March 9, 2022

The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for June 29 | CBC News

An employee adjusts a scarf on his face as he walks near oxygen cylinders at a factory in Jakarta on Tuesday. Indonesia has announced record daily COVID-19 infections of more than 20,000 in recent days. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is in limbo with no additional Canadian shipments planned

The one-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical division, Janssen, was heralded as an easy way to fully vaccinate Canadians. But after some problems at a U.S. manufacturing plant and cratering domestic demand for the product, there are now no plans to ship this vaccine to Canada.

A government official, speaking on background to CBC News, said Canada has ordered 10 million doses of this product but “at this time, there are no additional shipments confirmed.”

Joelle Paquette, the director general responsible for vaccine procurement at Public Services and Procurement Canada, said earlier this month that Johnson & Johnson would deliver some of its shots by the end of June.

With just one day left in the month, that shipment is now no longer expected. There’s no word on when more doses could arrive, either.

“There is no update from our end,” the government official said when asked about possible deliveries.

A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson said the company “anticipates fulfilling the 10 million doses included in the Advance Purchase Agreement with the Government of Canada,” but offered no timeline for those deliveries.

Speaking at a COVID-19 briefing for journalists on Tuesday, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the Johnson & Johnson contract remains in place and Canada could draw on supplies from the company at a later date.

But with millions more mRNA shots from Pfizer and Moderna set to arrive in the coming weeks, shipments from J&J may not be necessary, Anand said. She also said there’s no strong indication from the provinces and territories that they even want this one-dose vaccine for their immunization campaigns.

By the end of this week, Canada will have received some 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, according to Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie, the military commander leading vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada.

By the end of July, Canada is expected to have enough vaccine doses on hand to fully vaccinate 90 per cent of the population — a milestone likely to be achieved without any J&J shots.

Some 300,000 J&J doses were shipped here in late April. Health Canada rejected them after a weeks-long investigation because of ongoing concerns about the third-party manufacturer of these shots, a Maryland-based company called Emergent.

Workers at the company’s Baltimore plant inadvertently ruined some 15 million doses of the vaccine by mixing up ingredients intended for another product — the shot made by AstraZeneca.

From The National

Wimbledon returned at a reduced capacity one year after the coronavirus pandemic forced its cancellation for the first time since the Second World War. 2:04

IN BRIEF

P.E.I. moves up date for opening to rest of Canada

P.E.I. will open up to Canadians from outside Atlantic Canada who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a PEI Pass as of July 18, which is 10 days earlier than planned, Premier Dennis King announced Tuesday.

Those people will not have to self-isolate after arriving on the Island, starting in just under three weeks. Islanders who travel outside Atlantic Canada will also not need to isolate upon their return, as long as they have a PEI Pass.

King said the reopening date is being moved up based partly on the experience of the last few days — the province reopened to vaccinated Atlantic Canadians on Sunday — and partly on higher vaccination rates for Islanders aged 12 and up.

Provincial staff have been conducting molecular-based rapid tests for COVID-19 at the Island’s points of entry since Sunday. Out of more than 4,000 tests done to date, there were five presumptive positive tests but no confirmed cases of COVID-19 after subsequent lab-based PCR tests were done on the five individuals.

“Those results from testing are giving us confidence so we can move to further reduce border measures in coming weeks,” said King.

Chief Public Health Officer Heather Morrison said the rate of vaccine uptake has been strong, with more than 82 per cent of eligible Islanders now vaccinated with at least one shot.

Read more on the situation in P.E.I.

Extreme heat creating obstacles for COVID-19 vaccination program in parts of B.C.

A record-breaking heat wave has created a hiccup for B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, as several clinics in the Lower Mainland are postponing appointments or redirecting patients to other locations.

Fraser Health said Monday it was continuing with heat-related measures at seven immunization and testing clinics in the region until the end of the day on Tuesday.

Any walk-in patients or people with appointments booked after 12 p.m. at those clinics are being redirected to other sites with cooler temperatures.

The health authority says it will monitor weather conditions throughout the week and will notify those affected if more adjustments are necessary.

During Monday’s COVID-19 briefing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged that some vaccination appointments had to be rebooked over the weekend because of the heat. Still, a weekend record of 61,053 shots were administered.

