A Few Million Canadians Could be Vaccinated by March – Full COVID19 Update

Following Health Canada’s first approval of a COVID19 vaccine, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Doctor Howard Njoo says he expects nearly 10 per cent of Canadians to be vaccinated by the end of March. About 249,000 doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech are due to arrive in Canada by the end of December. Health Canada is reviewing three other vaccine candidates, including one from Moderna, which is set to deliver two-million doses to Canada in the first quarter of 2021. Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, Doctor Supriya Sharma says the technical information for each approved vaccine is being published on the government’s main COVID19 website.

Canada’s First Shipment Arrives Monday:

The first shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is due in Canada on Monday. It will contain about 30,000 doses, and officials from across the country are celebrating the news and organizing in advance. With front line personnel and long-term care residents expected to get first dibs, while Health Canada suggests the wider Canadian population will be able to line up for vaccines starting in April. The aim is to have everyone wanting the shot to be vaccinated before the end of 2021.

Awaiting FDA Approval:

The US Food and Drug Administration will be holding public debates today before greenlighting the use of Pfizer’s COVID19 vaccine. The FDA panel functions like a science court that will pick apart the data and debate whether the shot is safe and effective enough to be cleared for emergency use. The non-government experts specialize in vaccine development, infectious diseases and medical statistics. COVID19 continues to surge south of the border, claiming more than 289,000 lives in the US. Some health officials have fears over how safe Pfizer’s COVID vaccine is after two British healthcare workers who were among the first in the world to receive it on Tuesday went into anaphylactic shock hours later, prompting British authorities to tell anyone with a severe allergy to food or medicine not to get it.

Americans Are Divided on Taking the COVID19 Vaccine:

A new poll finds about 25 per cent of Americans aren’t sure if they want to get vaccinated against COVID19 while another 25 per cent flat out say they won’t. The survey finds many on the fence have safety concerns and want to watch how the initial rollout fares. Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says the challenge for health authorities is to figure out what it will take to make people trust the shots.

Advice on The Vaccine Side Effects in the UK:

An expert at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says in general, people shouldn’t be worried about getting the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID19 vaccine. Stephen Evans says you have to remember that even things like marmite can cause unexpected severe allergic reactions. Britain’s medical regulator issued a warning that people with a history of serious allergic reactions shouldn’t get the shot. Investigators are looking into whether two reactions on the first day of Britain’s vaccination program are linked to the drug and say both people have recovered.

York Region Hospitals Being Overwhelmed:

York Region hospital CEOs say they have reached a tipping point in COVID19 hospital admissions. The CEOs say there has been a significant increase in admissions due to the virus in recent weeks. The group is calling on residents to wear masks and skip holiday gatherings to protect the community.

Central Ontario Hospital Cancels Elective Surgeries:

A Midland, Ontario hospital has put off all scheduled elective surgeries as it deals with a COVID19 outbreak. Georgian Bay General Hospital says the outbreak has expanded to all in-patient units, including its ICU. It says there are 13 cases in staff and two in-patient cases so far.

Ontario Numbers:

There were 1,890 new cases of COVID19 reported in Ontario yesterday, with 28 new deaths. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 517 cases were in Toronto, 471 in Peel Region and 187 in York Region. The province says it has conducted more than 48,000 tests since the last daily report. In total, 811 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID19, including 221 in intensive care.

The Premiers Are Not Optimistic About Today’s Meeting with Trudeau:

Canada’s first ministers are scheduled to meet via conference today. But the provincial and territorial leaders admit they don’t expect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to agree immediately to their demand for a $28-billion-dollar increase in the annual federal health care transfers. Premiers’ council chair Francois Legault of Quebec says he doesn’t expect one meeting will resolve the issue, while New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says he’s hoping they can at least agree on a schedule for future discussions.

