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

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming moves to the role of transportation minister in the NDP’s new cabinet. (B.C. government file photo)
Vancouver Island MLAs claim key roles in new cabinet

Key ministries headed by veteran and rookie Island MLAs in Horgan’s new team

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

Christmas will look a bit different in Cumberland this year, not only because of COVID restrictions but due to changes from BC Hydro about hanging decorations on the poles. Record file photo
Snowflakes left out in the cold for Island town

Holiday season tradition a no-go for Cumberland’s power poles

Karl Ablack, chair of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force, says visitors should steer clear of the community after the second wave of COVID has begun to hit across the province. (Black Press Media file photo)
Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht First Nation asks visitors to steer clear of community again

Tight-knit community of 400 has yet to report single case of COVID

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from Nanaimo daycare

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has spoken out about some veterans losing their Dimished Earning Capacity income. (Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror photo)
Blaney pens letter to minister about veteran supports

Concerned about veterans losing some income

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

No face-offs until at least Dec. 8 after the BCHL shuts down pre-sesason play. (Citizen file)
BCHL cancels remainder of the pre-season

Island teams see their exhibition season cut short

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Most Read