A man wears a face mask as he walks along a street in Montreal, Sunday, November 15, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

A man wears a face mask as he walks along a street in Montreal, Sunday, November 15, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Potential vaccine news brightens dark day marked by rising COVID-19 cases, deaths in Canada

Canada is on track to receive six million doses of vaccine between January and March

Ontario’s health minister on Wednesday suggested Canada could start receiving millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as January, providing a glimmer of hope on an otherwise dark day marked by rising cases and death counts in many provinces.

Christine Elliott said in question period that the country is set to get four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine between January and March as well as two million doses of Moderna’s vaccine.

She said in question period that 1.6 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 800,000 of the Moderna vaccine are destined for Ontario.

When asked directly to confirm the dates and numbers, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu would only say it was “really exciting” that Canada is well-positioned to receive millions of doses from both companies.

“There are a number of steps to go through before we actually get to the point of distribution, including the regulatory review with Health Canada to ensure the safety of both vaccines,” Hajdu told reporters.

In Alberta, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced on Twitter that the province is expecting its per capita share of 465,000 doses from Pfizer and 221,000 from Moderna, with the first shipments to arrive early in the new year.

Pfizer announced Wednesday it intends to seek approval for emergency use of its novel coronavirus vaccine after new test results showed it is 95 per cent effective, is safe, and works to protects vulnerable older adults.

Hajdu said both manufacturers had also submitted for approval in Canada, which she said will allow regulators to receive and review data as it comes in.

Elliott said that once the vaccine is approved, priority will go to people in long-term care homes, hospitals and group settings — similar to the flu vaccine.

Distribution, however, can be complicated, given that both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines need to be stored at cold temperatures. Both also require two shots, 21 days apart.

“This is a major logistical challenge but we have an entire group within the ministry of health right now that are planning for that,” she said.

The news on vaccines was a bright spot on an otherwise sombre day for many provinces struggling with the virus’ fallout. Both Quebec and Ontario reported more than 30 additional deaths each on Wednesday, as well as well over 1,000 new cases.

The news prompted Ontario Premier Doug Ford to warn that parts of the province were “staring down the barrel of another lockdown.”

Ford warned new measures for Toronto and neighbouring Peel and York regions would be announced on Friday.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, sounded the alarm over a rise in cases in vulnerable populations and settings.

“Cases have been increasing in elderly adults for several weeks, with those aged 80 years and older now having the highest incidence rate nationally,” she said in a statement.

“More and larger outbreaks are occurring in long term care homes, congregate living settings and hospitals, and spreading in Indigenous communities.”

Tam also mentioned Nunavut, which began a two-week shutdown of schools and non-essential businesses amid what the premier described as a significant rise in cases.

The territory reported 10 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing its total from 60 to 70.

Tam said the rise in transmission puts lives at risk and presents significant challenges for health services, especially in areas not equipped to manage what she called complex medical emergencies.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan suggested the time had some for a “pan-Canadian approach” to limit non-essential travel, and promised to reach out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the issue.

Non-essential travel is banned in B.C., and Horgan said he’d like that to apply to out-of-province visitors as well.

“We need to make sure that people in Coquitlam are living under the same rules as people in Chicoutimi,” Horgan said. British Columbia reported a record-breaking 717 cases on Tuesday.

READ MORE: B.C. breaks yet another record with 762 cases

In Manitoba, health officials announced a new $298 fine for people who refuse to wear masks in indoor spaces as the province reported nearly 400 new cases and 11 additional deaths.

Saskatchewan reported 132 new infections and a rise in hospitalizations, to 76, as the opposition NDP called on Premier Scott Moe to impose a partial lockdown to stem the virus’s spread.

Even Atlantic Canada, long touted as a Canadian success story when it comes to keeping COVID-19 at bay, saw several new cases, including nine in New Brunswick, three in Nova Scotia, and two in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

Even though the CP Holiday Train is not running this year, CP has made donations to the food banks along its usual routes (including the one in Ashcroft), and will also be broadcasting a special live Holiday Train concert on Dec. 12. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
CP Holiday Train rolling into homes with a virtual concert

CP has made donations to all the food banks that would normally benefit from the annual event

The wooden sign at the entrance to the parking lot at the Heritage Park in Ashcroft blew down in high winds on Oct. 10. Council has made an assessment of the park and its structures one of the priorities in its new strategic plan. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Ashcroft council lays out strategic plan for next two years

Trails master plan, a second North Ashcroft reservoir, and the Heritage Park all on the list

Cache Creek Village office, date unknown. (Photo credit: Wendy Coomber)
Cache Creek to move to quarterly utility billing in new year

Council also discussed the possibility of heavy flooding in spring 2021

Lytton RCMP Sgt. Curtis Davis accepts a plaque from Patsy Weekley of the Lytton post office in Oct. 2018, to commemorate a first responders stamp from Canada Post. (Photo credit: Submitted)
Lytton RCMP sergeant says farewell as posting comes to an end

Sgt. Curtis Davis is transferring out of Lytton and is sad to be leaving the area

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

Most Read