#Canada; #ModernaCovid19Vaccine; #NorthernCommunities; #IndigenousCommunities; #RemoteCommunities
Canada/Canadian-Media: Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine's first shipment arrived on Dec 24, at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, just over 24 hours after Health Canada authorized the vaccine for use in people over the age of 18, media reports said.
Image: Moderna vaccine. Image credit: Facebook page
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted along with a photo of a FedEx plane being unloaded that the shipment contains a portion of the 168,000 doses expected to arrive before the end of the year.
This is another big step in our national vaccine rollout," Trudeau said. "But it doesn't mean we can let up just yet. The vaccine won't help you if you get sick now."
Repackaging of doses into smaller amounts by Logistics company Innomar and their distribution to the provinces and territories would begin next week.
Vaccinations had not yet started in northern, remote, and Indigenous communities due to their lack of health infrastructure to safely store the Pfizer-BioNTech at -70 C to remain stable.
The ease of shipping of Moderna's vaccine doses and their storage at regular freezer temperatures would facilitate the start of the vaccinations in these communities.
Anita Anand, Procurement Minister tweeted that these doses would be the first deployed to Canada's North.
Canada is on track to receive 1.2 million doses of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna by the end of January 2021, said Trudeau on Wednesday.
Contracts had been secured with Pfizer-BioNTech by Canada to access 20 million doses, and with Moderna for 40 million doses to enable vaccination for everyone living in Canada by September 2021.
#Canada; #AirCanada; #FlightsToAndFromUKCancelled; #NewStrainOfCoronavirusInUK
Canada/Canadian-Media: Canada and several European nations halted flights from the U.K. on Sunday in an effort to prevent a new, potentially more contagious strain of the coronavirus found in the U.K., media reports said.
United Kingdom. Image credit: Unsplash
Air Canada said in a statement on Sunday night that it would temporarily suspend all flights between Canada and London's Heathrow Airport as of Monday.
"We regret the impact of the government directive to immediately suspend flights on our customers' travel plans in the middle of the holiday season and will continue to monitor this dynamic situation closely and adjust the schedule as appropriate," the statement said.
The decision to restrict U.K. flights followed Sunday afternoon meeting of the Incident Response Group (IRG), with a group of cabinet members and senior government officials including Garneau, Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Patty Hajdu, Canada's Health Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Dominic LeBlanc, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister.
The new strain of coronavirus was identified in southeastern England in September and has been circulating in the area since a WHO official told the BBC on Sunday, CBC News reported.
Passengers who arrived in Canada Sunday from the U.K. are now subject to enhanced screening measures, including stronger scrutiny of their quarantine plans, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said in a statement.
PHAC's statement also said that the passengers who arrived in previous days from the U.K. will receive direction from the Canadian government.
#Ontario; #CompleteLockdownFromBoxingDay; #SurgeOfCoronavirusCases;
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Dec 21 in a news conference that all of Ontario will move into a lockdown on Boxing Day, Dec 26 starting at 12:01 a.m. to contain soaring COVID-19 cases and prevent hospitals and their intensive care units from being overwhelmed in Jan 2021.
The lockdown is reported to remain in place until at least Jan. 23, 2021 in the 27 public health units that comprise southern Ontario.
Ford was joined by Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, and President and CEO of William Osler Health System, Dr. Naveed Mohammad.
Ford continued to urge Ontarians to not gather for the holidays and said people should only leave home for essential trips such as work or groceries
"If we fail to take actions now, the consequences will be catastrophic. We need to do everything in our power to protect our hospitals and our most vulnerable," said Ford in the news conference.
When classes resume in the new year, schools in southern Ontario will switch to remote learning during the lockdown. Elementary schools will be closed for in-class learning until at least Jan. 11 while secondary schools will remain closed until Jan. 25.
All elementary and secondary public and private schools in Northern Ontario would be allowed to resume in-person learning on Jan. 11.
During the province-wide shutdown, child care centers will remain open.
"We've flattened the curve before and we can do it again," said Elliott.
