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Amid a slow rollout, a Canadian vaccination success story

THE BIG STORY | posted Wednesday, Mar 10th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, in most Canadian towns and cities, public health is still trying to vaccinate people 80 and up. In Canada’s North, it’s a whole different story. In larger northern cities, 40-somethings are getting their shots. And in small, more remote places, everyone over 18 has been offered a jab.

No, it’s not practical in places like Toronto or Calgary because of sheer scale — but it’s worth noting that Northern communities have traditionally been underserved when it comes to health resources, and COVID-19 outbreaks in these settings can spread like wildfire. And so far at least, all levels of government have gone to extraordinary lengths to get needles to everyone. How much had to happen for this to go so right?

GUEST: Kent Driscoll, APTN National News

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

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

N.S. mass killer showed off his ‘military’ style gun, claiming it was for movie

MICHAEL TUTTON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 9th, 2021

HALIFAX — In the months before he killed 22 people in the Nova Scotia mass shooting, the gunman — who didn’t have a firearms licence — showed a powerful rifle to others and made up a fanciful story about its purpose, witnesses say.

Newly released court documents quote a former “work-related friend” of Gabriel Wortman telling police that near the end of December 2019 or early 2020, the killer opened the trunk of his car and “showed him a big military gun.”

The work associate, who said he’d known the killer for two decades, told police the gunman “brought the gun back from Maine and said that it had no firing pin and that it was for a movie he was going to be making.”

The gunman would go on to use illegally obtained guns with over-capacity magazines, including two semi-automatic rifles and two pistols, to commit his murders during a 13-hour rampage on April 18-19, 2020.

Past summaries of interviews that police carried out to secure search warrants have said guns were obtained by the killer in the United States and that the 51-year-old denturist — who was shot dead by police on April 19 — smuggled the weapons across the border.

Lisa Banfield, the gunman’s common-law spouse, is also quoted as telling police that he “would show guns to people.”

According to an April 28, 2020, statement, Banfield told police that Wortman “showed her sister’s boyfriend a gun at the warehouse and he also showed her brother Jimmy the handgun.”

Banfield’s statement includes her account of how on the night of April 18 she and Wortman argued, and he went on to assault her before she managed to escape into the woods.

She has told police that the killer also fired one of his guns around her.

Banfield told police the killer confined her in a replica police vehicle with a divider between the front and back seats. “She was able to slide the window (of the divider) open and crawl through and escape before Gabriel Wortman returned,” says the summary of her statement.

“Wortman had a friend … who had a firearms licence and Lisa believed that Gabriel would tell (name redacted) what kind of gun he wanted and (he) would get the gun,” she’s quoted as telling police in the edited statement about the killer’s trips to Maine to acquire firearms.

“Lisa Banfield said that Gabriel Wortman had told her how he would wrap firearms and place them in the tonneau cover in order to transport them back to Canada from the United States.” A tonneau cover goes over the unoccupied rear compartment of a vehicle.

A spokeswoman for the RCMP declined comment on whether police ever received a report from anyone about Wortman having illegal guns.

The court documents also indicate that the gunman wasn’t shy about showing others his replica RCMP police vehicle and lying about why he had it.

A friend of one of the gunman’s victims, Aaron Tuck, is quoted as telling police in a May 6, 2020 statement that he and Tuck saw an unmarked police car, with a decal package laid out on a table nearby, at a residence belonging to Wortman.

The friend told police, “Wortman said that he was fixing up the car to use in parades.”

The work associate was also told by the gunman about his plans for a replica car.

“He was getting his car all done up like a RCMP car and…(the witness) thought the car was for the movie too,” he said in the April 27, 2020 statement.

During his rampage, the killer drove a replica RCMP police vehicle as he carried out his killings and eluded police.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

How will Canada (and the world) use immunity passports?

THE BIG STORY | posted Tuesday, Mar 9th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, once you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccine, you’ll also receive proof that you’ve got it. That’s not a new concept — we do it for children’s vaccinations all the time. The big question health organizations, governments and even businesses are currently contemplating though is what you’ll be able to do with it.

