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

Maintenance work at lower City Centre Mall parking lot. (Clare Rayment/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)
Lower City Centre Mall entrance by No Frills closed

District doing maintenance work from 8 a.m. to early afternoon Wednesday (Jan. 27)

Collision at the Haisla/Kuldo Blvds. intersection Tuesday (Jan. 26). (Clare Rayment/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)
Collision at Haisla and Kuldo Boulevards

Five people taken to hospital with minor injuries

Angie Mindus photo
Clare’s Corner: A place for everything — and I mean everything

It’s amazing to see how much ‘stuff’ one can accumulate in their house over several months

(Jacqueline Sweet photo)
Jacqueline Sweet, right, at her graduation from the Bachelor of Arts at Simon Fraser University with her friend and fellow graduate, Laura Taylor.
In Our Valley: Jacqueline Sweet

Sweet said her career can feel isolating in the North, but she loves that she’s able to help people

(Cara Webb photo)
Cara Webb’s dog, Millie, who bolted during New Year’s Eve fireworks and was missing for almost a week. She was eventually found by Webb’s neighbour.
Good News, Kitimat!

Bringing some local good news to your week

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read