#CanadianScientists; Covid19Variant; #evadeVaccinationEfforts; #ImmuneResponse
Canada/Canadian-Media: There is a growing concern among the Canadian scientists about the new variants of Covid-19 which are spreading in many countries about their ability to infect people more easily as well as their ability to potentially destroy antibodies created in these patients after being infected or vaccinated, media reports said.
Covid19 Variant. Image credit: Pixaby
The widespread transmission of the virus also facilitates to mutate again and again.
These variants won't be the last, they warned.
"The more opportunity we give to the virus to replicate, to make more viruses, the more opportunity there is to see that variant of concern — one that won't be mitigated by our vaccines that we've developed," warned Alyson Kelvin, a virologist at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, CBC News reported.
Besides the use of vaccines, virologist and researcher Angela Rasmussen says countries can strive to control emerging coronavirus variants by increasing surveillance efforts and encouraging the usual public health measures, from mask-wearing to avoiding gatherings
"What concerns me the most is that the epidemiological data that goes along with some of these variants suggests they could very rapidly become very prevalent — effectively out-competing the other variants in a given area — in a short period of time," said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Georgetown University's Center for Global Health Science and Security in Washington, D.C., and incoming research scientist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, CBC News reported.
More transmission can lead to more infections, more hospitalizations and more deaths in the short term, Rasmussen said.
He also said slowing case growth could save lives as well as cut off channels for the virus to spread and mutate.
"It's also possible that variants may arise that decrease the effectiveness of our immune response to the virus," said Matthew Miller, a member of the Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University and the McMaster Immunology Research Centre in Hamilton.
"But also, of course — and perhaps more worryingly — the immune responses elicited by the currently approved vaccines," CBC News reported.
Canada; #Covid19Infections; #Covid19Vaccines; #TravelRestrictions; #VaccinationStatus
Canada/Canadian-Media: Approximately 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to provinces and territories by Canada's federal government and is on track to deliver more than one million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna by the end of January, said Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in today's news conference.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit: Facebook page
"By September, we'll have enough doses to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot," Trudeau said.
Regarding travel abroad, which has been a hot issue in recent days, Trudeau said that several provincial and federal politicians had travelled abroad over the holidays despite advisories to avoid all non-essential travel.
"No one should be vacationing abroad right now," Trudeau said in the news conference. "But if you still decide to travel at your own risk, you will need to show a negative COVID-19 test before you return and you must self-isolate for two weeks when you get back."
Trudeau said that COVID-19 infections in Canada show a variant trend, while some provinces and territories have made progress in slowing the transmission of COVID-19, others are dealing with growing case numbers and increasing strain on health-care systems.
Canada's COVID-19 case count as of 11:20 a.m. ET on Tuesday stood at 617,061 with 79,575 of those cases considered active.
3,128 new cases of COVID-19 and 51 additional deaths were reported by Ontario today, bringing the provincial death toll to 4,730. Hospitalizations stood at 1,347 and 352 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care beds, a provincial dashboard said.
#Coronanavirus; #NewVariantOfCoronavirus; #U.K.; #Canada
Canada/Canadian-Media: A new strain of the COVID-19 coronavirus that was first discovered earlier this month in Britain has been detected in British Columbia and Ontario, provincial health officials said Sunday.
Canada. Image credit: Internet wallpaper
Modeling and epidemiological studies by Canada's provincial health officials suggest that this new variant of the virus can spread more easily and faster than the original version of the coronavirus.
A total of four new cases of this new virus have been detected in Canada.
"This further reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the provincewide shutdown measures beginning today," Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.
Some other countries including Denmark, Belgium, France, Australia, and the Netherlands have also reported the detection of this virus.
"All British Columbians have to remember [is] the virus spreads quickly but shows up slowly. By staying local, avoiding all non-essential travel, and using our layers of protection, we can reduce the potential for a surge in new cases and keep our communities and loved ones safe." B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement on Sunday.
#HealthCanada; #Moderna; #Covid19Vaccine; #NACI
Canada/Canadian-Media: The second COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by Moderna gets authorized by Health Canada today for use for people 18 years of age or older, marking a critical step in ensuring the availability of additional COVID-19 vaccines to all Canadians in all parts of the country.
Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. Image credit: Facebook page
The different storage and handling requirements of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine said Health Canada facilitates its distribution to isolated and remote communities, including the territories.
Moderna vaccine's compliance with the Health Department’s stringent safety, efficacy, and quality requirements was determined by Health Canada's thorough, independent review of Moderna’s submission on October 12, 2020.
The terms and conditions of the Moderna vaccine authorization require that vaccine manufacturer would keep Health Canada informed on safety, efficacy, and quality to ensure the benefits of the vaccine continue to be demonstrated through market use.
Health Canada is committed to openness and transparency to support vaccine's authorization, and said it is publishing a number of documents and added that more detailed information including a scientific summary and the full clinical trial data package will be made available in the coming weeks.
Once the vaccine starts to roll out on the market, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety of the vaccine.
The safe use of the Moderna vaccine would be further supported by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), which will update its recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines to inform federal, provincial, and territorial immunization programs.
#HealthCanada; #FDA; #PfizerBioNTechCOVID19vaccine; #PfizerVaccineAllergicReactions
Canada/Canadian-Media: Health Canada and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are closely monitoring for any adverse allergic reactions of COVID-19 vaccines after a health worker in Alaska (US), devoid of any history of allergies, had a severe anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine, and after Britain reported two similar cases last week, media reports said.
Image: Covid19 vaccination. Image credit: Unsplash
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised vaccine recipients to stay at the center of vaccination for 15-30 minutes, so they can be treated immediately if they have a reaction.
"Balancing any potential risks with the benefits the vaccine provides in the pandemic is an ongoing process," CDC's Dr. Jay Butler cautioned Wednesday, CBC News reported.
FDA's extensive study of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna vaccine did not uncover any major safety risks , said FDA and added no serious side effects were found in the tens of thousands enrolled in studies of the vaccine.
"Health Canada has reviewed the available evidence and has concluded that the current Product Monograph and available public health guidance are appropriate, and is not recommending any changes to the product's use at this time...If any new safety issues are confirmed, Health Canada will take appropriate action, which could include communicating any new risks to Canadians and health-care providers or changing the recommended use of the product," the department said in an advisory to the general public and health professionals.
The most common side effects reported are sore arm, a fever, some flu-like symptoms, fatigue, aches, chills, headache which last about a day, and more common after the second dose and in younger people, said the health authorities.
Earlier this week Health Canada had advised that people with allergies to any of the ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID 19 vaccine should speak with their health professional about any serious allergies or other health conditions they may have before they receive this vaccine.
Canadians who experience a potential side effect following immunization are asked to report it to their health-care professional who can also help manage any side effects.
Health-care professionals are required by Health Canada to complete the Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) form, about the potential side effects experienced by those following immunization, appropriate for their province or territory and send it to their local health unit.
Health Canada participates with international regulators to share information about coronavirus vaccines as they are rolled out around the world.
#Ontario; #PfizerCovid19Vaccine; #UniversityHealthNetwork, #OttawaHospital
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Ontario would reportedly receive 6,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday and start administering the first shots to health-care workers from long-term care homes and other high-risk settings on Tuesday at the University Health Network in Toronto and the Ottawa Hospital said retired Gen. Rick Hillier, who is leading Ontario's vaccine task force.
Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine. Image credit: ContactPharma.com
"We are going to come after people who are in most vulnerable circumstances and our health care workers first and get them vaccinated because the tragedy has been visited upon them most," he said.
90,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are anticipated by the the province by the end of December, which will be distributed to 13 hospitals across Ontario, said Hillier and added that Ontario may also receive between 30,000 and 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the new year, subject to Health Canada's approval in the coming weeks.
Premier Doug Ford said Dec 10 in a news release that more details would be provided Dec 11
Toronto has been hard hit during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ottawa was selected in part to "test and validate provincial distribution networks, as well as in recognition of the challenges the region has faced with certain long-term care home outbreaks," the premier said.
Ontario reported single-day highs of 1,983 new COVID-19 cases and nearly 62,000 tests earlier Thursday.
#Canada; #LongTermCareHomes; #SeniorResidences; #Revera
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Adoption of widespread surveillance testing as part of an internal review set to be released on Monday is being advised by one of the largest operators of Canadian seniors' residences and long-term care homes, Revera chaired by Dr. Bob Bell, former deputy health minister in Ontario and a former hospital CEO, media reports said.
Revera. Image credit: Website
"The most important factor depends on how much virus is in the community," he said during an interview that aired on Rosemary Barton Live on Sunday and added, "These folks unknowingly, in the best interest of their patients, come to work, and if they are not tested, [the risk] of them unknowingly bringing disease into the home during a time when they're infected but asymptomatic is high."
Eversince Ontario has adopted surveillance testing, said Bell, the protection of long-term care residents have been more more efficient.
Although Canada has not adopted surveillance testing elsewhere in Canada, where thousands of COVID-19 deaths have been reported at care homes, Revera, which operates more than 70 long-term care homes in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, and nearly 100 retirement residences in the same provinces, as well as in Saskatchewan. itself is contracting with private testing companies to actually do tests for their staff, said Bell.
"If the risk is as high as it currently is, for example, in Alberta or in communities like Toronto or Peel, to be testing every day," he said.
"Because staff don't want to be carrying disease in. They are unknowing that they're infected. They should be given an easy way to test themselves."
#Canada; #Covid19DistributioinPriorities, #NACI; #LTCHomesResidentsAndStaff;
Canada/Canadian-Media: As federal officials are planning for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) in its final directive released Dec 4 said that first batch of roughly six million doses, when available should be given to residents of long-term care (LTC) homes, and assisted living facilities, retirement homes and chronic care hospitals along with staff who work in the facilities.
Covid19 Vaccine. Image credit: Unsplash
The first batch of Pfizer's vaccine, expected to be the first product approved for use in Canada, requires two doses and will be enough for roughly three million Canadians.
In the months to follow, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer said, Canada is expecting more product to arrive from the other drug companies that have developed promising vaccines such as Massachusetts-based Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical division, Janssen.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading vaccination logistics at a new national operations centre in the Public Health Agency of Canada, laid out the rollout plan at a press conference Thursday.
Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which are expected to be the first approved for use in the country, need to be kept at approximately -80 C and -20 C, respectively, to remain stable.
Eventually, there will be 205 "points of issue" locations across the country where health-care professionals can administer the vaccine, Fortin said and provinces and territories would specify where and when individual Canadians will be inoculated.
At a COVID-19 briefing on Friday, the head of the World Health Organization said recent progress on vaccines is positive but the agency is concerned this has led to a growing perception that the pandemic is over.
"The truth is that at present, many places are witnessing very high transmission of the COVID-19 virus, which is putting enormous pressure on hospitals, intensive-care units and health workers," said Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
#Alberta; #Covid19; #BC; #Enforcements
Alberta/B.C./Canadian-Media: New measures take effect and enforcement are being taken by the authorities in an effort to curb rising infections in Alberta and British Columbia's grim new COVID-19 records on Nov 30, media reports said.
Alberta reported 1,733 new cases, breaking a record set just two days ago with 453 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including 96 in ICU beds, both also new records.
"Like all Albertans, I am alarmed by the rising case numbers reported today and over the weekend," Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference Nov 30.
Dr Deena Hinshaw. Image credit: Twitter handle
"This is another reminder that COVID-19 has a long incubation period, meaning the actions we take today will not be seen until 10 to 14 days from now."
B.C. recorded 2,364 new cases, including 277 historical cases that were previously missed because of a data reporting error in the Fraser Health region.
The death toll for B.C, due to Covid 19 was 46 over the last three days. The majority of those who died, said the Provincial Health Officer of B.C. Dr. Bonnie Henry, about 80 percent were long-term care residents.
Dr Bonnie Henry. Image credit: Official
"These people have faces, have names, have stories. This tragedy is all of our tragedy," Henry said. "If you are thinking it may be OK to bend the rules, please remember this virus takes lives. It is the lives closest to us that are most at risk when we take risks," CBC New reported.
#Ontario, #Covid19Surge, #OntarioNewModelingProjections
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Ontario reported another single-day highest record of 1,855 new cases of COVID-19 Nov 27 despite Ontario being locked down since the beginning of this week, media reports said.
This has pushed the seven-day average of daily cases to 1,489, the highest since the first confirmed infection was reported in Ontario in late January.
The alarming surge seen Nov 27 is despite more than 58,000 tests processed by the labs, another single-day highest record with a high margin as against 47,576 specimens processed in 24 hours
The new cases on Nov 27 include 517 in Peel Region, 494 in Toronto, 189 in York Region, and 130 in Halton Region.
According to the worst-case scenario revealed in the updated new modeling projections, released by Ontario government during a news conference on Nov 26, Ontario could see more than 9,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day by the end of the year.
Most of the new cases of COVID-19 reported on Nov 27 are seen in people under the age of 80. 686 Covid 19 cases were seen in people between the ages of 20 and 39, at least 564 in people between the ages of 40 and 59, and 249 in people between the ages of 60 and 79. There were 278 cases in people under the age of 19.