Will you need proof of vaccination to attend a concert this fall? What about to return to work in your office? To get on an airplane? The answers to these questions are ethically complex and need to be addressed thoroughly to ensure equitable access to society and to aim for any real semblance of a “return to normal”? So … will we get it right?

GUEST: Nicole Houssan, ethicist at Binghamton University, director of the Global Health Impact project

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

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Tuesday, March 9, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 9th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

There are 890,698 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 890,698 confirmed cases (30,332 active, 838,090 resolved, 22,276 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 3,043 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 79.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,408 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,915.

There were 27 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 259 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 37. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.61 per 100,000 people.

There have been 25,276,119 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,009 confirmed cases (88 active, 915 resolved, six deaths).

There were three new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 16.85 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people.

There have been 202,752 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 143 confirmed cases (28 active, 115 resolved, zero deaths).

There were two new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 17.54 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 113,010 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,659 confirmed cases (24 active, 1,570 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 2.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been 370,364 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,460 confirmed cases (37 active, 1,395 resolved, 28 deaths).

There were five new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 4.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 29 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people.

There have been 244,052 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 293,210 confirmed cases (6,933 active, 275,796 resolved, 10,481 deaths).

There were 579 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 80.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,857 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 694.

There were nine new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 82 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 122.23 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,473,820 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 309,927 confirmed cases (11,016 active, 291,834 resolved, 7,077 deaths).

There were 1,631 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 74.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 8,088 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,155.

There were 10 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 91 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 48.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 11,251,900 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 32,288 confirmed cases (1,145 active, 30,236 resolved, 907 deaths).

There were 63 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 83.02 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 394 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 56.

There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.76 per 100,000 people.

There have been 544,679 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 29,806 confirmed cases (1,463 active, 27,944 resolved, 399 deaths).

There were 97 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 124.12 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,005 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 144.

There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.17 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33.85 per 100,000 people.

There have been 593,201 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 136,119 confirmed cases (4,633 active, 129,566 resolved, 1,920 deaths).

There were 278 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 104.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,324 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 332.

There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 32 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.42 per 100,000 people.

There have been 3,461,539 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 84,569 confirmed cases (4,941 active, 78,237 resolved, 1,391 deaths).

There were 385 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 95.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,640 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 520.

There were four new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 27.02 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,988,597 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death).

There were zero new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,254 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (one active, 41 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,968 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 381 confirmed cases (23 active, 357 resolved, one death).

There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 58.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 23 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,907 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Canada set to receive more than 910,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week

LEE BERTHIAUME, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Mar 8th, 2021

Canada is set to receive 910,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week as pharmaceutical companies ramp up deliveries to make good on their contractual obligations by the end of the month.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says the country will receive nearly 445,000 shots from Pfizer-BioNTech for the second week running as the companies settle into a rhythm following a lengthy lull in January and much of February.

The remaining 465,000 shots are expected from Moderna, as the pharmaceutical firm steps up its delivery schedule from once every three weeks to once every two.

The influx of new shots comes as the federal government looks for vaccine-makers to finalize delivery of a total of eight million doses by March 31.

That includes 5.5 million from Pfizer-BioNTech — up from the four million originally expected — and two million from Moderna. Canada received 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine last week.

The federal government is not expecting any new deliveries from AstraZeneca-Oxford, nor does it anticipate receiving shipments of the newly approved vaccine from Johnson & Johnson until next month.

At that point, however, both manufacturers are on tap to deliver millions of shots per month.

That includes more than a million doses per week from Pfizer-BioNTech starting in the last week of March and into the following month.

“In April, we are anticipating a steep increase in vaccine availability,” Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military officer overseeing Canada’s inoculation distribution effort, said last week.

“This includes 23 million doses of both Pfizer and Moderna between April and June, and at least 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca Serum Institute of India vaccine arriving by mid-May.”


RELATED: Health Canada approves 1-shot Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine


Johnson & Johnson, whose single-dose vaccine received Health Canada approval on Friday, is the fourth vaccine to receive the green light from the regulator.

