With Tyler Hamilton.
With Tyler Hamilton.
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine safety: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations to the tune of 84 per cent," Sharma said. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902 ) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. An analysis of results from 2,000 adults older than 60 years suggested the vaccine was similarly effective and well tolerated in this age group. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
(Mitch Cormier/CBC - image credit) The minimum price of a litre of regular, self-serve gasoline rose 3.5 cents overnight, a continuation of a steady increase that goes back to the end of last year. The price was set at $1.21, the highest since July of 2019. Gas prices crashed during the early months of the pandemic, but recovered to sit around $1 a litre at the pump for most of the last half of the year. The current upward trend started in December. On Jan. 1 the price was $1.05. Diesel and furnace oil prices have also been increasing. The minimum pump price of diesel was up 2.3 cents to $1.27. Furnace oil was up 2.1 cents to a maximum of $0.96. For the year, diesel prices are up 11.9 per cent and furnace oil 15.4 per cent. More from CBC P.E.I.
(Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit) Being able to get enough to eat has become a big problem during Newfoundland and Labrador's latest lockdown, but it's a challenge some community groups are rising to, finding ways to feed people under Alert Level 5. Since the COVID-19 outbreak ramped up in mid-February, a series of public health restrictions have created barriers to accessing food: residents have had to reduce their contacts down to single households, they've been asked to make fewer trips to the grocery store, and thousands of people have found themselves in self-isolation and unable to leave their properties at all. It echoes last winter's Snowmaggedon, when Cortney Barber took to Facebook and started the volunteer group Neighbours in Need Newfoundland, to help those who were stuck without food or supplies. That group has kept going throughout the pandemic, Barber said, and has been particularly busy during this round of lockdown. "Every day there's something to do, and the volunteers continue to step up every day," Barber told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show. "We've seen probably a doubling of the need for support for groceries and stuff like that." Barber said many people reaching out for help either can't leave their homes due to self-isolation, have small children or fall into a high-risk group. For those who rely on busses to get to and from stores, the biggest problem is cuts to public transportation — MetroBus has reduced both its hours of operation and the number of people who can ride at any one time. "The cost is a little bit higher when you can't use that public transportation," Barber said. "So people are just really stuck for groceries." Neighbours in Need Newfoundland began during Snowmaggedon, when volunteers helped people stuck in their homes due to the blizzard, but the group has continued to operate throughout the pandemic. Courier cooperation With the Neighbours in Need volunteers kept hopping, one St. John's-based courier service has stepped in to share the workload. Millennium Express partners with large companies like FedEx and Purolator, and its co-owner Becky Reddy said delivery services have been in high demand throughout the pandemic. "Business actually increased with the influx of online shopping and things like that," said Reddy. "So it's been a bit hectic." Despite a packed schedule, when the lockdown began Reddy took to social media and extended a call to seniors and other vulnerable members of the community to let them know they weren't alone. "There are people out there that are willing to help, and we really didn't want to see anybody go without during this lockdown," she said. To that end, when Barber went online looking for someone to help deliver a hamper of groceries, she found Millennium Express. "We were able to work together and deliver some hampers to people from grocery orders," Barber said, "I just reached out to Becky and we had it done in no time." Oftentimes, said Barber, the Neighbours in Need Newfoundland Facebook group has plenty of deliveries to make, but not enough volunteers to do the driving, particularly in the midst of the lockdown. "It's really a lot easier to be able to pass them over to somebody like a courier who can drop them all off in one run, rather than putting one grocery order in their car and then come back for another one," Barber said. For Reddy and Millennium Express, the opportunity to partner with the group and to give back to the community is an integral part of the business. "We're always trying to be involved in the community as much as we can, and I've seen it myself: some people are just down on their luck and they just need some help," said Reddy. "Whatever we can do to help is what we're going to do." During lockdown, the School Lunch Association has donated more than 20,000 lunch-sized cartons of milk to food banks and non-profit groups throughout the province. Others stepping up Reddy and Barber aren't the only community-minded individuals on delivery duty these days. Following the lockdown announcement earlier this month, the School Lunch Association, a charity which usually provides hot lunches for school children, took its perishables and distributed the food to those in need. With help from the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and the School Milk Foundation, as well as the Community Food Sharing Association, the organizations helped to distribute over 20,000 lunch-sized cartons of milk. The cartons found their way to a slew of organizations, from food banks, to non-profits, and to frontline health workers at the Mount Pearl COVID-19 testing site. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundand and Labrador
(Sara Minogue/CBC - image credit) Weeks after Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson requested the government send grief counsellors to his electoral district, Health Minister Julie Green says she will look into sending a mental health team to the district's four communities. In early February, Green urged anyone seeking mental health services to use same-day counselling services available through the health department but stopped short of committing to send in new resources. On Thursday, she said she will investigate if she can deploy mental health teams that typically travel to communities without resident counsellors. While a child and youth counsellor position is filled at the Mangilaluk School in Tuktoykatuk, there are vacancies in community counselling, said Green. Health Minister Julie Green says she will look into sending mental health teams to Nunakput. Jacobson said mental health issues are coming up in Tuktoyaktuk, Ulukhaktok, Sachs Harbour and Paulatuk. He said a lot of people are hurting from depression to all the deaths that have occurred over the last year," said Jacobson. "We have to start trying to help them, heal them and try to move forward. When are we gonna get these travel teams into Nunakput?" he said. "We need a team to come in to work with the community on the depression, alcoholism, everything ... anything they want to talk about to get off their chest. We need help." The Kids Help Line is available to youth by text or call, Facebook and online chat, said Green. If you are under 25 years old and you need someone to talk to, you can call the Kid's Help Phone 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868. Texting and online chat options are also available 24/7. To text with a counsellor, text CONNECT to 686868. To live chat, visit https://kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat/ and click the "chat" button OR download the Always There app.
LONDON — Prince Harry, who decamped from England to Southern California last year, rapped the theme song to the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” during a late-night talk show appearance in which he said he didn’t walk away from his royal duties. During a segment on the CBS television network’s “The Late, Late Show with James Corden” that aired early Friday, Harry said he decided to step away from his work as a front-line member of the royal family to protect his wife and son — and his mental health. “It was stepping back rather than stepping down,” he told Corden. “It was a really difficult environment, which I think a lot of people saw, so I did what any father or husband would do and thought, ‘How do I get my family out of here?’ But we never walked away, and as far as I’m concerned, whatever decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away.” The appearance marked Harry’s first interview since his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, stripped the prince and his wife, the former actress Meghan Markle, of their remaining royal duties earlier this month. Corden’s coup trumped Oprah Winfrey, whose interview with the couple is scheduled to air March 7. The Queen announced her decision on Feb. 19, saying it wasn't possible for the couple to “continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service" after they stepped away from the work of the Royal Family. Harry and Meghan replied by saying “service is universal" and underscoring their commitment to the U.K., a response seen by some as disrespectful to the queen. Whatever issues have divided the royals, Harry suggested he and Meghan remain in touch with the monarch and her husband, Prince Philip. Harry told Corden that the monarch gave Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie, a waffle-maker for Christmas and that the senior royals had seen the toddler “running around” in California via Zoom. The prince also offered a glimpse of the couple's life in the wealthy Santa Barbara County enclave of Montecito, where they generally watch the game show “Jeopardy" and Netflix programs before going to bed. Archie’s first word was “crocodile,” Harry said. During the lighthearted segment, which didn't touch on the royal couple's commercial ventures, Corden and the prince tour Southern California on an open top bus. At one point they arrived outside the mansion where the opening sequence of Will Smith’s “Fresh Prince” was filmed. “If it was good enough for the Fresh Prince, it’s good enough for a real prince,” Corden says, walking up the drive. “Do you remember the song?” “Now this is the story, all about how, my life got flipped, turned upside down, now take a minute,” Harry raps before turning to Corden for help. “And sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became the prince of town called…,” Corden chimes in. “Bel-Air,” Harry finishes off the song. Corden then jokingly tried to convince Harry to buy the sprawling mansion, placing a video call to Meghan to seek her support. She demurred. “I think we’ve done enough moving,” she said. Meghan then asked “Haz” how his tour of Los Angeles was going, prompting Corden to ask Harry about the nickname. “I didn’t know we were calling you Haz now,? Corden said. “You’re not my wife,? Harry responded with a shrug, as both men chuckled. Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
Two reviews on making Britain more attractive for fintechs and company flotations should provide evidence for reform of the listings rules, Britain's financial services minister said on Friday. A review published on Friday set out how to make Britain more attractive for financial technology companies after Brexit, and a second review on reforming listing rules to attract more tech company floatations is due in coming days. The two reviews "should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform", John Glen said.