The TTC Will Not Be Free on NYE:

The Toronto Transit Commission says it will not be offering its usual free service on New Year’s Eve this year due to the COVID19 restrictions in the city. TTC spokesperson Stuart Green says in a tweet that the decision was made to discourage people from partying amid the pandemic. Green says regular service will run but the TTC hopes everyone safely celebrates the end of 2020 by not gathering. Residents of Toronto and Peel Region are currently advised not to socially gather with anyone outside of their households under a lockdown that is set to last until December 21st — but could be extended.

Here is yesterday’s Toronto briefing:

Toronto Church Questioning Constitutionality of COVID Restrictions:

A Toronto church is questioning the constitutionality of Ontario’s COVID19 restrictions. The Toronto International Celebration Church has filed a constitutional challenge over the Reopening Ontario Act, arguing it goes against the Charter of Rights. It is challenging the province’s limits on weddings, funerals, and religious services to 10 or fewer people in regions under lockdown.

A Canadian Potential Link Between Humans and Mink:

A mink farm in BC’s Fraser Valley has been placed under quarantine after test results from five mink samples came back positive for the virus that causes COVID19 in humans. The provincial Ministry of Agriculture says the samples were gathered after several workers on the farm tested positive for the illness. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry calls the outbreak concerning, noting transmissions between humans and mink have occurred in other countries and there’s a potential for mutations of the virus.

Premier Kenney Fires Back at Criticism of the Alberta COVID19 Situation:

Premier Jason Kenney says talk that he waited too long to bring in sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions in the face of a surge in infections and deaths is “Alberta bashing.” Yesterday, the premier accused a reporter of being an Opposition NDP partisan for asking if he takes responsibility for the current situation because he ignored weeks of calls by hundreds of doctors to act faster. Alberta has the highest rate of new infections in the country.

BC LTC Home Overwhelmed by Sick Staff:

The CEO of a long-term care home in BC says so many staff are sick with COVID19 that she is hiring families to replace them. Karen Biggs of Menno Place says two of 54 families who have applied to work there have been hired — primarily for non-care related duties. The province’s advocate for seniors, Isobel Mackenzie, says she’s never heard of a long-term care home hiring families, but the pandemic has highlighted how much families already do for their loved ones.

Quebec Intends to Crack Down and Starting Fining People:

The Quebec government sent out an alert yesterday to remind residents of all COVID19 rules and health recommendations. Premier Francois Legault says police are going to crack down on people who aren’t respecting the rules and start handing out tickets of up to $6,000 dollars. Legault is holding off on closing non-essential businesses and putting the province back into lockdown — for now.

Dollarama is Handing Out Big Bonuses:

Dollarama CEO Neil Rossy says he wants to recognize employees for their efforts and dedication during the pandemic. The discount chain has announced it is going to pay full-time employees a one-time bonus of $300-dollars and part-timers a $200-dollar bonus. Dollarama came under fire earlier this year from employees and supporters. They demanded improvements to health precautions in its warehouses and an extension to the pay raise it offered to employees at the start of the pandemic.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health reported 59 new cases and 3 new deaths, making it the deadliest day in the Region since the pandemic began. Despite the new deaths, the number of people in the ICU increased, which means more people were moved to the unit. Currently the Region has 40 people hospitalized with 12 in intensive care. The local death toll now sits at 130 with 403 active cases. The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health unit reported 24 new cases yesterday. There are 12 people in hospital with 195 active case.

Waterloo Region Infections:

  • An outbreak has been declared at Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge. The student case reported Wednesday is linked to a staff member case. Two students at the school have tested positive.
  • A staff member at St. Brigid Catholic Elementary School in Ayr has tested positive. That is the school’s first case.
  • Two students at St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School in Cambridge have tested positive.
  • One student at Meadowlane Public School in Kitchener has tested positive.
  • A student at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • Another student at Linwood Public School has tested positive.
  • A staff member at Our Lady of Lourdes in Waterloo has tested positive.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

 

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan