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Canada doubles dollars to COVAX, but no sign of donating doses yet

MIA RABSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 2nd, 2021

OTTAWA — International Development Minister Karina Gould says Canada is doubling its dollar commitment to the global vaccine-sharing alliance known as COVAX, but isn’t yet committing to a specific donation of excess vaccine doses.

Gould is among leaders and ministers attending a virtual COVAX summit hosted by Japan today where at least a dozen countries are increasing their pledges to the facility one year after it was created.

COVAX said last week it needed another $2 billion pledged by today to secure enough vaccines to vaccinate almost one-third of people living in low and middle-income countries.

But it also says it needs an immediate redirection of doses from wealthy countries, which are well ahead in the race to vaccinate.

Gould says Canada is doubling Canada’s financial commitment to COVAX from $220 million to $440 million.

Canada has previously said it will donate excess vaccine doses to COVAX, but has not yet said when or how many.

COVAX was established to try and ensure equitable access to vaccines by having wealthy countries buy into it, to get doses for themselves and help buy doses for countries that can’t afford them.

Canada has been heavily criticized for being the only G7 nation to accept doses from COVAX rather than donating its share back to countries in higher need.

The arm of COVAX helping 92 low and middle income countries is known as the Advance Market Commitment, and Gould was named the co-chair of its engagement group in January to establish a plan so wealthier countries could donate or exchange doses of vaccine directly.

“With dedicated funding from Canada, COVAX has developed a way to easily and swiftly share surplus vaccine doses,” Gould told the Tokyo summit this morning.

Europe has pledged to donate 100 million doses, the United States 80 million doses, and several other countries, such as New Zealand, have also offered some of their doses either from their own direct purchase agreements or by redirecting their own COVAX allotments.

Japan said today it would donate 30 million doses this year, while Spain said it would add 15 million doses.

More than half of Canadians now have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, putting Canada among the top 10 countries in the world for the number of people with at least one dose.

It has given 64 doses for every 100 people, putting it in the top 20 for the total number of doses administered per capita, when second doses are included.

By comparison, 25 countries, mostly in Africa, have given fewer than one dose for every 100 people.

India’s Serum Institute was to be one of the major suppliers of COVAX but because of the massive third wave in India this spring, the country has banned further export of doses for any reason until at least the end of the year.

COVAX said in a statement last week this has left it with a 190-million-dose shortfall to meet its commitments by the end of June.

“The pandemic has just taken a frightening new turn, as a deadly surge of cases rages across South Asia and other hotspots,” says a May 27 call to action statement by COVAX.

“Countries with the largest supplies should redirect doses to COVAX now, to have maximum impact.”

COVAX is one of three arms of the ACT Accelerator, a global program to make sure the entire world has access to COVID-19 testing, treatments and vaccines.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last month Canada would increase its overall support to the ACT Accelerator by $375 million to a total of more than $1.3 billion. Today’s $220 million donation to COVAX comes from that May pledge.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2021.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

 

NACI to update guidelines on mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines

KAYLA BUTLER | posted Tuesday, Jun 1st, 2021

OTTAWA – Canada’s vaccine panel is set to change its recommendation on mixing different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines.

It’s expected that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) will give the go-ahead for people to take different vaccines for their first and second doses.

So far, data has been murky on whether it was okay to mix mRNA shots, like Pfizer and Moderna, with the viral vector vaccines, like AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson.

NACI will give its official recommendations in a press conference at 12 p.m. ET. We will have the update streamed live on this website and on our Facebook page.

Canada’s economy grew at 5.6% annual rate in first quarter of year

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 1st, 2021

Statistics Canada says the economy grew at an annual rate of 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

The figure for the first three months of the year is better than the contraction first forecast months ago, but still represents a slowdown from the 9.6 per cent annualized growth seen over the last three months of 2020.

The economic boost was aided by the loosening of public health restrictions that helped increases in goods-producing and services sectors.

The statistics agency says the quarter ended with an increase of 1.1 per cent in real gross domestic product in March, following the 0.4 per cent registered in February.

Construction expanded for the third consecutive quarter, driven by construction of single-family homes and renovations as Canadians looked to improve their houses or find a larger space.

Statistics Canada notes output in the public sector contributed the most to growth service-producing industries in the first quarter, including health care.

At the end of the quarter, Statistics Canada says overall economic activity was one per cent below the levels seen pre-pandemic in February 2020.

Statistics Canada also estimates the second quarter started with a stumble, with a drop in economic output of 0.8 per cent for April, which would be the first decline since April 2020.

The agency says April’s decline would leave overall economic activity about two per cent below pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld writes that investors are already looking past the rest of the second quarter, hoping vaccinations will pave the way for stronger growth in the second half of the year.

Canada to receive 2.9M vaccine doses this week as Pfizer-BioNTech increase deliveries

LEE BERTHIAUME, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, May 31st, 2021

OTTAWA — Canada is set to receive 2.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this week thanks in large part to an increase in planned deliveries from Pfizer and BioNTech.

The two pharmaceutical companies had been delivering about 2 million shots per week through the month of May, but will increase that to 2.4 million doses per week starting on Monday.

The federal government says the other 500,000 shots due to arrive this week will come from Moderna, which will deliver the jabs in two separate shipments.

The first will arrive in the middle of the week while the second is due for delivery next weekend, with the doses set for distribution to provinces and territories next week.

The government is also expecting another 1 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of June, though a detailed delivery schedule has not been confirmed.

The fate of more than 300,000 shots from Johnson and Johnson that were first delivered in April remains unclear as Health Canada continues reviewing their safety following concerns about possible tainting at a Baltimore production facility.

The arrival of more Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots comes after Health Canada’s Saturday decision to extend the expiry date of tens of thousands of AstraZeneca doses by one month. Many Canadians had been scrambling to get a second shot before the original best-by date of May 31.

The department stressed in a statement that the move was supported by ample scientific evidence.

News of the extension came as pharmacists and physicians in Ontario planned to work through the weekend to use up 45,000 shots expiring on May 31 and 10,000 more with a best-before date in June.

Any injections formerly set to expire on Monday can now be used until July 1, according to Health Canada’s new guidance.

Some provinces have paused their use of the vaccine over supply issues and concerns around a rare but deadly blood clotting disorder linked to the shots.

There were just over two dozen confirmed cases of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, also known as VITT, in Canada as of last Thursday, with another 14 under investigation.

Five people had died of the condition, the Public Health Agency of Canada said.

Ontario resumed the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for second doses this past week, citing evidence that the likelihood of developing the condition is even lower after the follow-up shot than it is after the first injection.

As of Sunday night, provinces reported administering more than 23 million doses, with more than half the population having received at least one shot. Nearly 2 million Canadians, or about five per cent of the population, have been fully vaccinated.

Why doesn’t Canadian health care include dental coverage?

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, May 31st, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, it’s always been this way but … why? When it comes to everything from routine cleaning appointments and checkups to more complicated procedures like abscesses and crowns, many Canadians scramble to pay for their own dental care. Even for those lucky enough to have insurance, many employers’ plans don’t have enough coverage to take care of the really expensive stuff.

Is dental care an afterthought in this country? Was there ever a plan to include it in universal health care? What do other countries do? And does any party have a plan to fix this?

GUEST: Anne Thériault, freelance journalist (Read Anne’s piece in The Walrus)

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Thursday, May 27, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 28th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 408,034 new vaccinations administered for a total of 22,346,755 doses given. Nationwide, 1,806,609 people or 4.8 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 58,963.539 per 100,000.

There were 594,840 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 25,985,034 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 86 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 32,231 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 286,021 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 546.226 per 1,000. In the province, 2.08 per cent (10,866) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 28,080 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 358,370 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 68 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.81 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 9,044 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 87,861 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 553.877 per 1,000. In the province, 8.11 per cent (12,868) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 8,190 new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 105,595 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 67 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.21 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 78,670 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 542,196 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 555.587 per 1,000. In the province, 4.40 per cent (42,904) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 52,650 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 651,450 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 67 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.23 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 54,380 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 440,338 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 564.507 per 1,000. In the province, 4.76 per cent (37,105) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 42,110 new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 533,805 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 68 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 90,486 new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,202,132 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 607.964 per 1,000. There were 47,970 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 5,877,419 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 69 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.51 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 143,748 new vaccinations administered for a total of 8,530,698 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 580.751 per 1,000. In the province, 4.05 per cent (594,854) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 38,610 new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 10,075,515 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 69 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.67 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 32,616 new vaccinations administered for a total of 793,748 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 576.431 per 1,000. In the province, 6.75 per cent (92,906) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 65,910 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 944,890 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 69 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 9,427 new vaccinations administered for a total of 679,274 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 576.069 per 1,000. In the province, 5.31 per cent (62,596) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 63,180 new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 815,975 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 69 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 37,170 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,615,747 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 594.212 per 1,000. In the province, 8.27 per cent (363,926) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 236,340 new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 2,945,025 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 67 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.82 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 52,860 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,032,811 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 591.01 per 1,000. In the province, 3.03 per cent (155,730) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 11,800 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 3,511,360 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 68 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 175 new vaccinations administered for a total of 52,535 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,258.896 per 1,000. In the territory, 59.17 per cent (24,691) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 57,020 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 140 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 92.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 52,237 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,157.761 per 1,000. In the territory, 51.74 per cent (23,344) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 63,510 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 140 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 82.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 31,157 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 804.55 per 1,000. In the territory, 36.44 per cent (14,113) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 45,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 120 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 69.08 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as some approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 12 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Liberal MP William Amos caught on camera again during virtual House of Commons

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 28th, 2021

Liberal MP William Amos has once again been caught unawares on webcam.

“Last night, while attending House of Commons proceedings virtually, in a non-public setting, I urinated without realizing I was on camera,” the Quebec MP wrote in a statement posted to Twitter late Thursday night.

“I am deeply embarrassed by my actions and the distress they may have caused anybody who witnessed them,” wrote Amos. “While accidental and not visible to the public, this was completely unacceptable, and I apologize unreservedly,.”

He added that he is temporarily stepping away from his role as parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and from his work as a member of the House of Commons veterans’ affairs committee so that he can get help.

“I will continue to represent my constituents and I’m grateful to be their voice in Parliament,” wrote Amos, who has represented the riding of Pontiac since 2015. “I am deeply appreciative for the support of my staff and the love of my family.”

Last month, Amos made headlines around the world after he appeared naked on an internal parliamentary feed of virtual question period.

Amos has said he was changing his clothes after a jog and did not realize his laptop camera was turned on.

Bloc Quebecois MP Sebastien Lemire later apologized in the House of Commons for taking a screenshot of the moment, saying he had no idea how the photo quickly made its way to the media and ended up circulating online around the globe.

At a meeting earlier this month of the all-party board of internal economy _ the governing body of the House _ Liberal whip Mark Holland said Lemire should reveal where he sent the image and what his intent was.

That board was set to meet again earlier Thursday, but the meeting ended up being put off.

Why online conspiracies aren’t just an QAnon problem

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, May 28th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, this is the story of a Jeopardy! contestant who made a white supremacist gesture on the program. Only he didn’t. But that didn’t stop thousands of people, including several dozen former Jeopardy! contestants from insisting that he had, and hunting ceaselessly for evidence to back up their assumptions.

This is a story about what the internet is doing to all our minds. Every day. And what we can learn from watching it happen in real time.

GUEST: Ben Smith, media columnist, New York Times

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Who have provinces pegged to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks?

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, May 27th, 2021

As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks.

Health Canada says up to 37 million doses of vaccine could be shipped in May and June, but only 20.3 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and 1.04 million doses of Moderna are confirmed. The remaining 11.3 million doses of Moderna, and another four million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca from various sources are still tentative.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Moderna has assured her it will deliver millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine next month but still hasn’t confirmed the exact amount or timing of deliveries.

Anand says she has been on the phone to Moderna repeatedly, to push for an actual delivery schedule for June and July.

Moderna was originally supposed to ship 12.3 million doses between April and June, with the figure later revised to between 10 million and 12 million doses.

However the company has only shipped 3.7 million since April 1 and has no confirmed deliveries in place now.

Provinces initially suspended giving AstraZeneca shots to people under the age of 55 based on an advisory committee’s advice, but their recommendation changed on April 23 to reflect that the shot is safe for anyone aged 30 and older.

More than 655,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the global vaccine sharing alliance known as COVAX, were scheduled to arrive and be distributed to provinces this week, but most provinces said they would put them on ice in reserve for second doses.

More than 20 million people across Canada have now had at least one dose of a vaccine.

Ottawa confirmed Wednesday that 20.05 million people have been vaccinated, or about 63 per cent of eligible Canadians over the age of 12, and almost 53 per cent of everyone, including children under the age of 12 who won’t become eligible to be vaccinated for several more months.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says by the summer, Canada will have enough vaccines so that every eligible resident will have gotten their first dose, and by September, it will have enough doses for everyone to be fully vaccinated.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says it  believes it is safe and effective to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to adolescents.

Health Canada authorized Pfizer for kids between 12 and 15 years old on May 5, after the company completed a clinical trial which found it was safe and 100 per cent effective at preventing kids in that age group from getting COVID-19.

Here’s a list of the inoculation plans throughout Canada:

Newfoundland and Labrador

All people in the province aged 12 and older are now able to book an appointment for a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

So far 1.97 per cent (10,321) of the population has been fully vaccinated.

Health Minister John Haggie says the province has 1,480 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine set to expire by the end of the month.

He says if the province cannot use them in time, they’ll be sent off to join the federal vaccine supply chain.

Nova Scotia

Appointments for an initial COVID-19 vaccine shot were opened across the province Tuesday to people 20 years of age and older, and officials said vaccine appointments would likely be opened to those 12 and up by the end of the week.

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout is ahead of schedule and should see second doses being administered two to four weeks earlier than originally planned, officials said Tuesday.

Under the province’s accelerated plan, someone who received their first dose of vaccine on March 22 and is due for a second dose on July 5 will now be able to reschedule their second appointment for as early as the week of June 20.

The province has stopped the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine as a first dose.

The Health Department says the decision was based on “an abundance of caution” due to an observed increase in the rare blood-clotting condition linked to this vaccine.

The department also says it will reschedule anyone who was to receive AstraZeneca to instead be inoculated with Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna “in a timely manner.”

As of Tuesday, 521,053 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 42,205 people having received their required second dose.

Prince Edward Island

In Prince Edward Island, residents as young as 16 can book a COVID-19 vaccine.

People 16 years and older who have certain underlying medical conditions, pregnant woman and eligible members of their household can also get a vaccine.

So far 7.66 per cent (12,156) of the population has been fully vaccinated.

New Brunswick

Residents in New Brunswick aged 12 to 17 are now eligible to book an appointment for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials also say residents 55 and older who received an Astra-Zenaca vaccine for the first dose at least eight weeks ago can now get a second dose of the vaccine with informed consent.

Quebec

In Quebec, all residents 12 and older are able to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

The province’s health minister says Quebecers 12 to 17 years old will be fully vaccinated by the time they return to school in September.

Quebec says it administered 58,764 doses of vaccine Tuesday, for a total of more than 5.1 million.

About 56.2 per cent of people in the province have received at least one dose.

Ontario

All adults in Ontario can now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

People turning 18 in 2021 can book Pfizer-BioNTech shots.

Youth aged 12 and older can also book appointments across Ontario.

They can book through the provincial online portal, call centre and through pharmacies offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only shot authorized by Health Canada for use in youth aged 12 and older.

The age group is becoming eligible a week ahead of schedule, though some regions have already started vaccinating youth at pop-ups and larger clinics.

The province aims to see all eligible Ontarians fully vaccinated by the end of September.

The province is distributing shots to regions on a per-capita basis, after two weeks of sending half of its vaccine supply to hot spots for COVID-19 infections.

Ontario is also resuming use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine but only as a second dose.

Dr. David Williams, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says those who received the first dose of AstraZeneca between March 10 and March 19 during a pilot project at pharmacies and some doctor’s offices in several Ontario communities will be first in line to receive their second dose.

Starting next week, those people could opt to receive the second dose at a 10-week interval − the recommended interval is 12 weeks − in order to use up the 45,000 doses currently in refrigerators in pharmacies and family doctors’ offices that will expire in 10 days. Another 10,000 doses are set to expire next month.

Manitoba

Manitoba is using the Pfizer vaccine for everyone aged 12 and up, and the Moderna vaccines for people aged 18 and up These are available through a few channels including so-called supersites in larger communities.

