Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink

Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Surging COVID-19 infections pushed Canada over 400,000 cases Friday, as federal officials announced a bigger order of prospective vaccines and released refined guidelines on who should be first for those doses.

The new milestone came as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted case counts were “too high,” especially in Alberta “where the numbers are rising alarmingly.”

Warning of increased strain on hospitals and health-care workers, he singled out soaring numbers in the western province that have led the country in per-capita case rates. But Trudeau also called on all Canadians to redouble containment efforts.

“Now is not the time to blame one another or point fingers. Now is the time for us to keep working together,” Trudeau said as he acknowledged a “difficult” holiday season ahead.

“Every step of the way our job has not been to direct the provinces or judge the provinces; it has been to be there to support them. And we will be there to support the people of Alberta just like we’re there to support people right across the country.”

The latest 100,000 cases racked up in just 18 days, marking the shortest growth period since the pandemic was declared in March.

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16.

It took six months for Canada to record its first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, four months to reach the 200,000 threshold and less than a month to arrive at 300,000.

Canada’s national death toll from the virus stands at 12,470.

The new cases Friday included 1,780 infections in Ontario, 1,345 in Quebec, 320 in Manitoba, 283 in Saskatchewan, eight in New Brunswick and eight in Nunavut.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said spread had “hit a critical point” in her province, where there are 633 new cases in Toronto, 433 in Peel and 25 more deaths linked to the virus.

In Ottawa, Trudeau and Procurement Minister Anita Anand faced additional questions about when Canada would approve and distribute prospective COVID-19 vaccines that are said to be nearing deployment in other countries.

Anand said Canada had increased its order with Moderna and now expects at least 40 million doses from the U.S. biotech in 2021 – twice as much as was previously guaranteed.

Anand said the country is exercising its option to obtain more of Moderna’s two-dose candidate, which should be enough to vaccinate almost 20 million people.

Meanwhile, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization refined its guidance on who should be at the front of the line when an approved vaccine is distributed.

NACI’s advice to provinces and territories is that the first doses go to residents and staff of congregate living settings that care for seniors.

They should also initially be prioritized for adults 80 years of age and older, then decreasing the age limit by five-year increments to age 70 as supply becomes available.

Also on the list: health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences.

Chief public health officer Theresa Tam noted final deployment plans remain with the provinces. She said the refined list assumes initial vaccine deliveries would include six million doses — enough in the first round of vaccinations to cover those from the priority groups who want it.

“As a ballpark, these four groups of people as things are rolled out should be covered by the initial doses,” said Tam.

“But I just have to caution that given there are so many different parameters and uncertainties, we just have to be prepared for unexpected things to happen.”

In early 2021, Canada expects a combined total of six million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, if authorized for distribution.

A contract has been awarded to FedEx and Innomar Strategies to help support the physical distribution of vaccines to provincial and health authorities across the country.

Health Canada said the review for Moderna is ongoing while regulatory approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine could come as early as next week.

Moderna said Friday it will have as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March, including 15 to 25 million doses available for non-U.S. countries.

It said its messenger RNA vaccine shows signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19 and that Canada — the first country to sign a deal to buy its vaccine — will get doses from the first batches.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lead donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at the Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Ladysmith’s famous Festival of Lights decorations are still up as of March 1, 2021. (Cole Schisler photo)
PHOTOS: It’s still looking a lot like Christmas in Ladysmith

Festival of Lights volunteers cannot remove the holiday roof top displays due to COVID-19

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home in Cedar destroyed by fire

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong winds Sunday

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read