WestJet says pending approval of the aircraft for commercial flights by Canadian authorities its first flight is set for Jan. 21.

It says it plans to operate three round-trip flights per week between Calgary and Toronto for four weeks, while it evaluates further routes and additional flights.

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Norway warns of vaccination side-effects, deaths in some patients over 80 – Global News

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Norwegian officials have adjusted their advice on who gets the COVID-19 vaccine in light of a small number of deaths in older people, leaving it up to each doctor to consider who should be vaccinated.

The Norwegian Medicines Agency on Thursday reported a total of 29 people had suffered side effects, 13 of them fatal. All the deaths occurred among patients in nursing homes and all were over the age of 80.

The agency listed fever and nausea as side effects which “may have led to the deaths of some frail patients,” Sigurd Hortemo of the Norwegian Medicines Agency said in the body’s first report of the side effects.

Read more:
No serious side-effects from COVID-19 vaccines so far, Health Canada says

More than 30,000 people have received the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine in the Scandinavian country since the end of December, according to official figures.

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“We are not alarmed by this. It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients,” Steinar Madsen, medical director with the agency, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

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“Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated. Those who are very frail and at the very end of life can be vaccinated after an individual assessment,” he added.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks'



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Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks


Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks

Earlier this week, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said that “any side effects of the vaccine will be outweighed by a reduced risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 for elderly, frail people.”

It added that “for very frail patients and terminally ill patients, a careful balance of benefit versus disadvantage of vaccination is recommended.”

In its report, the Norwegian Medicines Agency said that 21 women and eight men had side effects. Beside those who died, the agency said nine had serious side effects without a fatal consequence and seven had less serious side effects. The nine patients had allergic reactions, strong discomfort and severe fever while the less serious side effects included severe pain at the injection site.

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Read more:
Coronavirus vaccine a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for LTC homes

Overall, Norway has seen 57,279 cases and reported 511 deaths.

Across the world, officials expect deaths and other severe side effects to be reported after any mass vaccination campaign given the huge numbers of people involved. But determining whether or not the vaccine caused deaths can be very challenging and requires that all other potential causes be ruled out first.

The United Kingdom and the United States have also reported a number of cases of side effects that had fatal consequences.

The European Medicines Agency said Friday that it will receive and consider monthly safety reports from companies authorized to sell vaccines, starting in January with the Pfizer jab.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Canadian home sales see a record December — and a record 2020 – CBC.ca

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National home sales set an all-time record in December, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported Friday.

Sales were up 47.2 per cent compared to December 2019, the largest year-over-year increase in monthly sales in 11 years.

The spike in sales from November to December, 7.2 per cent, was driven by gains of more than 20 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Greater Vancouver.

It was a new record for the month of December by a margin of more than 12,000 transactions.

For the sixth straight month, sales activity was up in almost all Canadian housing markets compared to the same month in 2019.

It was also a record for the entire year.

Average home price up 17%

Almost 552,000 homes traded hands over Canadian MLS systems — a new annual record. It was an increase of 12.6 per cent from 2019 and 2.3 per cent more than the previous record year, 2016. 

The actual national average home price was a record $607,280 in December, up 17.1 per cent from the final month of 2019.

The CREA said that excluding Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, two of the most active and expensive markets, lowers the national average price by almost $130,000.

This chart by the Canadian Real Estate Association shows the dip in sales as the pandemic began and the subsequent rebound. (Canadian Real Estate Association)

Many of the areas with the biggest price gains last month were in Ontario, including Belleville, Simcoe, Ingersoll, Woodstock and the Lakelands region, where prices were up more than 30 per cent from December 2019.

Areas with more modest price growth included Calgary and Edmonton, where prices rose 1.5 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.

TD expects sales and prices to cool

“What a fitting end to a surprisingly strong year,” TD Bank economist Rishi Sondhi said in a note to clients. “Relative strength in high-wage employment, record low mortgage rates, rising supply of homes available for purchase and solid demand for larger units all supported exceptional sales and price growth last year.

“Looking ahead, we’re expecting sales and prices to cool somewhat from their robust pace in the first quarter. However, December’s surprisingly strong performance makes hitting our forecast a tougher proposition.”

Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s senior economist, said in a statement that Canada faces a “major supply problem” in 2021.

“On New Year’s Day there were fewer than 100,000 residential listings on all Canadian MLS systems, the lowest ever based on records going back three decades,” he said.

“Compare that to five years ago, when there was a quarter of a million listings available for sale. So we have record-high demand and record-low supply to start the year. How that plays out in the sales and price data will depend on how many homes become available to buy in the months ahead.”

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Quebec confirms it will delay second vaccine dose for CHSLD residents and staff – Montreal Gazette

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On Feb. 15, Quebec will begin vaccinating seniors ages 80 and over who live at home.

Health officials told the Montreal Gazette this week that they aren’t ready to release details about the next phase of vaccination plan.

Public health authorities say they’re closely monitoring seniors in CHSLDs who have received the first dose to make sure it’s still effective weeks later, said Richard Massé, a public health epidemiologist.

Massé defended Quebec’s decision to ignore a recommendation by the National Advisory Committee on Vaccination, which said if provinces delay administering the second dose due to logistical or epidemiological reasons, it should be given with 42 days of the first dose.

On Thursday, Canada’s Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, which includes the Chief Medical Officer of Health from each province and territory, also weighed in on Quebec’s plan, saying if the second dose is extended beyond 42 days, “the impact on people vaccinated must be closely monitored.”

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