Canada Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines — where is Canada at on approvals?
The COVID-19 vaccines are among those still awaiting a green light from Health Canada, but the shots are quickly picking up steam in other parts of the world. With shortfalls in deliveries from vaccines already approved -- Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech -- there is increasing pressure on the health agency to secure more options and get more shots into the arms of Canadians.
Canada approved- coronavirus on Friday, making it the third shot officially authorized in the country.
Thefollows that of Pfizer and Moderna, both of which also require two doses.
What are the differences between Canada’s approved COVID-19 vaccines? Here’s what we know
Now that Canada has approved AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine, Canada has secured more than enough doses to inoculate the entire country — but they aren't all the same.However, while all the vaccines have the same goal — to inoculate the recipient against COVID-19 — the vaccines are by no means identical.
The AstraZeneca shot is less effective in clinical trials than its rivals' injections — 62 per cent versus high 90s — but offers distinct benefits.
One major advantage is in logistics. The shot can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated temperatures, unlike its leading mRNA-based competitors, which require ultra-cold storage.
The authorization sets in motion an agreement for up to 20 million vaccine doses to gradually funnel into Canada, though Canada is not expecting to receive the shots until at least the second quarter of this year.
The delivery schedule for those doses is expected to be confirmed after the vaccine is approved. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this month he believes most of those 20 million doses will be delivered before Canada Day.
Coronavirus: 11 new cases in London-Middlesex; 8 in Elgin-Oxford, 10 in Sarnia-Lambton
As of Friday, the region's pandemic case tally stands at 6,143, of which 5,871 have resolved and 181 have died. The most recent death occurred on Feb. 12. All 11 of Friday's new cases are from London, with one aged 19 or younger, four in their 20s, one in their 40s, three in their 50s, and two in their 30s. No cases were reported involving anyone in their 30s or over the age of 70. Exposure source data is pending or undetermined for seven cases, while two cases each are listed as being due to close contact and to outbreak.
Canada will also receive up to 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX by the end of June.
With Pfizer and Moderna, the first doses were administered within days of Health Canada approval.
Health Canada has said the vaccine has been "a bit complicated" to review.
One of the reasons is because of a mix-up in how big the doses were during the clinical trials. Some volunteers only received a half dose at first, according to Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser.
The age of the trial participants also made it difficult to finalize the rules for how the vaccine is to be used and on whom.
The first two phases of AstraZeneca's trials did not include people over the age of 65.
There’s no ‘best’ vaccine, expert says as Canada OKs AstraZeneca shots
While Canadians may not get a choice about which COVID-19 vaccine to take, all three offer protection against severe illness, according to experts. © University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP, File In this undated file photo issued by the University of Oxford on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, a researcher in a laboratory at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England, works on the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. “All of these vaccines are good,” Dr. Bradly Wouters, executive vice-president of science and research at the University Health Network told Global News Friday.
Health Canada has approved the shot for all adults -- anyone 18 years and older. The agency said that while the vaccine was not tested on people over the age of 65, real-world data from countries already using the product suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups.
Studies point to benefits
More recent studies suggest the shot could offer a number of significant benefits. Preliminary findings from Oxford University, co-developer of the vaccine, hint that itand offers strong protection for three months on just a single dose.
So far, makers of all vaccines have said that their shots proved to be highly effective in protecting people from illness caused by the virus, but it was unclear whether the drugs could also suppress transmission of the virus.
It may also be a strong contender in the protection against COVID-19 variants, particularly the B.1.1.7 variant.
The companies have said that its vaccine has, which first began circulating in the U.K. but has since made a mark on Canada, particularly in Ontario and Alberta.
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on seniors
OTTAWA — A national panel of vaccine experts says provinces should not use the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on seniors, opening the door for provinces to start vaccinating younger populations with the newly authorized vaccine much earlier than expected. But similar advice initially issued in Europe began to be revisited Monday, with France overturning its earlier decision against using it on seniors, and Germany in the midst of reconsidering it.
However, preliminary data suggests the vaccine offers only “minimal protection against mild or moderate disease” from the B.1.351 variant. This variant was first found in South Africa and is now the dominant form of the coronavirus in that country. The findings caused the country to halt use of the product earlier this month.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, has drawn skepticism from Canadian experts, who
Oxford University, co-developer of the vaccine, has said its researchers were in the process of tweaking their product to better protect against the variant.
AstraZeneca's vaccine is also mired in some political controversy.
A bitter dispute between the drugmaker and the European Union has stirred threats of export controls that could block shipments to non-EU countries, like Canada.
Recently, the company has become embroiled in supply issues with the EU. It was initially reported the drugmaker would not be able to fulfill its second-quarter supply commitment to the EU due to production issues. However, the companyand insists the promise will be kept.
Canada is set to get its vaccines from factories in Europe.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has maintained that the possible measures from the EU would not hamper Canada's agreements on deliveries. The threat has so far not impacted deliveries from Canada’s other approved vaccines, such as Moderna.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has already been approved in several countries, including the U.K. and the EU. The World Health Organization also gave the shot its approval this month, allowing vaccinations to begin in developing countries.
From a global standpoint, its low cost is also a major advantage. It runs about $4 USD ($5 CAD) per dose.
AstraZeneca, which says it aims to manufacture up to three billion doses in 2021, has pledged to make their product available at cost around the world until at least July.
— with files from Reuters and the Canadian Press
Canada sees 2,812 new COVID-19 cases as country receives first AstraZeneca vaccine shipment .
Health authorities also reported 60 new fatalities related to COVID-19.Health authorities also said 60 more people had died after testing positive for COVID-19.