#HealthCanada; #JohnsonandJohnsonCOVID19vaccine; #QaulityControl
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Distribution of the the first shipment of 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine received by Canada on Wednesday is being held off by Health Canada after it learned that these doses were processed in the same U.S. plant that's been entangled in quality-control problems.
Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. Image credit: Facebook Page
The federal department said in a statement Friday evening that distribution of these shots will only be released once Health Canada ensures they've met its "high standards for quality, safety and efficacy,"
The move followed a brief U.S. pause to investigate reports of clots in 15 of the roughly 6.8 million Americans who got the shot, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It was also announced by Emergent earlier last month that 15 million doses of the latter had been ruined by cross-contamination that prompted the White House to put Johnson & Johnson in charge of the facility.
This announcement also marks the latest hurdle for the single-dose vaccine, which has been long-awaited in hard-hit regions.
#Canada, #Ontario, #Alberta, #AstraZenecaVaccine
Ontario/IBNS: Starting today, Ontario is booking appointments for AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccines for eligible people above 40 years by select pharmacies and primary care offices across the province.
Astra Zeneca Vaccine. Image credit: Wikimedia commons
Ontario had decided to lower the eligibility age for AstraZeneca vaccines from 55 to 40 after the federal government of Canada announced on Apr 18 that Ontario was free to expand eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccines to any adult over the age of 18.
This announcement by the federal government was made when some pharmacists warned they had doses sitting idle because of the age restrictions.
Before this decision to lower the eligibility criteria, the vaccine in Ontario was offered only to people aged above 55 in keeping with the recommendations from the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI) earlier this spring.
#Ontario; #Alberta; #AstraZenecaVaccine; #LoweringOfAgeLimit
Ontario/Canadian-Media: The federal government of Canada announced on Sunday that Ontario was free to expand eligibility for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to any adult over the age of 18 due to doses sitting idle at some pharmacies because of the age restrictions.
Image: AstraZeneca Vaccine. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
"Provinces and territories are free to use AstraZeneca in any population over 18 per Health Canada's license for use in Canada," federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu told reporters on Sunday.
In a statement Sunday, Alexandra Hilkene, a spokesperson for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said that AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine shots will be offered at pharmacies and primary care settings and added Ontario made the call based on the current supply of AstraZeneca vaccines.
Before Ontario's announcement regarding lowering of age from 55 to 40, the vaccine in Ontario was offered only to people aged 55 and older in keeping with the recommendations from the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI) earlier this spring.
Hours after Ontario's announcement, Jason Kenney, Alberta's Premier citing advice from Alberta public health officials tweeted that the province is also lowering the eligibility age from 55 to 40.
#AstraZeneca, #Canada; #PotentialSideEffcts; #HealthCanada
Ontario/Canadian-Media: The first confirmed of rare but potentially fatal blood clotting had been reported by the Quebec's Ministry of Health and Social Services in Canada in connection with the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine after a female experienced an adverse event known as vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT).
AstraZeneca Vaccine. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said yesterday that the woman in question was immediately taken care of and is doing fine.
Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization has said that VIPIT occurs at a rate of about one in 100,000 people vaccinated, with a mortality rate of about 40 per cent, although more research is needed and that risk is reduced if treated early enough.
Concerns about vaccine side effects began in mid-March, following dozens of reports of blood clotting after inoculations, prompting several nearly 20 countries to halt the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Earlier on Tuesday the federal department said in a statement that the first reported case of blood clotting will be included in Health Canada’s study of the link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the deadly side effect.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu also said Canadian health regulators will not hesitate to change the terms of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine license if additional safety issues emerge.
"All vaccines approved for use in Canada undergo routine and scrutinous attention. All adverse effects are reported through Health Canada and Health Canada monitors that data closely and will not hesitate to change its licensing for use in Canada should there be any risk to Canadians," Hajdu said during a Question Period session on Tuesday.
Health Canada has already paused inoculating Canadians under the age of 55 with the AstraZeneca vaccine following a recommendation from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI).
A disclaimer has been issued by the Canadian health regulators regarding blood clots that may potentially form in individuals who receive an AstraZeneca shot, but have not officially listed it as an official side effect.
#Ontario; #COVID19Pandemic; #SecondHighestSingleDay
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Ontario sees new 4,401 cases of COVID-19 pandemic cases today, the second-highest on a single day in the province despite public health units having logged a 9.5 percent positivity tests rate of pandemic, one of the highest test positivity rates in Ontario
Spread of Covid-19 Pandemic. Image credit: Unsplash
Of the 4,031,325 doses that Ontario received from the federal government to date, Ontario has now used about 80 percent to date.
According to the Ontario's Ministry of Health, as of yesterday, out of 1,646 people with COVID-19 in hospitals, 619 are being treated in ICUs for COVID-19-related illness, while 408 are on ventilators. Both figures are new pandemic highs for Ontario.
To increase capacity for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, hospitals have started today to ramp down elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures.
Last week Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott said last week that ramping down elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures could increase intensive-care unit capacity in Ontario by up to 1,000 patient beds.
Although hospitals in northern Ontario are exempt from cancelling non-urgent procedures, a memo from Ontario Health was issued on Thursday night said they should prepare to ramp down quickly in the near future.
Ontario hospitals had also been asked, according to the memo, to identify staff who may be redeployed to other sites if necessary.
#Ontario; #ThirdWaveOfCovid19; #YoungerAdults
Ontario/Canadian-Media: With Ontario reporting 1,745 new cases of COVID-19 cases, one of the highest case counts logged in past 6 weeks, medical experts across Ontario are increasingly concerned that the province has entered the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Image credit: Facebook page
Another 39 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been logged by Ontario today.
