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Your COVID-19 vaccine rollout questions, answered – CTV News

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Right now that largely depends on how old you are, your occupation, and your health. Until the end of March the focus is on vaccinating health-care workers and seniors, though as each province expands its vaccination efforts, additional groups are becoming eligible.

Generally speaking, over the next few months, expect older Canadians to continue to be prioritized. After that, as the age scale moves down, expect more doses to be administered to people in higher-risk or essential jobs that have them on the front lines of the pandemic or often interacting with others.

With the recent pivot prompted by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)’s recommendation to delay second doses of the two-shot vaccines for up to four months, some provinces are promising that every adult should be able to have at least their first shot around June.

Prior to NACI’s update, the federal government estimated that up to 24.5 million Canadians could be fully vaccinated by the end of June, following the pharmaceutical companies’ approved intervals between doses. Since this shake-up to vaccine strategies, there hasn’t been an overall federal update on these projections.

As for how you will find out, provinces continue to hold regular press conferences updating on who is next in line for vaccinations. Also, for the most specific and up-to-date local information, visit our national roundup for details on the plan in or around your community.

Insert Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin. He is the military general leading the logistical rollout from inside the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Fortin and his team are responsible for receiving the shipments and then co-ordinating with each province and territory about the portion of each delivery that is being sent to each region, and ensuring they have the storage capacity and other requirements to receive them.

While this task seemed daunting enough with a small number of approved delivery and administration sites, new locations are regularly being set up as vaccine clinics, from Canada’s Wonderland amusement park near Toronto to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.

Other logistical factors to be considered include having enough immunizers to staff all the sites and the ability to quickly add more if one week’s delivery is particularly sizeable, as well as having adequate space for everyone passing through these facilities to be monitored for 15 minutes after their shots, said Mahesh Nagarajan, operations and logistics professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, in an interview with CTV News.

“There is going to be disruption, there is going to be changes, there is going to be a big shipment at one time and then nothing for a while. That’s the nature of supply. So you want to have your vaccination centers be able to absorb the variability in supply,” Nagarajan said.

In terms of how the doses are travelling, it depends on the vaccine. Because of the extreme cold storage requirements for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Pfizer contracted UPS to handle their deliveries and that’s been done through specialized containers designed to keep the shots cold enough. However, the vaccine transportation requirements have recently eased, allowing this shot to be transported at warmer temperatures, making it easier to move to more sites across Canada.

As for how the other vaccine doses are being transported, the federal government has contracted FedEx Express Canada and Innomar Strategies for an “end-to-end, COVID-19 vaccine logistics solution.”

This includes transporting the boxes of vaccines to administration points across Canada at the unique temperature requirements for the Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

At the time the contract was unveiled, president of Innomar Strategies Guy Payette told CTV News in an email that the storage facilities used along the cold chain “are equipped to store complex pharmaceutical products… are temperature-mapped and have a validated monitoring system to protect against temperature excursions.”

The biggest portion of the federal responsibility has been on the procurement end; from securing vaccine contracts to ensuring there are enough bandages, needles, syringes, alcohol swabs and any other immunization accoutrements in stock across Canada to support the vaccination effort. They are also collecting immunization data on a national level, and have offered to support provinces in their rollouts if needed.

Because Canada does not have sufficient domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, there has been a reliance on other nations in this push to get to the other side of this pandemic. The federal government has come under fire for that, after Canadian vaccine-making capabilities deteriorated over decades.

In an effort to be ready for the years ahead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in February a deal with Novavax to produce its COVID-19 vaccine at a new facility that is under construction in Montreal, but the pharmaceutical company isn’t expected to be ready to roll out doses domestically until the fall at the earliest.

While the prime minister has called it a “major step forward” it could be 2022 before this potential first made-in-Canada vaccine candidate is approved. There’s been some suggestion that the facilities under development could also be used should COVID-19 booster shots be required in years ahead. More on that below.

Yes, the provinces and territories are leading the decision making about where they want to see vaccine doses going, but it’s being largely based on national advice from NACI. Their recommendations are focused on prioritizing who is most at risk based on the availability of vaccines.

From there, the priority groups are also being narrowed down and specified based on the unique demographic situations in certain areas, like in the North or in communities where the variants are spreading.

This means that in the weeks ahead, people who are of a certain age group, work in certain occupations, or have underlying health conditions considered to put them at higher risk if they contracted COVID-19 could be getting vaccinated in one city, while people in the same situation two towns over may not.

According to NACI chair Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, having varying categories of vaccinated people isn’t the issue, the holes in immunity will continue to be there, and communities will be vulnerable to new outbreaks as long as there are people who haven’t been vaccinated.

