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Scientists praise 50% of Canadians for a single vaccination milestone

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Workers will unload the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on May 20, 2021.

Cole Burston / Canadian Press

Canada’s widespread competition for COVID-19 immunity reached a milestone on Saturday. This indicates that half of the population has been vaccinated at least once to protect against the virus.

The news could arrive hours after the country’s top vaccine advisors released further guidance on the second dose, revealing how to combine shots of the same overall type.

Data collected from federal, state, and territory health authorities show that as of Saturday, more than 20.6 million doses were injected nationwide, with 50.01% of the population taking at least one jab. Shown.

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Canada was ahead of the United States in vaccination rates on Thursday, when just over 48% of Americans received their first vaccination.

Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist at the University of Ottawa, said the 50% threshold is an important marker for Canada, and by adding these visible signs of progress, the psychological coveted by Canadians. He said he would provide a boost.

“It’s a milestone,” said Deonandan. “It’s like this: Hey, our society has passed an important point in this marathon and we can almost see the finish line. And we’re all tired, but together to the end I’m going to run at full speed. “

Nevertheless, according to Health Canada, Canada stands out in full vaccination races, with approximately 4% of Canadians being fully vaccinated.

The single-dose milestone marks a dramatic turnaround in Canada, which was far behind world leaders such as the United States, United Kingdom, Israel and Chile just a month ago.

Over the past week, an average of about 330,000 people have joined the vaccinated group each day, according to federal statistics.

Canada’s Supreme Public Health Officer said the current number of cases is about 30 percent less than in mid-April, when the third wave of the pandemic peaked.

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Dr. Teresa Tam issued a statement on Saturday, maintaining strong public health measures where COVID-19 is distributed, especially given that Monday’s Victorian holiday creates a long weekend nationwide. Said you need to.

“Maintaining precautions for this long weekend remains important to sustaining our progress, as the resurrection followed the social gathering during the long weekends and holidays of the past,” she said. ..

Meanwhile, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has updated its guidance on second shots, recommending that patients receive the same vaccine in the second round as they did at the time of their first appointment.

However, if the vaccine is not available, NACI suggests using Johnson & Johnson instead of Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna instead of Pfizer-BioNTech. Both are mRNA vaccines.

However, the immediate issue is controversial when it comes to viral vector vaccines AstraZeneca and J & J. Health Canada plans to distribute Johnson & Johnson’s first 300,000 shipments after learning that some of the batches were manufactured at a facility in Maryland suffering from quality control issues Remains on hold.

An RNA vaccine could be given instead of a second AstraZeneca shot, but NACI is waiting for more data.

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A Spanish study last week published the first results showing that a second dose of Pfizer to AstraZeneca’s recipients resulted in a stronger immune response, but more information is pending.

A UK study earlier this month found that the same sequence caused some stronger initial side effects, but they were temporary and the vaccine mix was considered safe. Further data are expected within a few weeks as to whether the blend will give similar or better results than two doses of the same vaccine.

NACI Secretary-General Matthew Tunis told Parliamentary Health Committee on Friday that AstraZeneca recipients should wait 12 weeks before receiving a second dose to elicit a stronger immune response. NACI has previously stated that up to 16 weeks is sufficient.

Canada’s earliest AstraZeneca recipient received its first dose in mid-March. This means that there are a few weeks left before the 3-month marker hits. This window has time to get more evidence about vaccine compatibility.

The rate of increase in vaccinated Canadians did not alleviate all concerns and did not immediately affect the decline in case numbers at some hotspots.

Manitoba reported 476 new COVID-19 cases and 6 deaths on Saturday. This is because the percentage of people who tested positive on average over a five-day period continued to rise.

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Prime Minister Brian Parister urged the US government to boost the state’s vaccine drive by allowing individual states, such as North Dakota, to start exporting shots on their own.

Parister said the United States exports vaccines on a country-by-country basis, but argued that allowing individual states to do so could speed up the process.

He wrote to US President Joe Biden on the issue, but said he had not received a response yet.

“Vaccines are stored in a freezer (in North Dakota) a few miles away. People are waiting here, so we need them here,” said Parister.

In Nova Scotia, authorities have announced the spread of COVID-19 to the community in both the central region and Sydney, saying they will increase testing in “areas of concern.”

Nova Scotia also marked a milestone in vaccination on Saturday and administered the 500,000th vaccine.

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However, Ontario has led the recent surge in vaccinations, with more than 190,000 vaccinations on Friday. The state recorded 1,794 new infections on Saturday, resulting in 20 virus-related deaths.

Quebec, on the other hand, recorded the lowest number of new cases since September, when it added 505 to the number of states.

Nova Scotia also reduced infections, with 64 new cases and 1 related death reported. Officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new infections, and New Brunswick aggregated two.

Further west, Saskatchewan reported 180 new cases on Saturday, and Alberta recorded 621 in addition to 6 new deaths.

This report by Canadian Press was first published on May 22, 2021.

— Files from Mia Rabson in Ottawa, Steve Lambert in Winnipeg, Danielle Edwards in Halifax

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