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

(BC Hydro photo)
BC Hydro planned power outages to darken downtown Smithers for most of day Sunday, Jan 17

Replacement of poles will affect approximately 250 customers in downtown core from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Smithers Local Health Area reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 Jan. 3 - 9. (BC CDC graphic)
Weekly new cases of COVID-19 rise to 25 in Smithers LHA Jan. 3 – 9

Northern Health reported 49 new daily cases for 497 active, 44 hospitalized, 13 in critical care

The first of two massive turbines headed from Prince Rupert for the Site C Dam near Fort St. John on Jan 10. (Photo: Supplied by Tasha McKenzie)
Massive turbines begin trek across Northwestern B.C.

Hydro-Electric turbines headed from Prince Rupert to Site C Dam week of Jan. 10 to 14

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage addresses the attendees while Tom Olsen, Managing Director of the Canadian Energy Centre, looks on at a press conference at SAIT in Calgary on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Fulmes
‘Morally and ethically wrong:’ Court to hear challenge to Alberta coal policy removal

At least 9 interveners will seek to join a rancher’s request for a judicial review of Alberta’s decision

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

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

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read