“No one is happy with anything these days, but you have to start somewhere. And so the largest risk factor was age, regardless of everything else,” she said.

However, a difference in vaccine prioritizations could play a role down the line around the restrictions in place and whether those who are vaccinated are able to access aspects of pre-pandemic life before people who have yet to be immunized. More on that below.

It’s possible, and again it may depend on where you live. Some provinces, such as Nova Scotia, are offering certain demographics the choice between certain shots when booking their appointments.

With more vaccines becoming available, there have been ongoing questions around whether there will be an option depending on a person’s comfort level with the various degrees of efficacy demonstrated in clinical trials.

So far, while no one is going to be forced to take a shot they aren’t comfortable with, medical experts are cautioning against being choosy.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period that aired on Feb. 28, senior Health Canada adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said that people should feel confident in all of the authorized vaccines, and that all have shown to provide protection against COVID-19.

“Get the vaccine that is offered to you, it will provide some protection,” she said, noting that all of the vaccines given the green light so far have been shown to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.

Only time will tell. While Canada is set to start seeing a marked increase in the number of vaccines arriving, the question then becomes how quickly can the doses get into arms.

The other factor is, Canada’s vaccine campaign is getting a shot in the arm by having four approved vaccines to use and the pharmaceutical companies ramping up production — both factors at play in other countries as well.

So while Procurement Minister Anita Anand has said Canada should start to move up the list—one we slid considerably down over the winter—it’s possible we’ll continue to be outpaced. The United States, for example, has recently committed to having enough doses available in that country to wrap up its mass immunization effort in May. You can keep an eye on our international standings here.

No. Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo has said he’s optimistic the desire to get vaccinated will snowball as more people are able to be immunized. Generally speaking, he said, the number of people who are vaccine-hesitant is small, but PHAC is monitoring it and working on ways to solicit more buy-in.

“We don’t want to ignore them, we want to make sure that their vaccine confidence is reinforced by giving them the right information,” Njoo said about so-called “anti-vaxxers.”

As Nik Nanos, founder of Nanos Research, said on an episode of Trend Line released March 11, based on a recent survey, around eight out of every 10 Canadians say that they are definitely or probably going to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.

It’s possible down the line Canadians will have to receive a new needle to address a variant of concern that the existing vaccines show not to be effective at combating. It’s also possible people will need a to top-up on immunity over time, since it remains unclear how long the antibodies last from the currently approved vaccines. This is because they have only been in existence and in use for such a short period of time.

Quach said that NACI anticipates they will be called on to advise about a follow-up dose at some point down the line.

“The longest we have is three months in the clinical trials. And in real life, I mean, people started to get really vaccinated in January… So we’ll have to follow up on that as well,” she said. “We’re monitoring the data… We’ll see what the companies move forward with.”

As for whether Canada is ready to handle a mass booster or second major procurement effort, the jury is still out. As learned from an exchange between Conservative MP and health critic Michelle Rempel Garner and Dr. Roman Szumski of the vaccine acquisitions branch at PHAC at the House of Commons Health Committee on Feb. 19, the contracts currently in place make no mention of future booster shots.

“The current contracts that are in place do not reference the need for boosters. Those would be new conversations that we would enter into with the suppliers,” Szumski said, adding that there aren’t currently booster vaccines available.

“It’s going to be a while yet before that’s in play, but the discussions with them are on a rolling basis,” he said.

The specific percentage threshold hasn’t been settled on in Canada, with experts saying it’s going to depend on more than the percentage of people who are vaccinated. The spread of variants and number of hospitalizations will also play a role in the gradual rollback of restrictions.

“At this point, no one knows how many people need to be vaccinated, you know, what might be the sufficient level of vaccine coverage to get herd immunity, so that’s why I think we can’t just rely on vaccination,” Njoo said.

Public health officials have signalled that even when vaccines become widespread, there will need to be precautionary measures like frequent hand-washing, physical distancing and mask-wearing in place for some time.

“I don’t think we’ll ever get back to what normal was, you know, pre-COVID, I think it’d be a different kind of what normal is,” said Njoo.

Further, as Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on the March 11 episode of CTV News Channel’s Power Play, with so few people vaccinated so far, now is not the time to start talking about measures easing up, even for those who have been immunized.

It’s looking likely, at least when it comes to international travel. As Health Minister Patty Hajdu said on an episode of CTV’s Question Period that aired on March 7, discussions about introducing some form of vaccine passport are “very live” among the G7 countries.

While Hajdu wouldn’t say if it’s an idea Canada is pushing for—requiring some form of proof of vaccination to travel to Canada—she said other nations and industry groups are looking into the kind of evidence or documentation that could be requested in order to travel internationally.

It remains to be seen if some kind of domestic vaccine passport system could be developed, whether when it comes to travelling from province to province or to establish what activities like large sporting or cultural events would require showing proof of immunization to enter.

Some provinces have already said that there are plans in the works, but there hasn’t been a widespread Canadian conversation about the idea.

In an interview with CTV News, University of Toronto public health ethicist Alison Thompson said that there should be mass access to vaccines before vaccine passports come into play, or the country will start to see a two-tier system of people who can and can’t do certain things.

“Until we can ensure that everybody has an equal chance to get vaccinated, that that’s really going to create inequities in our society,” she cautioned. “It’s really tricky and I think it’s a conversation that I think needs to be happening in the public discourse, not just amongst policymakers and lawmakers, because it really will impact all of us.”

Edited by CTVNews.ca’s Ryan Flanagan and Sonja Puzic

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Wall Street’s plant-based love wilts

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By Siddharth Cavale and Uday Sampath Kumar

(Reuters) – A cooling of the U.S. stock market’s taste for plant-based meat makers has raised doubts among some investors and analysts about Impossible Foods’ plans to achieve a $10 billion flotation.

Impossible is seeking to go public through an initial public offering or via a merger with a blank-check company within the next 12 months, sources told Reuters this month.

The market value of larger competitor Beyond Meat, however, has sunk from a peak of $14 billion to closer to $8.5 billion and is predicted by several brokerages to fall further.

Both firms carry expectations of being big players in a so-called faux meat market which some predict could be worth $85 billion a year by 2030 as dietary habits shift.

But with retail sales of some products sliding, four sectoral investors told Reuters that Beyond’s 420% rise in value since listing in September 2019 was now seen as overcooked.

“It’s pretty shocking when you see some of these valuations come out,” said Patrick Morris, whose Eat Beyond vehicle has invested in three Canada-listed plant-based ventures.

“The $10 billion for Impossible Foods, with Beyond Meat at $8 or $8.5 billion? The first reaction is that these valuations are coming from outer space,” added Morris, who said he is looking at investing in Impossible if it opens its books.

Some existing investors have told Impossible that it should aim to go public at a valuation below where Beyond is trading, a person familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

Impossible declined to comment.

BIG DEALS

While the signs remain positive for plant-based food, COVID-19 has halted restaurant sales, and sector studies suggest that the industry has yet to convincingly win over shoppers.

Nevertheless, both Beyond and Impossible have signed deals with major restaurant and grocery chains and the U.S. industry as a whole grew by 44% last year during the pandemic.

Revenues at Beyond and some other producers are growing, but the rate of volume sales growth of fresh and fully cooked plant-based meat alternatives has been declining steadily at U.S. retail stores since July last year, NielsenIQ data shows.

Unit sales growth eased from 32.6% in the July to September period last year to 1% in January to March quarter of 2021, when compared to the same period a year ago, the data showed.

Beyond’s sales overall were still just $407 million last year, and its stock trades at nearly 21 times sales per share, according to Refinitiv data, versus 1.6 times and 1.9 times for Kellogg Co and Kraft Heinz, which last year had sales of $13.78 billion and $26.19 billion respectively.

“Food companies need to trade in a multiple that has some logic to it,” said Christopher Kerr, Chief Investment Officer at Unovis Asset Management, an early investor in Beyond Meat who cashed out and now holds stakes in Oatly and Zero Egg.

“The question is can they get to something that represents market valuation tied to revenues … right now we’re seeing some pretty premium valuations out there,” Kerr added.

 

Graphic: Beyond Meat market cap – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/buzz/jznpnandjvl/Beyond%20market%20cap.PNG

 

SPAC BOOM

One reason for the valuation floated for Impossible is the boom in special-purpose acquisition deals and initial offerings that has seen big jumps for a range of start-ups at launch.

Brian Schaeffer, managing director of private equity trading platform InvestX, which allows investors to trade in pre-IPO companies, said Impossible had been one of the top five traded stocks on the platform since introducing it this year.

“The SPAC trend is super aggressive right now …so those kind of public valuations are being translated into interest on the private platforms,” Schaeffer added.

Some market debuts, however, have not gone as well.

British-based food delivery service Deliveroo flopped on its debut last month.

While Impossible does not publish sales numbers, some industry estimates give it a less than 4% share of the U.S. imitation meat industry, compared with Beyond Meat’s 25%.

Beyond has signed deals with McDonald’s, PepsiCo and KFC and Taco Bell owner Yum Brands while Impossible last year gave up on McDonald’s, citing its inability to supply on the required scale.

Impossible’s burgers and sausages are available at only 20,000 stores globally, versus Beyond’s 122,000 and it is still seeking regulatory approval in Europe and mainland China, where the genetically modified yeast it uses is banned.

“There is so much money (from SPACs) looking for so few places to go, because the space is so new,” Curt Albright, managing member of alternative protein investment firm Clear Current Capital said.

“Whether the valuations are too much or too little, that the market will figure out eventually.”

 

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Uday Sampath Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Alexander Smith)

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The Art of Finding Work

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By Nick Kossovan

Interviews Are Modern Greek Tragedies

Odds are the person interviewing you has a similar story as mine—they developed their interviewing skills “on the job.” Executives and managers are thrust into the recruiting part of their job without first developing skills to evaluate talent.

Outside of human resources, those whose job requires them to assess and interview candidates get little to no training. I never received any formal training regarding how to interview and evaluate a candidate. Yet, I’ve interviewed 1,000’s throughout my career.

I admit I stumbled through my first 150 – 200 interviews. I developed my interviewing skills, a skill I knew would serve me well, on job candidates, which I now admit was unfair to them.

Hiring the right people who’ll fit with the position, team and company can’t be overstated. I keep British-American author Simon Sinek’s words top of mind, “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for the money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

Since finding work is seeking approval, I often think of interviews as conduits to modern Greek tragedies.

We spend much of our youth and adulthood seeking approval, trying to “fit in” with the right clothes, car, house, job, etc. We’re constantly aware we’re being judged—a cause of much of why we second-guess ourselves and the stress this causes.

 

  • Am I good enough?
  • Do I fit in?

 

You desperately want to hear, “We want you.”

WARNING: Three interview truths coming.

  • When interviewing, everything goes into “the mix”—past hiring mistakes, bias, prejudices, commonalities.
  • At the core of every hiring decision is gut feel.
  • Likability is the most valuable currency a job seeker has, trumping education, skills, and experience.

 

When a candidate is sitting in front of me, I’m asking myself:

  • Will this person fit in with the current team members and the company’s culture?
  • Will this person be seen as a good hire by my boss and peers, and the team? (A bad hire = bad judgment, which is an X against my reputation.)

Acing an interview is extremely hard. Much of your success depends on whom you’re speaking to, and humans are the ultimate moving target. The best you can hope for is to stack the odds in your favour and hope your interviewer is in a good mood.

Keep top of mind: An interview is a sales meeting, and hiring is a business arrangement.

When interviewing, your job is to establish rapport (READ: connection), build trust and achieve the following goals of making the interviewer:

  • Believe in you.
  • See you as a fit.

You achieve these goals by:

  • Clearly demonstrating what value you can bring to the employer. Connect how yourtrack record, which needs to be quantified; otherwise, it’s just your opinion, would be an asset to the employer.
  • Presenting yourself as a problem solver. If you look at work holistically, you’ll realize every position within an organization exists to solve a problem(s). How can your experience and skills solve the problem(s) the position you applied to exists to solve?
  • Asking good questions. By asking good questions, your interviewer will talk about their pain points. You can then explain (sell yourself) how you’d go about solving their pain point.

Three things worth noting and using as guidance when interviewing:

  • An employer will hire you if they’re convinced you’ll bring more value than you cost, therefore offer as much value as possible.
  • Problem solvers, those with a proven track record of solving their employer’s pain points, will always be in demand.
  • People don’t have short attention spans. They have short interest spans. Make your interviewer interested in you!

 

There’s no blueprint to guarantee interview success. All you can do is stack the odds in your favour as much as possible. However, there’s one universal interview rule that’ll tip the odds in your favour: Always tell the person sitting across from you what they want to hear. When you develop the ability to read your interviewer and comfortably offer solutions to their pain points, you’ll have developed solid interviewing skills. Such skills will mitigate the number of Greek tragedies you’ll experience while job searching.

______________________________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

 

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Judge Rules to delay Huawei CFO’s extradition hearings

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By Moira Warburton

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – A Canada judge has agreed to delay Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s U.S. extradition hearings for three months, according to a ruling read in court on Wednesday, handing her defense team a win.

Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on charges of bank fraud in the United States for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.

Meng’s team had asked for more time to review additional documents that became available after HSBC and Huawei reached a settlement in Hong Kong. Extradition hearings were originally set to wrap up in May.

Defense attorney Richard Peck argued in court on Monday that they were requesting “a modest frame of time” to be able to read the documents and potentially file them as evidence in the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Lawyers representing the attorney general of Canada had fought the adjournment of hearings set to start on Monday, arguing that Meng’s team had been given more time than was usual in an extradition to make their case, and the contents of the documents were too redacted to be relied upon as significant to the case.

“The outstanding feature of this application is that it’s based on speculation,” prosecutor Robert Frater said on Monday.

But Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes disagreed, siding with the defense in granting an adjournment.

Her reasons will be read out on in court on April 28.

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)

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