It was revealed by the modeling forecasts that Ontario could see up to 300 patients with cases of COVID-19 in intensive care units by the end of December. which necessitated taking these stringent measures.
Ontario public health officials at a morning briefing said that in a worst-case scenario, that number could increase by about 75 percent of Ontario's entire intensive care capacity which could come to more than 1,500 by mid-January.
In a joint statement over the weekend, hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area, along with the Ontario Hospital Association, said that health-care workers are "stressed and overstretched."
#Alberta; #OpiodRelatedDeathsSurge; #Covid19Pandemic; #ChangeOfRules
Alberta/Canadian-Media: New data released by the Alberta government Friday and information published on a new government substance abuse surveillance website shows the drastic effect of COVID-19 pandemic on people's ability to manage their addictions resulting in record-breaking number deaths due to opioid in 2020, media reports said.
Jason Luan. Image credit: Facebook Page
"For people who suffer addictions and mental health illness, it just made their life even more difficult," said Jason Luan, associate minister of mental health and addictions, in a Thursday interview, CBC News reported.
In the first 10 months of 2020, 904 people died of opioid poisoning in Alberta — more than the total in any year since tracking began in 2016.
Luan said his heart sank when he saw the most recent numbers.
"Every life lost is too many," he said. "Those are the people who are family members, colleagues, members of our community. It's awful."
Initially, public health rules prevented support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous from holding indoor meetings and their use of illegal street drugs jumped, the data show.
Those meetings are now allowed, with masks and physical distancing in place.
Services also have now adapted offering virtual therapy and counselling sessions around the clock, Luan said and later Alberta's chief medical health officer approved unique pandemic operating rules for these facilities.
The provincial government's Friday launch of the Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System, will now update new data monthly, rather than every three months and has changed reporting of opioid related deaths such as information on people who died from alcohol poisoning and other substance misuse.
Users can look at data from nine publicly run opioid treatment clinics and look up ambulance calls, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths by urban center.
Eventually, data on residential addictions treatment centers would be added to the dashboard to facilitate users to see how many treatment spaces are available and how many participants have completed publicly funded programs.
Luan said it's the most detailed and comprehensive public data set in the country and hopes this would facilitate the government and the public to quickly see if their policy decisions are effective, or these need to be modified.
#Canada; #Covid19VaccinationTimeline; #PHAC; #Pfizer; #Moderna;
Canada/Canadian-Media: There should be enough COVID-19 doses for vaccinating every Canadian who wants to be inoculated by the end of Sep 2021, said the Public Health Agency of Canada (CPHA) on Dec 16.
Covid 19 Vaccine. Image credit: Unsplash
"Based on current data, by the end of Q3 2021, Canada projects having a sufficient number [of] doses to be able to offer a vaccination to every Canadian," a spokesperson for PHAC said in a statement to CBC News, CBC News reported.
The "Q3" refers to the third quarter of the calendar year July, Aug, and Sept.
The statement is in response to confusion over released information to reporters about vaccination timelines. During its briefing on Dec 15, the federal documents suggested the completion of the inoculation campaign by the "end of 2021," while other material pointed to Sep. 2021.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Dec 15 that 168,000 doses of the Moderna shot are expected to be available in Canada by the end of this month, subject to Health Canada approval.
Purchase agreements for up to 418 million doses of the various shots with seven different pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Moderna, Medicago, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, and Sanofi-GlaxoSmithKline have been signed by the government of Canada.
Meanwhile, the United States of America (US) says it hopes to have its inoculation program completed by June of 2021.
#Ontario; #LongTermCare; #AnitaQuidangen #FirstPersonInCanadaToReceiveCovid19Shot, #UHN
Ontario/Canadian-Media: An Ontario long-term care worker, Anita Quidangen, at the Rekai Centre at Sherbourne Place in Toronto, became the first person in Canada to receive her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine today shortly after 12 p.m. ET, kicking off an immunization campaign expected to last the better part of a year, media reports said.
Canada's first person Anita Quidangen receives 1st dose of Covid 19 Vaccine. Image credit: Goderich Hospital
The shot was administered at a site in the University Health Network (UHN), a system of hospitals and health-care facilities throughout the city, the exact location is not being revealed for security reasons, the province says.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses several weeks apart.