It uses a modified common-cold virus to carry a piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 to convince the body to mount an immune response to prevent future infections.

Clinical trials found it to be 66 per cent effective against moderate COVID-19-related illness, 85 per cent effective against severe illness, and 100 per cent effective against death.

“We can be really increasingly optimistic in our outlook and that is really great,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said on Friday.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the government has now confirmed total deliveries of 36.5 million vaccine doses by Canada Day which would be more than enough to get a single dose to each adult Canadian by then.

That doesn’t include any of the 10 million doses purchased from Johnson & Johnson, and includes none of the 20 million doses coming directly from AstraZeneca.

Every vaccine except Johnson & Johnson’s is given in two doses, but provinces are moving to implement new guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization stating those shots should be spaced out up to four months apart rather than three or four weeks.

Provinces are making the move to get more people vaccinated with a first dose, after real-world evidence showed strong data that one dose is highly effective on its own.

Nearly 1.7 million Canadians have now received at least one dose, and the pace of vaccinations has accelerated in the last two weeks. In the past seven days alone, more than 457,000 people were vaccinated, 2 1/2 times as many as in a similar period two weeks before.

A wage gap isn’t the only gender-based workplace inequality

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Mar 8th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, when we focus on gender-based inequality in the workplace, we usually talk about money. The wage gap has been a problem since women began joining the work force in large numbers. We’ve acknowledged it, companies have pledged to fix it and governments have passed laws to end it. But it persists.

The wage gap has become a shorthand way of referring to inequality at work. But it’s not the only gap. Think about the last time you worked in an office. How many other workers at your level were women? What about their managers, how many of them were women? And those managers’ managers? That, in a nutshell, is the Power Gap.

GUEST: Robyn Doolittle, The Globe and Mail

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 Mar. 8, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Mar 8th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday March 8, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 57,567 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,387,189 doses given. Nationwide, 565,719 people or 1.5 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 6,298.772 per 100,000.

There were 316,360 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,938,570 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 81.24 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

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

Newfoundland is reporting 4,472 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 24,757 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.279 per 1,000. In the province, 1.61 per cent (8,427) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 5,850 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 41,470 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,105 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 13,281 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 83.724 per 1,000. In the province, 3.32 per cent (5,273) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 1,170 new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 15,885 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 10 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.61 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 6,657 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 38,676 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 39.631 per 1,000. In the province, 1.48 per cent (14,395) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 11,700 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 73,680 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 52.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. In the province, 1.56 per cent (12,142) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 9,360 new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 56,135 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 60.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 16,124 new vaccinations administered for a total of 548,136 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 64.06 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 638,445 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.85 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 30,192 new vaccinations administered for a total of 890,604 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 60.63 per 1,000. In the province, 1.85 per cent (271,807) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 183,460 new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 1,086,745 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.95 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 2,106 new vaccinations administered for a total of 89,728 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 65.162 per 1,000. In the province, 2.20 per cent (30,334) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 124,840 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.87 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 1,428 new vaccinations administered for a total of 91,884 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 77.924 per 1,000. In the province, 2.38 per cent (28,011) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 18,540 new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 93,145 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 98.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 7,717 new vaccinations administered for a total of 290,391 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 65.967 per 1,000. In the province, 2.07 per cent (90,937) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 51,480 new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 326,445 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 311,208 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 60.646 per 1,000. In the province, 1.69 per cent (86,865) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 385,080 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.82 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 21,097 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 505.547 per 1,000. In the territory, 18.75 per cent (7,826) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 16,100 new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 35,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 84 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 60.28 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. In the territory, 10.10 per cent (4,558) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 16,200 new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 35,300 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 78 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 56.02 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,911 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 359.216 per 1,000. In the territory, 13.28 per cent (5,144) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 2,500 new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 26,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 68 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 52.69 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 the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 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 March 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Mar 5th, 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. Here’s a list of their plans to date:

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of “advanced age” and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority.

Newfoundland and Labrador announced Wednesday it was extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months.

Public health officials said the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said the decision is a game changer for the province’s vaccination prospects.

Nova Scotia

Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province’s first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23.

Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021.

Nova Scotia will get 13,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine the week of March 8.

Health officials said March 3 the upcoming shipment must be used by April 2 and therefore all 13,000 doses will be administered to residents across the province aged 50 to 64 years starting March 15.

The vaccine will be given out at 26 locations in Nova Scotia on a first come, first served basis.

Prince Edward Island

Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some.

Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be.

New Brunswick 

The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March.

The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees.

The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots.

Quebec 

Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city.

The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal.

Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March.

Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses.

The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said.

Ontario

Ontario has given its first vaccines to people in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, some health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings.

The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will include a service desk and online portal.

It said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units.
Several regions in Ontario have moved ahead with their plans to vaccinate the general public using their own booking systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments.

The province has also said it will extend the interval between doses of COVID-19 vaccines to up to four months.

Toronto began vaccinating police force members who respond to emergency calls on Monday and has also started offering vaccines to people experiencing homelessness.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones has said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will go to residents between the ages of 60 and 64, but has not elaborated yet on how it will be distributed except to say it won’t be through mass immunization sites.

The province has said it will follow the advice of a national panel that has recommended against using the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot on people aged 65 and older.

The health minister said the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot could be used in correctional facilities, but further details haven’t been released.

Manitoba

Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady.

Like British Columbia, Manitoba has already indicated it would opt for a four-month interval between doses.

Saskatchewan

The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage.

The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age.

It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable.

Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce.

Premier Scott Moe said Thursday that people will get their second shot up to four months after the first, which falls in line with a recent recommendation from Canada’s national immunization committee.

Alberta 

Alberta’s health minister says 437,000 people can soon begin booking appointments for the next round of COVID-19 vaccinations and the province hopes to hit a major milestone before July.

Tyler Shandro said the province expects to offer all Albertans aged 18 and over a first dose of vaccine by the end of June.

So far, Alberta has delivered 266,000 doses of vaccine. About 176,000 Albertans have been vaccinated, including 90,000 fully immunized with the recommended two doses.

Shandro said residents aged 65 to 74, and First Nations, Inuit and Metis aged 50-plus, can begin booking March 15. The province had originally not expected to begin this stage of vaccination until April.

The AstraZeneca vaccine will for now be offered to adults aged 50 to 64 who don’t have a severe chronic illness.

Alberta has also said it will follow other provinces by extending the time between the first dose and the second to four months.

British Columbia

British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors’ supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff.

Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up.

Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned.

She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

It’s now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says.

Nunavut

The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18.

After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose.

Nunavut’s priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated

The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month.

Yukon

Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March.

Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Poll finds Trudeau, Ontario have done ‘bad job’ with vaccine rollout

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Mar 5th, 2021

A majority of Canadians believe the Trudeau Liberals have done a bad job when it comes to vaccine distribution while an almost equal number of Ontarians find fault with Doug Ford’s vaccine rollout plan.

A Maru Public Opinion poll finds 57 per cent think the federal government is not doing a good job in delivering vaccines . That’s up from 43 per cent who felt the same way during the first week of January.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – the original two vaccines approved by the federal government – ran into supply issues in the month of February, which severly affected deliveries to Canada, forcing many provinces to scale back their vaccination programs.

Earlier this week, the Public Health Agency of Canada said it expected delivery of about 445,000 doses of various vaccines this week, following last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period.

In Ontario, 52 per cent believe the Ford government has done a bad job when it comes to the vaccine rollout, which is the worst assessment of all provinces and regions. Sixty-one percent of Ontarians also expressed dissatisfaction with the federal government’s performance.

As the vaccine supply has increased, so has Canadians appetite to get vaccinated. Sixty-two per cent say they would get the vaccine if it was made available to them right now, while only three in 10 say they would prefer to wait out of safety concerns.

Meanwhile, two thirds of Canadians have expressed concerns that they will contract COVID-19, which is down slightly since the first week of January but is much higher than almost a year ago at this time when only 52 per cent were concerned about being infected.

The Maru Public Opinion poll surveyed 1,506 Canadian adults between March 1 and 2, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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