The province is also allowing anyone 40 and over to get an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through pharmacies and medical clinics, subject to availability. People 30-39 can get a shot if they have certain underlying health conditions such as chronic liver failure or severe obesity.

The province has opened up second-dose appointments to all Indigenous people aged 12 and up, to people with certain medical conditions such as severe heart failure and Down syndrome, and anyone who received their first dose on or before March 29.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan says it reached the Step 2 threshold on the province’s Re-Opening Roadmap today, with over 70 per cent of residents age 30 and older having received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

That means Step 2’s relaxation of restrictions will begin June 20, which includes easing capacity thresholds on retail, personal care services, restaurants and bars, although they must still maintain physical distancing among occupants or have barriers in place.

Step 2 rules also raise caps on private indoor gatherings to 15, while capacity limits jump to 150 for both public indoor gatherings and all outdoor assemblies, whether public or private.

Premier Scott Moe says once 70 per cent of the entire adult population is vaccinated, Saskatchewan can move to Step Three and remove almost all of the remaining public health orders.

Saskatchewan residents aged 12 and older are now eligible to book their first COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

A school immunization program for those aged 12-18 will be introduced in June, but eligible residents of that age can also be immunized at clinics offering the Pfizer vaccine.

Anyone 85 and older or anyone who received their first vaccine dose before February 15 can now book their second dose.

Anyone diagnosed with cancer and solid organ transplant recipients will be receiving a letter of eligibility in the mail which will allow them priority access to a second dose.

There are drive-thru and walk-in vaccination clinics in communities across the province.

The province says as of Tuesday, 63 per cent of all Saskatchewan adults have now received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Thirty-seven per cent of those in the 80-plus age group are now fully vaccinated.

Alberta

Every Albertan aged 12 and older is now eligible for a vaccine.

As of May 18, more than half of all Albertans over the age of 12 had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health has said people who are immunocompromised can book a second dose three of four weeks after their first shot. All other Albertans are eligible to get their second dose three to four months after the first.

For the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the province lowered the minimum age to 30. They are, however, reserving the remaining supply for second doses when people are eligible.

More than 250 pharmacies are offering immunizations. Ten physicians’ clinics across the province are also providing shots as part of a pilot project.

About 15,000 workers at 136 meat-packing plants across the province can also get shots at on-site clinics, pharmacies and clinics.

British Columbia

Families can get vaccinated together in British Columbia as the government allows youth between the ages of 12 and 17 to get their COVID-19 shot.

The shots will be administered at community clinics instead of in schools based on feedback from families, with 310,000 children in B.C. eligible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved for that age group.

The government said the goal is to have those children vaccinated by the end of the school year.

People who’ve had a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will have the option of choosing their second shot within a four-month interval in B.C.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are set to expire at the end of June and were reserved for people who may not be able to get an mRNA vaccine, such as the one made by Pfizer-BioNTech.

And she says more information is expected by the first week of June from a study in the United Kingdom on the effectiveness of switching vaccines for the second dose.

Henry says an increase in the supply of vaccines in the coming weeks means everyone can expect to have their second dose moved up.

As of Tuesday, almost three million doses of vaccine have been administered to adults over 18, with 152,010 of those second doses.

Nunavut

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Nunavut has placed an order for doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with the federal government to vaccinate people ages 12 to 17 in the territory.

The Moderna vaccine is currently the only one available in Nunavut.

Nunavut has opened vaccinations to anyone 18 and older.

It is also offering shots to rotational workers coming from Southern Canada.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories is now offering vaccinations against COVID-19 to young people between 12 and 17.

The territory, which has only been using the Moderna vaccine, recently exchanged some of that for doses of the Pfizer product, which Health Canada has now approved for anyone as young as 12.

Yukon

The territory started vaccinating children aged 12 to 17 on May 31.

The government says clinics in most communities will be held in schools, while those in Whitehorse can get their shot at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre. The children will be getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The territory says because of limited supply and stricter handling requirements, the vaccine will only be available for a short time.

It says second doses for those 12 to 17 will start on June 23 and medical travel will be supported for youth who aren’t able to make the clinic date in their community.

The government says more than 75 per cent of all eligible adults have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

That amounts to 26,242 adults who have received their first dose, while the territory says 23,236 have received their second dose.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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