"This is a watershed moment — the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. "The light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter every day, but we must remain on our guard."
The arrival of several thousand doses Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario late Sunday night marked a major milestone in the massive immunization campaign.
Covid19 Vaccine. Image credit: Pixaby
Specifically acknowledging Quidangen, who has been a personal support worker since 1988 and often did double-shifts during the pandemic to care for residents, Ford said,
"Anita has spent years rolling up her sleeves to protect our province, and today, she didn't hesitate to find a new way to do so."
The other health-care workers to receive the first dose of vaccine today were Cecile Lasco, personal support worker, Derek Thompson, personal support worker, Lucky Aguila, registered practical nurse, Colette Cameron, registered nurse.
Speaking to CBC News Network this morning, retired general Rick Hillier, the head of Ontario's vaccine distribution task force, called it "an incredible day, CBC News reported.
"Today's milestone officially launches the first phase of our three-phase vaccine implementation plan to keep Ontarians safe and marks the beginning of the long journey to return life back to normal," he said today.
About 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are going to the UHN, while another 3,000 will go to The Ottawa Hospital.
An additional 85,000 or so doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to by the end of the year and would be provided to 14 hospital sites in Ontario regions currently in the red and lockdown levels of the province's COVID-19 restrictions system.
Health-care workers, long-term care residents and their caregivers will be among the first to receive the vaccine, while adults in Indigenous communities, residents of retirement homes, and recipients of chronic home health-care will also be priority groups, the Ministry of Health has said.
#Canada; #PfizerBioNTechCOVID19Vaccine; #UHN; #OttawaHospital
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine's first doses arrived in Canada on Sunday night, with more to follow on Monday, media reports said.
Image credit: Unsplash
A national immunization program of unprecedented scale would take place with the hope to bring coronavirus outbreak to an end with an eventual return to normalcy.
The pandemic has taken the lives of 13,000 people in Canada and infected another 450,000.
"The provinces will be in a position to administer the vaccines in the coming days," said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is in charge of logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada's national operations center and added expects provinces to increase the number of delivery sites capable of receiving vaccine shipments in the coming days.
The first images of Canada-bound Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses being processed at a distribution facility in Cologne, Germany was released on Friday by UPS Canada released on Friday.
Doses will be distributed on a per-capita basis to provinces, but territories would be excluded from getting Pfizer's vaccine at resent as they currently lack the capacity to safely store the product.
Once the doses arrive, provinces will administer the vaccine to people in priority population groups, including front-line health-care workers, as well as residents and employees at long-term care homes.
Two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are necessary, with the second shot required 21 days after the first. Data from clinical trials suggest that immunity starts building 12 days after the first dose, but full protection isn't in place until 28 days after the first shot.
Details on upcoming shipments from Pfizer — including arrival dates and the number doses — are still being worked out with the company, Fortin said.
"The intent here is to ensure that we continue to have a regular drip feed of vaccines in the coming weeks," he said.
#Canada; #CRA; #CERB; #NetIncome; #FinancialImplications; #GoodFaithMistake
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Letters had been received by Some Canadians last week from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asking them to pay back thousands of dollars in pandemic benefits suggesting they were not qualified for the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), media reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle of CRA
Canadian recipients of such letters have been encouraged by the CRA to pay back the CERB by Dec. 31 to avoid a negative affect on their tax returns.
CBC News learned from the panicked recipients of the letters, who had spent the money to live, that as a criteria mentioned by the CERB they they used their gross income, including expenses.
It was clarified by the CRA that The landing page detailing the eligibility requirements on Canada.ca still does not mention the word 'net' when referring to income.
During the question period on Wed, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons that the CERB and other emergency payments established swiftly in the early days of the pandemic are now being verified "on the back end," and informed that people who made "good-faith mistakes" with regard to net income will not be penalized.
"The rules did not change, but we indicated to Canadians that we will work with them if people made good-faith mistakes," he said.