Protesters gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia over the arrest earlier in the week of opposition leader Nika Melia.View on euronews
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson faces a long spell on the sidelines after undergoing an operation on the groin injury he sustained in last weekend’s Merseyside derby loss against Everton. Liverpool has not put a timescale on the midfielder's recovery but said he will be out until at least April in another blow to its fading Premier League title defence. “Henderson has successfully had a corrective procedure carried out on the adductor injury," Liverpool said in a statement on Friday. “He will begin a rehabilitation program immediately.” Liverpool is in sixth place, 19 points behind leader Manchester City but the six-time European champions remain in the Champions League. Henderson, who has been playing as an emergency centre back, joins a lengthy injury list. The three senior central defenders, Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, have all had their seasons ended prematurely while backup Fabinho is still out, having played just one of the last seven matches because of a muscle injury. James Milner is still sidelined by a hamstring problem and fellow midfielder Naby Keita only returned to the squad last weekend for the first time since mid-December. Forward Diogo Jota began full training this week after three months out with a knee problem. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has announced a $7-million satellite program to locate and track people who are fishing illegally near Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. “Illegal fishing threatens the health of our fish stocks and takes resources away from hard-working, law-abiding fishers,” said Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan in a press release. “We're investing in one of the leading, most innovative systems on the planet to ensure our fish stocks are protected, our fisheries remain lucrative, and the law is upheld at sea.” The Dark Vessel Detection program uses satellite technology to detect “dark vessels,” ones that have turned off their location transmitting devices in order to avoid being caught, according to DFO. It’s estimated that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for about 30 per cent of all fishing activity worldwide, representing up to 26 million tonnes of fish caught annually at a cost to the global economy of $10 billion to $23 billion a year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. DFO awarded Ontario-based space technology company MDA — the maker of the Canadarm — with a three-year contract to supply the technology for the program. It will provide data and analysis to officials in Ecuador and the Forum Fisheries Agency, which represents 15 small island nations in the Pacific region, so they can spend their resources on enforcement to protect their fish stocks, DFO says. MDA says the program will combine data from multiple satellite missions, including the Canadian Space Agency Earth observation satellite, RADARSAT-2. The Dark Vessel Detection program is part of the $11.6 million Canada committed to ocean health at the 2018 G7 meeting. DFO kicked off a smaller-scale program in June to track vessels in the Bahamas and Costa Rica, which saw “significant” fines to five foreign vessels, according to the department. Canada has been under fire for having illegal seafood in its supply chains. Oceana Canada says the country has “inadequate traceability standards” to monitor its seafood supply chain. As a result, the Canadian economy is losing up to $93.8 million in tax revenue each year due to illegal and unreported fishing, according to an Oceana Canada report released in November. Meanwhile, Canadian fishers are missing out on up to $379 million in lost revenue, per the report. The ocean conservation organization has been calling on the feds to develop a boat-to-plate traceability system that would track information about seafood products and disseminate it throughout supply chains. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Jordan and Health Minister Patty Hajdu to tackle it in their 2019 mandate letters, but no timeline for this plan has been released. This task, however, wasn’t included in Jordan’s or Hajdu’s subsequent 2021 letters. Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
TORONTO — The chief executive of the fund that manages Canada Pension Plan investments has resigned after it was revealed that he decided to travel to the United Arab Emirates, where he arranged to be vaccinated against COVID-19. CPP Investments says Mark Machin tendered his resignation to the board Thursday night. Machin joined CPP Investments in 2012 and was appointed president and chief executive in June 2016. Prior to joining the pension fund manager, he spent 20 years at investment bank Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street Journal first reported that Machin flew to the United Arab Emirates earlier this month, where he received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and is awaiting the second dose. The CPP Investments board has appointed John Graham as the new CEO. Graham was previously its global head of credit investments. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Walter Strong/CBC - image credit) Justice Louise Charbonneau sentenced Tariq St Croix Thursday to five years in jail and three years probation for "brutally" stabbing his ex-wife on New Year's Eve two years ago. St Croix pleaded guilty to breaking and entering and aggravated assault in N.W.T. Supreme Court. The Crown prosecutor and defence lawyers jointly recommended a five-year sentence. "It is luck that St Croix isn't facing a homicide trial," Charbonneau told the courtroom. Tariq St. Croix, covering his face with a garment, has been charged with aggravated assault and breaking and entering. Tariq has one year, nine months, and one week remaining in his sentence. Upon his release, he is required to leave the N.W.T. On the evening of the attack, Marina St Croix was with her kids on their balcony waiting for fireworks to begin, when Tariq St Croix appeared outside of their residence. Tariq was on probation for previously assaulting her and was legally prohibited from visiting Marina unless she permitted him. Marina, who was pregnant at the time, told Tariq to go away, but he broke into the house by smashing a window, then armed himself with a steak knife. Marina was holding her 18-month-old infant in her bedroom when Tariq stabbed her in the face, neck and torso in the presence of her two kids. The eldest child grabbed the infant for protection. Tariq repeatedly yelled "you don't love me" before the steak knife broke, lodged in her stomach. Marina tried to flee to the balcony to call for help when Tariq dragged her back in, kicked her face, then fled. Marina asked that the publication ban on her name be lifted, as she no longer wanted the violence perpetrated against Indigenous women and children to be hidden from sight. Mistrust of the system Marina gave a victim impact statement before sentencing. With her sister standing next to her, and Tariq merely meters away, she described how the crime has changed her life. "On the Sunday before the week of my fate, I watched a video on highway 16. Trudeau's words were that Canada failed Indigenous women and that the MMIWG report would not be shelved. Yet, I stand ready to flee, when my only protection between him and me is three years probation." "We live in a society that would rather have my race live in a boat that no longer floats," she continued. "Life is easy for those who fail to see, so society covers their eyes with coins to let the violence breathe. "I see too many dead women and children that the RCMP fail to find. So I must admit I cannot trust the broken system, this time. "Welcome to court in Canada when you are Indigenous," Marina concluded. Marina said she cannot trust a broken legal system that fails to protect Indigenous women and children from their abusers. Justice Charbonneau told the court she "can understand that a court order would not appear adequate, given the crime took place when two probation orders were in force." Judge 'bound' by joint submission Tariq St Croix was initially charged with attempted murder in addition to the crime he was convicted of, but the greater charge was withdrawn when he pleaded guilty to breaking and entering and aggravated assault. In a previous court appearance, Charbonneau acknowledged that the five-year sentence was on the "very, very low end." Judges are bound by a Supreme Court of Canada ruling to accept joint submissions unless they can prove that the sentence is "unhinged" from the circumstances of the crime. "The question I have to answer is not to see if a five year sentence is fit," but if the sentence would break down the administration of justice, she said Thursday. Despite her reservations,Charbonneau said she was certain that Crown and the defense lawyers gave careful consideration to their submission. Deportation possible Tariq has one year, nine months and one week remaining in his sentence. Upon his release, he is required to leave the N.W.T. The court heard that Tariq had been the victim of an "extremely" violent upbringing. As a child growing up in St Lucia, his father had abused his mother repeatedly. Tariq's mother assaulted him and his siblings, which was described as torture at times. "Miraculously," Tariq has rekindled his relationship with his mother, the judge told the court. However, the circumstances of his difficult upbringing "cannot excuse the extreme violence of the crime," Charbonneau said. He is likely to face deportation, given the severity of the crime along with his existing criminal record. Originally from St Lucia, Tariq has permanent residency in Canada. He is qualified as a protected person, which means an additional step is required for deportation. Whether he will be deported depends on if the danger he poses in Canada outweighs the risk he may face if he returns to his home country. However, he is likely to lose permanent residency status.
Giorgio Armani is taking fashionistas back to the 1980s for his fall Emporio Armani line, nodding to the era's bright colours in his latest creations at Milan Fashion Week. The veteran designer, affectionately called "King Giorgio" in his native Italy, presented plenty of hot pink and purple creations, high-waisted trousers and chunky jewellery in the autumn/winter 2021-2022 collection called "In the mood for pop". In a video presented at the virtual Milan Fashion Week on Thursday, models wore wide-leg trousers with suspenders, velvet jumpsuits and round-shouldered jackets and coats, some with boule buttons, others with shiny patterns.
(Colin Perkel/Canadian Press - image credit) Hydro One is in the process of planning for a new high-voltage power line that will connect a transmission station just outside Chatham with one being built just outside of Comber. But the proposed route would take it across Highway 77 between Comber and Hwy. 401. Mayor Tom Bain said that section is too close to a populated area. "You're looking at a lot of interference for TVs and computers and you're going to get objections to the unsightly mess," said Bain, who supports the construction of the line because it is being built to meet the needs of the growing greenhouse industry and development in general. Hydro One chose the line out of eight options because it best met a number of criteria that took into account the natural and socio-economic environments, technical considerations and cost and consultation with a number of stakeholders such as Indigenous groups. It will increase the power to the entire region by 400 megawatts. But Comber resident Jodi Langley wants to know more. "I don't feel like we're very informed about what's going on in our community for the power. I want to know what it's going to do for us or how it's going to affect what's going on around here," said Langley. But Hydro One's vice-president of stakeholder relations Daniel Levitan says there's still a lot of work to do to determine the exact pathway. "We will be circling back with Mayor Bain and the County of Essex and local mayors, councils and certainly local businesses to now take a look at the specific path and ensure that it's safe and impacts the local environment, local businesses as minimally as possible," said Levitan. Hydro One will hold an online information session on March 11.
(Lee Jin-man/The Associated Press - image credit) After a months-long review, Health Canada regulators today approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University-AstraZeneca for use in Canada — clearing the way for millions more inoculations in the months ahead. The department's regulators concluded the shot has an efficacy rate of 62 per cent and have authorized it for use in all adults 18 and older. While it's less effective than the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines at preventing infection, the shot is 100 per cent effective in preventing the severe outcomes of COVID-19 — including serious illness, hospitalizations and death — the regulators said. "Overall, there are no important safety concerns, and the vaccine was well tolerated by participants," the decision reads. Canada has secured access to 22 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, most of which are slated to arrive between April and September. A nurse administers a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Goyang, South Korea, on Friday. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand has said the government is trying to negotiate faster delivery of these doses now that new, more contagious COVID-19 variants are taking hold in Canada. Health Canada also has authorized the vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute, which has partnered with AstraZeneca to make that company's COVID-19 product at its facilities in India. That version, which is biologically identical to the AstraZeneca shot but is manufactured under different conditions, has been branded "Covishield." The Serum Institute, which is working with Mississauga, Ont.-based Verity Pharmaceuticals, will deliver 500,000 doses of its vaccine next Wednesday, the company told CBC News. A further 1 million doses will arrive in April and 500,000 more in early May. With these new doses, Canada now stands to receive about 6.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines by the end of March. That's enough to fully vaccinate just over 3.2 million people. "This is very encouraging news. It means more people vaccinated, and sooner. Because for AstraZeneca, just like we were for Pfizer and Moderna, we are ready to get doses rolling," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. "Vaccines will keep arriving faster and faster as we head into the spring." WATCH: Anand says Canada will receive first batch of AstraZeneca in coming days Anand told reporters her department "will leave no stone unturned" in its quest to bring more doses into Canada "as quickly as possible." She said the government has received "positive indications" that the other AstraZeneca deliveries are on track but she could not say just how many shots will arrive in the second quarter. What is known is that at least 26.4 million more doses — 23 million from Moderna and Pfizer combined, 1.5 million AstraZeneca doses from the Serum Institute and another 1.9 million AstraZeneca doses from COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative — will arrive between April and June. All told, the country is projected to have enough supply to fully vaccinate at least 16.45 million people by Canada Day. The supply will grow once delivery schedules for the AstraZeneca doses are confirmed. Canada is a vaccine laggard in the Western world right now; dozens of other countries have vaccinated more people per capita. The government has been insisting that everyone who wants a shot will get one by the end of September. Asked today if the new approval will result in an earlier end date for the vaccination campaign, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said she's hopeful but there could be more "bumps" and "unexpected challenges" that disrupt delivery schedules. Canada faced shortages earlier this year when Pfizer retooled its Belgian plant and Moderna slashed planned deliveries. 'Promising evidence' Some countries — such as France — have restricted the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under the age of 65, even though the World Health Organization insists the product is safe and effective for all age groups Health Canada said the clinical trial results "were too limited to allow a reliable estimate of vaccine efficacy in individuals 65 years of age and older," but the department was comfortable with approving the shot because of "post-market experience in regions where the vaccine has already been deployed." Speaking at a technical briefing today, Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, conceded there was limited clinical trial data about the efficacy of the shot in people over the age of 65 but said regulators approved it because of "promising evidence from real-world use of the vaccine." Other countries — notably Australia, the European Union and the United Kingdom — have authorized AstraZeneca already for use in their jurisdictions. WATCH | How the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has performed so far: In a study of vaccine efficacy in Scotland — where both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer products have been in widespread use for weeks — researchers found the AstraZeneca product reduced the risk of COVID-19 hospital admissions by roughly 94 per cent, 28 to 34 days after the first shot. The researchers also warned that the study sample was quite small. While there are risks associated with any vaccine, Sharma said, the benefits of getting an AstraZeneca shot "outweigh their potential risks." Sharma said it will be up to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to decide which groups should get each type of vaccine. And while the AstraZeneca product was found to be less effective than the Pfizer and Moderna shots already approved, Sharma said there's no doubt that a dose of this vaccine is better than no dose at all. Still better than the flu shot She cautioned Canadians against comparing efficacy rates of the various vaccine products, saying that in the areas that matter most — preventing serious illness, reducing hospitalizations and curbing the number of deaths — "all these vaccines are good." "If you look across all the clinical trials of the tens of thousands of people who were involved, the number of cases of people who died from COVID-19 that got vaccines was zero," Sharma said. "The number of people that were hospitalized because their COVID-19 disease was so severe was zero. The number of people that died because of an adverse event or effect of the vaccine was zero." She also noted that the AstraZeneca vaccine's efficacy rate is actually higher than that of other common vaccine products — including the flu shot. Flu vaccines, which differ each year depending on the flu strain in circulation, are typically 54 to 64 effective against seasonal influenza, Sharma said, and yet they are still widely used to offer some level of protection to more people. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines. We're putting more on the buffet table to be used," she said. WATCH: Dr. Sharma outlines efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine Health Canada is recommending that the second dose of the AstraZeneca product be administered four to 12 weeks after the first, but Sharma said there is early evidence suggesting it's best to wait the full 12 weeks to deploy the second shot. "With an increased interval, the efficacy might be much higher," she said. The product was approved in Australia, for example, but regulators there recommended a three-month wait between shots. Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer shots, which are based on groundbreaking mRNA technlogy, the AstraZeneca product uses a more conventional viral vector load vaccine platform. The AstraZeneca shot also doesn't require the same cold storage equipment necessary for the other two. The product can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated temperatures of 2 to 8 C for at least six months. This vaccine also can be easily administered in traditional health care settings, like a doctor's office or pharmacy. Regulator still reviewing 2 other vaccine candidates Health Canada is still reviewing two other vaccine candidates: one from Johnson & Johnson and another from Novavax. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's vaccines advisory committee will meet today to review the clinical trial data for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A final U.S. decision on issuing emergency use authorization (EUA) could come as early as this weekend. Canada has ordered 10 million doses from Johnson & Johnson with options for up to 28 million more, if necessary. Most of those shots are expected to arrive by the end of September. While Health Canada regulators are aiming to make a decision on this product on a timeline similar to that of the FDA, Sharma said the department is still collecting some data from the manufacturer and a final decision is not expected this weekend.
NORTH HURON - Shaelin and Shelby Green, representing Green’s Meat Market, made a special request at the North Huron council meeting on Feb. 16. The pair asked councillors to make an exception to the delay in hooking up to the township’s water and sewage system. “Green’s Meat Market, along with many other businesses on the border of North Huron and Morris-Turnberry, have been placed in the middle of a crossfire due to the lack of ability to come to an agreement on cross border services,” they told council. The Greens stated that since the business’s devastating fire last June, they “have received a tremendous amount of support from Morris-Turnberry and believe it is time we receive the same from North Huron.” Reeve Bernie Bailey had a response ready for the delegation, thanking them for taking the time to come and talk to them and expressed condolences for the business’s loss. “But I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear, but I’m going to tell you what you need to know,” he said. Bailey said that he had spoken with “their dad,” shortly after the fire and at that time, he had hoped that Morris-Turnberry would “surely have reached an agreement six months from now,” when the building was ready to open. He told them that several attempts had been made to Morris-Turnberry council, but all he heard was “no” to any agreement. “North Huron values your business, and we recognize the contributions your business makes to our community,” Bailey told the delegation. “We very much want your business to be back in operation.” Bailey encouraged the Greens to approach the Morris-Turnberry council and present a delegation to them regarding the subject. Once an agreement is in place, North Huron would “gladly work with Greens.” Bailey said North Huron council will do everything in their power to get Green’s Meat Market back up and running, but “I have to have an agreement to make it legal.” In an interview with the Wingham Advance Times after the Feb. 16 meeting, Bailey said he believes Morris-Turnberry doesn’t care at all about Green’s Meat Market and their troubles, saying “they get their taxes, no matter if Green’s is operating or not.” The Greens “approached the wrong council,” he said, adding, “they need to approach Morris-Turnberry.” The legal aspects of hooking up the water and sewage alone are hurdles Bailey can’t jump. “Without an agreement, we are not authorized to work on Morris-Turnberry land,” he said. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Police and teachers will not jump to the head of the queue in the second phase of Britain's COVID-19 vaccination rollout, with people instead prioritised by age, officials advising the government said on Friday, describing this as the best way to keep up the pace of immunisations. Britain's vaccine programme has been among the fastest in the world, meeting a government target to offer a first dose of vaccination to 15 million high-risk people by mid-February. Some frontline workers such as police and teachers had been calling for prioritisation on the basis of their jobs, but Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 chairman for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said such an approach could complicate the rollout.
ALGONQUIN PARK, Ont. — Ontario Parks says that reservations for its campsites have nearly doubled since the same time last year.The provincial government agency says that bookings made between Jan. 1 and Feb. 5 have increased almost 100 per cent.They say that campers have made 58,475 reservations in that span this year, up from 29,504 reservations in the same period in 2020.The agency recommends that campers do their research well in advance of their reservation date becoming available on its website so they can book as early as possible.They also suggest camping at a less popular park to ensure greater availability for sites.Algonquin, Killbear, Pinery, Sandbanks and Bon Echo are Ontario's five busiest provincial parks.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Hamilton police say they have arrested a man and woman after finding the body of a dead baby. Police say they were called early Wednesday morning with a tip about "suspicious circumstances" at a home. Investigators say that following that information they found a body of what appears to be a newborn child buried in the building's basement. A post-mortem examination will take place over the coming days to determine the cause of death. The 34-year-old man and 24-year-old woman were charged on Thursday with criminal negligence causing death and Interfering with a dead body. Police say they expect to be at the scene for several days. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
La Convention des maires pour le climat et l’énergie du Canada (CMMC) a décerné à la Ville de Laval l’insigne de réussite pour avoir fait progresser ses objectifs en matière d’environnement. Cette reconnaissance n’est certainement pas étrangère à l’ambitieux plan de réduction des gaz à effet de serre adopté au conseil municipal de novembre dernier, qui vise à diminuer du tiers ses émissions de GES d’ici 2035 par rapport au niveau de 1990. L’administration Demer partage cet honneur avec 18 autres Municipalités canadiennes dont Candiac, Beaconsfield, Prévost et la MRC de Rivière-du-Loup au Québec. Rappelons qu’en 2019, Laval avait été sélectionnée pour faire partie de la première cohorte du projet Villes-vitrines dirigé par la CMMC au pays. Ce programme de 12 mois offrait aux Villes un accompagnement intensif pour les aider à réduire leur empreinte écologique et s'adapter aux changements climatiques. «[C’] est une belle récompense pour tous nos efforts déployés jusqu'à maintenant. Elle nous encourage à poursuivre notre travail et ainsi dépasser nos objectifs en matière d’environnement», s’est réjouie Virginie Dufour, responsable des dossiers en environnement au comité exécutif, le 25 février. Depuis son adhésion à la Convention mondiale des maires pour le climat et l’énergie en 2016, la Ville produit annuellement un inventaire des émissions lavalloises de GES, ce qui lui permet notamment de mesurer l’efficacité des mesures de réduction mises en place. Parmi les actions phares de la stratégie lavalloise à la lutte aux changements climatiques, notons le programme de compensation des GES. Il s’agit d’une initiative municipale novatrice en vertu de laquelle les promoteurs et développeurs immobiliers contribuent à un fonds vert qui permet de financer des initiatives de réduction des émissions, telle la collecte à domicile des appareils réfrigérants dont se débarrassent les Lavallois. L’automne prochain, la Ville lancera une campagne sur la lutte aux changements climatiques afin de sensibiliser ses citoyens, susciter leur engagement et les inciter à changer leurs habitudes quotidiennes. Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
From the United States to Germany and Australia, government borrowing costs on Friday were set to end February with their biggest monthly rises in years as expectations for a post-pandemic ignition of inflation gained a life of their own. Australia's 10-year bond yield and Britain's 30-year yields were set for their biggest monthly jump since the 2009 global financial crisis. Even after a Friday respite from this week's brutal drubbing, Australia's 10-year yield is up 70 basis points in February and New Zealand's 10-year yield is up almost 77 bps.