Another serious concern of these health experts is the anecdotal evidence of recent serious infections among younger adults with increasing vulnerability of the younger population as opposed to previously held notions that the elderly are more vulnerable.
The shift in the direction of the pandemic towards younger adults has been attributed by Ontario's Clinicians and epidemiologists to multiple factors including the timely unavailability of Covid-19 vaccines for vulnerable populations, thereby increasing the vulnerability of the younger adults.
After Premier Doug Ford got reports of younger adults falling ill, Ford said on Thursday, "I've heard some people say it's a race, the virus versus
Seven-day average of new infections now stands at 1,480, up from 1,269 last Friday and 1,063 two weeks ago.
Hospitalizations also rose to 759 on Friday, up from 730 one day earlier and 676 last week. There are now 309 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, according to the Ministry of Health, up from 282 last week.
#Covid19Vaccination; #HealthCanada; #Covid19VaccineEfficacy
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Canadians have been advised not to consider efficacy rates of COVID-19 vaccines in to delay vaccination to prevent the lengthening the time it takes to get the pandemic under control, said Dr. Peter Liu, scientific director of Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table today.
Covid19 Vaccine. Image credit: Pixaby
"If people start to do that, they actually prevent Canadians from moving slowly back to normal," he said and added that long-term care homes are the only settings where it makes sense to use the highest efficacy vaccines, as residents are at extreme risk.
For most people, "there is no such thing as a bad vaccine," he said
Efficacy rates determined by Health Canada for both Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to be around 95 percent, AstraZeneca-Oxford's vaccine efficacy rate of 62 percent, and Johnson & Johnson's efficacy rate of 66.9 percent.
But Liu told the Canadian Press that out of thousands of participants in trials for the vaccines, not a single person who received a shot died or was hospitalized from COVID-19, CBCNews reported.
#BC; #InteriorHealthRegion; #NewOutbreakOfCovid19reported; #Covid19Infection
British Columbia/Canadian-Media: Declaration of a new outbreak of COVID-19 at the Cottonwoods Care Centre in B.C.'s Interior Health region was reported Mar 8 where staff and residents had already received vaccines, the provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday in a live news conference.
Covid19Outbreak. Image credit: Twitter handle
Henry said being vaccinated doesn't mean transmission and precautions stop for seniors and care homes
"You can have transmission even when people are fully vaccinated," she said. "The illness seems to be milder and doesn't transmit as much [and we] won't see rapid explosive outbreaks" and added that by the end of this month, the province will give new guidance to allow for increased visits at long-term care centers.
Two staff members and 10 residents have tested positive at the Cottonwoods long-term care facility in Kelowna, with some cases who had received two doses of the very high uptake of the vaccines.
"This serves to remind us that, while we are confident vaccine is very effective and prevents severe illness and death, it doesn't necessarily mean that all transmission will be stopped." said Henry.
#Toronto; #Covid19Vaccines; India; #AstraZenecaVaccine
Toronto/Canadian-Media: As committed by India's President Narendra Modi to his Canadian counterpart Prime Minister Trudeau on Feb 10, a consignment of half-a-million doses of the India-made Covishield vaccines (AstraZeneca vaccines) were airlifted to Canada from India on a commercial cargo flight and arrived in Toronto morning of March 3.
Image: Anand and Bisaria receiving AstraZeneca vaccines in Toronto. Image credit: IndiaInToronto Twitter handle
As part of a commercial agreement between the Serum Institute of India and Verity Pharmaceuticals of Canada to supply 2 million vaccines by May, the first allotment was received jointly by Ajay Bisaria, High Commissioner of India to Canada, and the Federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand at the Innomar warehouse in Toronto.
Anand, a leader in Canadian efforts to procure vaccines, played a key role in concluding the deal with the Serum Institute.
Congratulating Verity CEO, Howard Glase on this pioneering deal Bisaria said, “India is proud to support Canada’s vaccination program. With more than 60 percent of global vaccine manufacturing capacity, India believes in vaccine internationalism and is providing a healing hand as the world recovers from this deadly pandemic.”
The supply of vaccines was a reflection of the strategic partnership between India and Canada, said Bisaria, and underlined India’s commitment, as the pharmacy of the world, to help the global community to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing the United Nations (UN) in Sep 2020, Modi assured the world that India representing over 60 percent of the global vaccine production capacities would be shared with the rest of the world.
Viewing the COVID-19 pandemic as a global humanitarian crisis, India with its advanced pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing capacities has provided personal protection equipment, medicines, and respirators to other nations as assistance in their respective battles with COVID-19.
India with its largest immunization program in the world with 16 million already vaccinated and 270 million expected to be covered by July, India has balanced domestic requirements of vaccines with overseas commitments by providing vaccine doses to more than 40 other countries across the world as part of its Vaccine Maitri initiative, both as gifts and on a commercial basis.
As a member of the GAVI-COVAX alliance, India has also pledged to supply an additional 10 million doses to Africa and 1 million doses to UN health workers.
Ontario; #LongTermHomes; #ViolationOfInfectionControlMeasures; #Covid19Pandemic
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Violation of crucial infection prevention and control measures by Ontario long-term care homes were still being caught by the inspectors even after ten months into the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Ontario Long Term Care Homes. Image credit: www.oltc.ca
Some of these violations included improper screening, failure to take temperatures of visitors, or not ensuring they were wearing masks as they entered or left the premises, staff being unaware of the correct personal protective equipment to wear and lack of hygiene while taking care of residents; and hand sanitizer not being available in all areas of the home.
According to a CBC News data investigation 1 in 12 long-term care facilities in Ontario, between June 2020 and January 2021 were caught breaking COVID-specific government directives, many of these occurred during or after outbreaks.