However, while all the vaccines have the same goal — to inoculate the recipient against COVID-19 — the vaccines are by no means identical.
And while Canada’s contracts secure enough doses from the three manufacturers to vaccinate everyone in the country by September, not everyone will be getting the same kind of jab.
Global News has broken down the key details of the three vaccines to help you understand which dose is going into your arm.
What kinds of COVID-19 vaccines are available?
- Pfizer: mRNA
- Moderna: mRNA
- AstraZeneca: adenovirus-based
All of these vaccines use fairly new vaccine technologies, but they don’t all use the same kind.
Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines use mRNA technology, which delivers genetic instructions for our cells to make viral proteins themselves. The body then begins to train itself to fight these proteins, building its immunity to the same protein found in COVID-19.
Coronavirus: The science behind the new Covid-19 mRNA vaccines
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine works differently. It was built using a kind of virus called an adenovirus, which causes colds in chimpanzees. These adenovirus-based vaccines represent a newly approved method of vaccination that has been studied for decades. The adenovirus is altered to carry a gene for the coronavirus protein, which can then train a person’s immune system to recognize the actual coronavirus if it ever enters the body.
How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?
- Pfizer: 95 per cent
- Moderna: 94.1 per cent
- AstraZeneca: 62 per cent
Each of the vaccines has been found to be effective in combatting the coronavirus. However, they don’t all offer the same amount of protection.
Pfizer and Moderna have a photo-finish for first place in terms of effectiveness. Clinical trials found Pfizer’s vaccine was 95 per cent effective, while Moderna’s vaccine nipped at Pfizer’s heels with an effectiveness of 94.1 per cent.
The distant bronze goes to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which was found to be 62 per cent effective in a two-dose clinical trial.
Tracking the global race to vaccinate against COVID-19
However, researchers accidentally gave a sub-group of participants a half-dose on their first jab of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, followed up by a full second dose. This group saw a leap in the vaccine’s ability to shield them from the virus, with the outcome proving to be 90 per cent effective.
Because this was just a sub-group within the clinical trial, the vaccine was only approved for use in its full, two-dose iteration — which is over 30 per cent less effective than Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines.
Still, at the end of the day, Canadians should feel confident that any one of the three approved vaccines will cut off COVID-19’s claws and protect them from the worst outcomes of the virus.
“If there is a vaccine and it’s been authorized by Health Canada, it means that it’s met standards,” said Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical advisor with the regulatory branch of Health Canada, said on Friday.
She explained that in clinical trials, all the vaccines were found to quash the worst outcomes in coronavirus patients.
“The number of cases of people that died from COVID-19 that got vaccine was zero. The number of people that were hospitalized because their COVID-19 disease was so severe was zero. The number of people that died because of an adverse event or an effect of the vaccine was zero,” Sharma said.
“So in the areas where we’re really looking to prevent serious illness, prevent hospitalizations and of course prevent death, all of these vaccines are good.”
How are the COVID-19 vaccines stored?
- Pfizer: -70°C
- Moderna: -25°C to -15°C
- AstraZeneca: 2°C to 8°C
Just like people, some of these vaccines are pickier than others about the temperature they like to hang around in.
Of the three vaccines, Pfizer is the most particular — and it likes things chilly. This vaccine requires ultra-cold storage, meaning it has to be transported and stored at -70 C. This makes the vaccine tricky to ship to remote regions, where the appropriate infrastructure is far more difficult to set up.
Coronavirus: Tam says she has received no reports of COVID-19 vaccine ‘wastage’
Enter the Moderna vaccine, which is a little less discerning. While this vaccine still likes the cold, it isn’t quite as particular as the Pfizer jab. The Moderna doses can be stored in a freezer between -25 C and -15 C. That’s why the territories have been guaranteed priority access to this particular vaccine, as it’s much easier to safely transport and store.
This category is also where AstraZeneca’s vaccine truly shines. The doses can be stored at normal fridge temperature — meaning the doses are much easier to both ship and keep.
How many doses of each COVID-19 vaccine are required?
- Pfizer: two
- Moderna: two
- AstraZeneca: two
Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca’s vaccines are all two-dose shots — leaving little room for relief for those Canadians who get sweaty palms at the very thought of needles.
Some, including the head of Ontario’s vaccine rollout Gen. Rick Hillier, have pushed for Moderna to be approved as a single-dose vaccine, as the jab has proven to be about 80 per cent effective after the first injection.
However, no clinical trials have been conducted to prove whether that inoculation lasts long-term — and Moderna hasn’t shown any interest in conducting further trials to determine if less effective, one-time vaccine is a safe and effective option.
Who can take the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Pfizer: 16+
- Moderna: 18+
- AstraZeneca: 18+
While Canada is on track to have tens of millions of doses available to Canadians this year, not everyone who may want the vaccine will be able to take it.
Pfizer’s clinical trials were only conducted on those over the age of 16, which means that until further studies are completed in younger age groups, anyone under 16 years old is ineligible for the jab. The same issue comes into play for both Moderna and AstraZeneca, which only conducted their clinical trials on Canadians over the age of 18.
When will kids be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Experts weigh in
Moderna is currently conducting additional studies in children over 12 years old, so teens may be able to access the jabs once that work is done.
However, age isn’t the only limitation those hoping to be vaccinated may face. Anyone who is allergic to the ingredients in the vaccines is not allowed to receive the injections, and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers have been asked to consult their doctors before moving ahead with their vaccinations.
Finally, if you have COVID-19, you can’t get the vaccine until you’re better.
How many doses is Canada getting?
- Pfizer: 40 million doses
- Moderna: 40 million doses
- AstraZeneca: 20 million doses
Out of the three approved vaccines, individual Canadians are most likely to wind up receiving the Moderna vaccine. Canada’s agreement with Moderna is for 40 million doses — although the feds have the option of purchasing another 16 million in addition to that. The 40 million doses are enough to inoculate 20 million Canadians, over half of the population.
Meanwhile, Canada has 40 million Pfizer doses secured in its agreement with the manufacturer. That’s enough to inoculate another 20 million Canadians, which means that between Pfizer and Moderna alone, Canada has enough doses to vaccine every Canadian and then some.
Trudeau confirms Pfizer vaccine delivery schedule, reiterates promise of COVID-19 vaccines for all Canadians ‘who want one’ by September
As for the agreement with AstraZeneca, Canada has purchased 20 million doses — enough to vaccine another 10 million Canadians. That means that between the three agreements, Canada has enough doses to inoculate 40 million people, which is more than the entire population, within the year.
Should Canada opt to purchase more of any of the vaccines, there’s no guarantee they’d arrive any faster than the initial 80 million doses. Any additional doses would be entirely dependent on the manufacturer’s production capacity, which is under serious strain as every country battles to get the vaccines.
Either way, Canada’s current vaccine agreements point in an optimistic direction: every Canadian who wants a vaccine should be able to access one in 2021.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
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