Read more about the heat wave affecting B.C.

Ontario’s new long-term care minister apologizes for province’s failings

Ontario’s new long-term care minister, Rod Phillips, apologized Tuesday for a provincial pandemic response that saw the deaths of nearly 4,000 long-term care residents with COVID-19.

Speaking to reporters during his first news conference in the role, Phillips acknowledged his own government “failed” residents, their families and staff members.

“Successive governments, including this one, failed residents and failed families. And they failed our staff and on behalf of past governments and the current government — I apologize for that,” he said. “I think that’s a necessary step so that we can take the action we need to do now to move forward.”

The response was a sharp contrast to the position taken by Phillips’ predecessor Merillee Fullerton, who repeatedly pointed the finger at previous governments, among other factors.

“All of us in government, anyone who has read the LTC report, sees it was over decades that this sector was neglected, that investments weren’t made and so accountability rests with all of us who’ve been in government and, as I said, governments past but also governments present,” Phillips said.

The 322-page report issued by the province’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission in April found Ontario was not prepared to address a pandemic and had no plan to protect residents in long-term care, thanks to years of neglect.

Philips also hinted at new long-term care legislation that might increase accountability among long-term care providers.

Read more on the situation in Ontario’s long-term care homes

Stay informed with the latest COVID-19 data.

THE SCIENCE

Mixing Pfizer, AstraZeneca doses provides strong immune response against COVID-19: study

Mixing doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines generates a stronger immune response than having two rounds of the AstraZeneca shot, new U.K. research suggests, though the highest antibody response was seen in people being fully vaccinated with Pfizer.

The early findings, which haven’t yet been peer-reviewed, were released as a paper published online by The Lancet on Monday.

The results come from the University of Oxford-led Com-COV study, which is exploring the use of different combinations of approved COVID-19 vaccines.

This round of research looked at several vaccine combinations: two doses of Pfizer, two of AstraZeneca, and mixing doses with either AstraZeneca or Pfizer as the first shot and the other for the second.

“The mixed schedules did generate an immune response that was above the threshold set by the [AstraZeneca] vaccine, which we know is very effective against severe disease,” said the study’s chief investigator, Dr. Matthew Snape, an associate professor in pediatrics and vaccinology at the University of Oxford, during an interview with CBC News.

Both mixed schedules produced stronger responses than two doses of AstraZeneca, but the research team observed the highest antibody response in people receiving two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“Whether that translates into better protection or longer duration, we will have to see,” Snape said.

Snape said he was surprised by the finding that the order of vaccines being used in the mixed schedules seemed to matter “quite a lot.”

“AstraZeneca followed by Pfizer generated antibody levels that were quite a bit higher than Pfizer followed by AstraZeneca. So that is intriguing,” he continued. “And that does, I think, open the door for more research to work out why that would be.”

AND FINALLY…

Just for Laughs announces hybrid online and in-person festival for July

Comedy fans can catch free outdoor shows in downtown Montreal this summer as part of the Just For Laughs hybrid event. (Daniel Herrera Castillo/Radio-Canada)

A year after the pandemic forced it to move online, Montreal’s beloved comedy festival Just for Laughs announced on Tuesday that it will be returning for a hybrid event featuring live shows and streamed performances, from July 26 to 31.

According to a news release, shows will take place in Montreal, Los Angeles and New York in front of a live audience. Hosts will include Canadian actor and comedian Jon Dore and Ali Hassan, host of the CBC standup comedy show Laugh Out Loud.

All performances will then be made available to stream online for free, including the 2021 Just for Laughs Awards Show, where Dave Chappelle, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and others will be honoured.

“We’re honouring comedy storytellers who entertained and inspired us through this challenging past year,” Bruce Hills, president of Just for Laughs, said in the statement. “We’re thrilled that for the first time, we are able to invite audiences to join us online. It’s going to be a really great celebration.”

There will also be activities and installations in downtown Montreal from July 15 to 24, including 20 free outdoor shows. Attendees will be required to reserve a ticket to attend the shows, per public health guidelines.

Read more on this year’s Just for Laughs hybrid event

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