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Canada COVID-19: Canada approves J&J single-dose vaccine; Pfizer speeds up deliveries; Stay-home orders in Toronto area, North Bay to be lifted

21:07  05 march  2021
21:07  05 march  2021 Source:   ottawacitizen.com

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a hand holding a toy: FILE PHOTO: A lab worker holds a vial of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine . © Provided by Ottawa Citizen FILE PHOTO: A lab worker holds a vial of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine .

What you need to know, at a glance

  • Canada will get an extra 1.5 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine this month as deliveries are “ahead of schedule.”
  • Another one million doses — originally set to arrive in the summer — are now expected in both April and May
  • Canada had contracts for six million total doses by the end of March, but with the accelerated shipments, will now receive eight million doses
  • Canada can expect 12.8 million Pfizer doses arriving from April to June.
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the fourth COVID-19 shot approved for use in Canada and the only one that requires just a single dose.
  • Canada has pre-purchased 10 million doses of the J&J product with options to buy another 28 million doses.
  • In clinical trials, the vaccine was shown to be 66 per cent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, and also effective against variants of concern
  • Stay-at-home orders will be lifted for hard-hit Toronto, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound District public health regions.
  • Toronto and Peel go to Grey-Lockdown, North Bay to Red-Control level
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit, was moved to the Yellow-Protect category from the Green category
  • Ottawa remains in Orange category, despite warnings from medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches that cases were rising
  • Ontario had 1,250 new confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • There were 337 new cases in Toronto, 167 in Peel and 129 in York Region.
  • In other health units in the region: Eastern Ontario saw 11 new cases; Hastings Prince Edward had one new case; Kingston had four new cases; Leeds, Grenville & Lanark health had seven, and Renfrew County and District saw four more.
  • The province confirmed 155 new cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, for a total of 799. There were no new reports of B.1.351 (South African) variant or P.1 (Brazil) variant.
  • 820,714 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
  • Ottawa Public Health reported 49 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths Friday.
  • There have now been 14,999 confirmed cases in Ottawa and 442 deaths
  • There are 502 active cases in the city
  • Ottawa’s daily test positivity average is 2.1 per cent for the past week, weekly average rate of infection is 38.7 cases per 100,000 population and the R(t) number — another key indicator measuring the secondary cases generated by a single confirmed COVID-19 infection — is now at 1.04 over the past week.
  • Ottawa has now administered 57,670 of the 71,180 total doses it has received.
  • Ottawa’s medical officer of health said Friday a third wave of COVID-19 seems to be on the way
  • Dr. Vera Etches cited recent results from the uOttawa/CHEO wastewater testing that measures the presence of COVID-19 in sewage.
  • Quebec reported another 798 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, for a total of 291,175 since the pandemic began
  • There are 617 people hospitalized (up by nine), with 111 in ICU (four fewer than Thursday).
  • The Outaouais registered 23 new cases, for a total of 6,425, and two new deaths, for a total of 163
  • Another 18,234 doses of vaccine were administered on Thursday, bringing the total to 510,479

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Canada will get an extra 1.5 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine delivered this month as deliveries are “moving ahead of schedule.”

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Another one million doses will arrive in both April and May. Those doses were originally set to arrive in the summer.

The national vaccination effort slowed sharply in January while Pfizer upgraded production lines at a major factory in Belgium.

Canada had contracts for six million total doses by the end of March, but with the accelerated shipments, will now receive eight million doses by the end of the month. Canada can expect 12.8 million Pfizer doses arriving from April to June.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the fourth distinct COVID-19 shot approved for use in Canada and the first and only one Canada has purchased that requires just a single dose.

Canada has pre-purchased 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, developed by subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Canada has options to buy another 28 million doses.

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The vaccine can be stored and transported at refrigerated temperatures for at least three months, facilitating distribution across the country, Health Canada noted in a statement Friday morning.

It has been approved for use in adults over the age of 18 and clinical trials are underway to see if it will be safe for children, Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said Friday.

“This will be important research to support vaccine availability for Canadians of all ages,” she said.

In clinical trials, the vaccine was shown to be 66 per cent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, and was also shown to provide protection against some of the variants of the virus currently in circulation.

Health Canada has also approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstaZeneca. The regulator includes a fifth on its list of authorized shots: Covishield, which is a separate brand name for doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced at the Serum Institute of India.

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Apart from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they all require two shots spaced weeks or months apart.

They all have varying levels of efficacy, and are being allocated in part based on what ages they are approved for and their differing shipping and storage requirements.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is in charge of helping shape the guidelines around who gets what and when, taking into account not just scientific information but demographic factors, supply and capacity for the provinces to deliver.

Sharma stressed no matter which vaccines Canadians get, the drug will help protect them from getting COVID-19, as well as becoming seriously ill.

“What’s really important is whether any of the vaccines will prevent you from being hospitalized, or dying of COVID-19. We know that all of the vaccines will protect you.”

Joelle Paquette, the director general for vaccines at Public Services and Procurement Canada, says the 10 million doses are to arrive by September.

