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

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Central Mountain Air confirmed it does not plan to resume service to Williams Lake at this time. (Betsy Kline photo)
Central Mountain Air not resuming route to Williams Lake at this time

Scheduled CMA flights will return to Quesnel at the end of June

Gibraltar Mine has started calling back 34 workers laid off on April 27 because it has received its permit to reactive the Gibraltar East Pit. (Taseko Mines Ltd. photo)
Gibraltar Mine receives permit, calling back laid off employees

Mining has begun in the Gibraltar East pit

(RCMP logo)
RCMP investigating early morning assault in Williams Lake

An insecure firearm was located in a residence

Williams Lake City Council rejected a proposal Tuesday at its regular meeting for the city to host a junior A hockey team for the upcoming 2021/22 season. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Council rejects junior A hockey bid in Williams Lake

The proposal has been up for debate the past several months

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Most Read