Canada Vaccine committee says extending dose interval would allow more essential workers to receive 1st shot
NHL postpones Canucks' next three games due to COVID
The NHL has postponed three more games for the Vancouver Canucks, shutting them down through April 6 after Travis Hamonic was added to the COVID protocol on Thursday. Hamonic joined Adam Gaudette, who has tested positive for coronavirus and a member of the team’s coaching staff. © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports The NHL has shut down the Canucks through April 6. The league is hoping that the Canucks will be able to play on April 8 against the Calgary Flames, but games against the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets in the coming days will have to be pushed. All practices have also been canceled for the time being.
Canada's vaccine advisory committee says giving as many Canadians as possible their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before offering the second would allow more essential workers to be vaccinated sooner — an urgent matter as the provinces grapple with rising caseloads.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) published updated guidelines Wednesday morning on the recommended interval between doses after members reviewed updated research that aligns with the "rapid" response recommendations the committee made last month.
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"NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply and ongoing pandemic disease, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," says NACI's updated.
The committee said that, based on supply, they expect the interval between the first and second dose to be less than four months.
"Second doses should be offered as soon as possible after all eligible populations have been offered first doses, with priority given to those at highest risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 disease," said NACI.
Dr. Shelley Deeks, vice-chair of the vaccine panel, said that when NACI issued its vaccine priority list in December it recommended that essential workers — including teachers, grocery store staff and food production and manufacturing workers — be vaccinated in stage two, soon after long-term care home residents and front line workers.
NHL postpones Wednesday's Calgary-Vancouver game
The NHL has decided to ere on the side of caution as a result of Adam Gaudette’s positive COVID-19 test. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that tonight’s game between the Canucks and Flames has been postponed. TSN’s Frank Seravalli tweets that the decision was made after more information has surfaced regarding Vancouver’s test results; that information obviously has not yet been made public.
"The extended dose interval enables those workers to get vaccinated sooner than they would have, at least with the first dose, than using the authorized interval," she told reporters today.
"We've actually prioritized those workers."
Ontario Premier Doug Fordto prioritize essential workers for vaccination. His government said yesterday many essential workers will be covered in the next vaccine deployment; officials did not say when exactly that will begin.
B.C. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, speaking at the news conference as chair of Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, said it's up to provinces to consider the recommendations closely.
"It is a balancing act and it's a challenging one," she said.
"We have all of us been targeting workplaces that have had outbreaks and I know we've been quite successful out here in getting food processing and farm workers and others immunized in the program so far, and we will be continuing to do that and we'll be waiting for other vaccines to become available."
Vaccine committee says extending dose interval would allow more essential workers to receive 1st shot
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NACI says it will continue to look at science
NACI said that, based on the expected supply of mRNA vaccines alone, extending dose intervals up to four months will allow 90 per cent of adults over 50 years of age and 75 per cent of adults aged 16 to 49 to receive a first dose of vaccine by the middle of June 2021.
During a news conference Tuesday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the federal government is willing to help the provinces and territories protect people who can't work from home during the pandemic.
She pointed to employment insurance and the essential worker support program — which provides a temporary wage top-up — but stressed it's largely a provincial issue.
"We have to remember that vaccination is an important tool, but it's not the only tool," she said. "Workplaces need to be safe and, of course, that is largely provincial jurisdiction."
On March 3, NACI recommended that the maximum interval between the first and second doses of the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccines should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated.
NACI, an external advisory body that provides independent immunization advice to the Public Health Agency of Canada, said it will continue to monitor the evidence on effectiveness of an extended dose interval and will adjust recommendations as needed.
A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 .
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 231,009 new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,991,804 doses given. Nationwide, 746,702 people or 2.0 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 18,448.384 per 100,000. There were 58,500 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 10,136,650 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 68.98 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I.