It’s not expected any will flow to Canada until at least April.

“At the moment, we are still in discussion with Johnson & Johnson to determine where their doses will be coming from and the delivery schedule,” Paquette said Thursday.

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There remains only one more vaccine currently under review by Health Canada, called Novavax, and Sharma said a decision on whether it can be used in Canada is weeks or maybe even months away.

Ontario news

Ontario is moving three hard-hit regions out of shutdown and into the provincial recovery framework.

Stay-at-home orders will be lifted for Toronto, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound District public health regions.

“Based on a general improvement in trends of key indicators, North Bay Parry Sound District will be returning to the Framework at the Red-Control level,” Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams said in a release Friday,

“Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health are also making progress, but as their case rates still remain high, they will return to the Framework at the Grey-Lockdown level.”

Several other health units were shuffled to other designations Friday, including Renfrew County and District Health Unit, which was moved to the Yellow-Protect category from the Green category, after a recent rise in cases and other issues.

Ottawa is not on the list of units changing designation, even though Dr. Vera Etches had said recently that troubling data in the capital indicated a possible move of the region from the Orange category to the Red level, with more serious restrictions.

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Meanwhile, after several days of lower totals, new cases of COVID-19 showed an increase Friday.

Ontario had 1,250 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter Friday.

Cases in the provincial hotspots in the Greater Toronto Area are climbing, with 337 new cases in Toronto, 167 in Peel and 129 in York Region.

The provincial government is to announce Friday if Toronto and/or Peel will be taken out of stay-at-home status and return to the provincial framework.

Ontario reported 22 new deaths due to COVID-19, 1,159 cases were listed as resolved.

Ottawa registered 63 new cases according to provincial data. Ontario data can differ from Ottawa Public Health statistics because the data are collected at different times of the day.

OPH reports its own data later in the day.

In other health units in the region: Eastern Ontario saw 11 new cases; Hastings Prince Edward had one new case; Kingston had four new cases; Leeds, Grenville & Lanark health had seven, and Renfrew County and District saw four more.

The province confirmed 155 new cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, for a total of 799. There were no new reports of B.1.351 (South African) variant or P.1 (Brazil) variant.

More than 64,700 tests were completed across the province Thursday, and 820,714 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

Ottawa news

Ottawa Public Health reported 49 new COVID-19 cases Friday.

There have now been 14,999 confirmed cases in Ottawa and 442 deaths. No new deaths were reported Friday.

There are 502 active cases in the city, a figure that has remained relatively flat recently after showing steady, gradual declines through much of February.

COVID-19: Canada approves J&J single-dose vaccine; Pfizer speeds up deliveries; Stay-home orders in Toronto area, North Bay to be lifted

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Ottawa remains in the Orange (Restrict) zone of the provincial framework, with intermediate measures in place, though key indicators have the city verging on the Red (Control) level.

Ottawa’s daily test positivity average is 2.1 per cent for the past week, and that rate must remain below 2.4 per cent to remain in Orange.

Ottawa’s weekly average rate of infection is 38.7 cases per 100,000 population. That rate must remain under 40 cases per 100,000 population to remain in Orange.

The R(t) number — another key indicator measuring the secondary cases generated by a single confirmed COVID-19 infection — must be between 1.0 and 1.1 to remain in Orange.

Ottawa’s R(t) number has remained relatively flat, and is now at 1.04 over the past week.

Any number above 1.0 indicates the virus is spreading in the community, any score under 1.0 indicates the spread is coming under control.

On the vaccination front, Ottawa received an additional 9,360 Pfizer doses on Wednesday and has now administered 57,670 of the 71,180 total doses received.

Ottawa’s medical officer of health said Friday a third wave of COVID-19 seems to be on the way, and increased vaccines won’t be enough to halt the spread, at least in the first stages.

Etches cited recent results from the uOttawa/CHEO wastewater that measures the presence of COVID-19 in sewage.

“It’s apparent in the wastewater and that’s been a pretty reliable predictor,” said Etches said in an interview on CBC.

It will still be a few months until vaccination has an impact on the general population, she said. She said masking and keeping distance continue to be the best practices in stopping the spread.

At the same time, vaccine appointments were made available to more Ottawans this week.

The booking system is now up and running for Ottawa’s public vaccine clinics, with people in some higher-risk neighbourhoods attending the first appointments Friday.

Quebec news

Quebec reported another 798 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the province since the start of the pandemic to 291,175. Of them, 7,290 are active.

Ten more deaths were also reported, bringing Quebec’s death toll to 10,455.

There are 617 people hospitalized (up by nine), with 111 in ICU (four fewer than Thursday).

The Outaouais registered 23 new cases, for a total of 6,425, and two new deaths, bringing the toll to 163 since the pandemic began.

As of Friday, 273,430 people are confirmed recovered from COVID-19 in Quebec, up 877 from Thursday.

Another 18,234 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered on Thursday, bringing the total to 510,479 since the campaign began in December.

-With files from Postmedia and The Canadian Press

Related

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