"It is important to note that Canadians who applied for the CERB in good faith, and are later required to pay money back, will not be charged with penalties or interest," the CRA statement said, and added,
"payment arrangement parameters have been expanded to give Canadians more time and flexibility to repay based on their ability to pay."
#Manitoba, #CRNM; #InternationallyEducatedNurses; #Covid19Fight; #BPIEN
Manitoba/Canadian-Media: Manitoba's Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen and Manitoba's Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler announced today, that work is in progress by the Manitoba government through its 'Bridging Pathway for Internationally Educated Nurses (BPIEN) program with the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (CRNM) to expedite the registration of up to 39 internationally educated nurses so they may enter the workforce.
The Bridging Pathway for Internationally Educated Nurses. Image credit: rrc.com
“Nurses are critical in our fight against COVID-19. Finding a way to safely allow these internationally educated nurses to enter into the nursing profession right now will address some of the strain our health-care system is facing,” said Friesen. “With today’s announcement, we are strengthening Manitoba’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Employment opportunities are provided to nurses upon registration to BPIEN program at Red River College. However, a group of up to 39 nurses that successfully completed BPIEN has not been able to register with the CRNM due to testing delays caused by COVID-19.
Friesen's negotiation with CRNM to allow this group of nurses to practice either as graduate nurses or on a temporary full registration, will facilitate qualified, internationally educated nurses eligible to be placed on the graduate nurse registration, even if they have not written and passed the national nursing exam (NCLEX-RN), or if they have not written the language test or have an expired language test score.
Due to the unavailability of the Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses, one of the final steps in the licensing process, owing to COVID-19 public health orders, once available, the nurses will need to complete the test in order to gain full licensure.
Those internationally trained nurses who have written the NCLEX-RN and passed an English language test but whose score time-expired, will be eligible to be placed on a temporary full registration.
Last week all 39 internationally educated nurses were contacted by CRNM to follow through with their registration process at the college, which allowed 15 of those nurses were registered, received offers of employment and are working in their profession.
“Newcomers have always been an essential part of Manitoba’s workforce,” said Eichler. “Highly skilled, internationally educated professionals are able to respond to our labor market needs and begin protecting Manitobans.”
#Canada; #HealthCanada; #PfizerBioNTechCOVID19Vaccine;
Canada/Canadian-Media: Health Canada, the Government of Canada's department responsible for the country's federal health policy, overseen by the minister of health, announced Dec 9 its approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine's use in Canada for people over the age of 16 after a two-month review of the company's clinical trial data was completed by the scientists, Health Canada reported.
Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine. Image credit: ContactPharma.com
"The data provided supports favorably the efficacy of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as well as its safety," the department said in its report authorizing use
"The efficacy of the vaccine was established to be approximately 95 per cent. The vaccine was well tolerated by participants and has no important safety concerns. The benefit-to-risk assessment for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is considered favorable."
Canada, the third country in the world to authorize the vaccine, after the United Kingdom and Bahrain, is expected to receive 249,000 doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine by year's end, primarily earmarked for long-term care home residents and the staff working there, said Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer on Dec 8.
The safety of vaccine's use in the United States (US) would be decided tomorrow by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"We expect vaccines to arrive as early as Monday," said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccination logistics at the national operations centre, adding its "totally possible" some Canadians could get their shots by mid-week.
Speaking in question period today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the Pfizer-BioNTech approval a "big deal" and added,
"It's a good news day for Canadians but we are not through this yet. We have a tough winter to go through," said Trudeau but urged Canadians to respect public health measures even as shots start to arrive.
The limited initial quantity of doses should be reserved for vulnerable elderly residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities, retirement homes and chronic care hospitals, and the staff who care for them, said the national advisory committee on immunization (NACI) said last week.
After their immunization is complete, NACI said the next priority group should be all Canadians over the age of 80. The premiers of the provinces are in agreement, said Trudeau that the NACI guidelines should be followed and the most vulnerable should be first in line.
Trudeau is meeting with premiers virtually Thursday, with vaccine distribution, health care funding and improving long-term care facilities on the agenda.