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

Victoria police are asking for help locating Izabel Villeneuve, 14, who was last seen Jan. 19. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police seek help locating missing 14-year-old

Izabel Villeneuve was last seen in the morning of Jan. 19

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Vancouver Island this weekend

Snow on Malahat to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us – maybe

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Most Read