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In today's Morning Brief, we look at how health experts are trying to overcome hesitancy among people concerned about getting a second shot that differs from their first.

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Why mixing Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could help Canada end the pandemic sooner

Canadians who are offered a different COVID-19 vaccine for their second shot than their first shouldn't hesitate to mix and match, experts say, as supply temporarily shifts from Pfizer-BioNTech to Moderna.

Pfizer's weekly Canadian shipment of 2.4 million doses was temporarily delayed this week, causing provinces to change appointments to Moderna due to an increase in supply of that shot and to avoid losing steam in the vaccine rollout at a critical time.

The move comes after Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance earlier this month allowing for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to be used interchangeably, due to the fact that they both use a similar mRNA technology.

But there have been increasing reports of Canadians turning down second doses of Moderna at vaccine clinics if they'd already received a shot of Pfizer, over misguided concerns that mixing the two shots may not be as safe or effective.

"It's unfortunate when people cancel their appointments, because if you look at the structure of the vaccines, they're identical in almost every way, and if you look at the way they perform ... they almost always mirror each other," said Dr. Kashif Pirzada, an emergency physician in Toronto.

WATCH | Mixing Moderna, Pfizer fuels hesitancy over 2nd dose: 

Mixing Moderna, Pfizer fuels hesitancy over 2nd dose

3 months ago

Experts say taking our foot off the gas now in rolling out vaccines could jeopardize the progress we've made in controlling the pandemic in recent weeks — with an 80 per cent decline in COVID-19 cases and a drastic drop in hospitalizations and deaths since mid-April.

Alyson Kelvin, an assistant professor at Dalhousie University and virologist at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology in Halifax, said Canada needs to keep pushing its rollout to avoid future problems. Read more on this story here.

 Surveying the damage in Mascouche, Que.

(Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

A homeowner in Mascouche, Que., is comforted yesterday by a family member as they check the damage to her home after a tornado touched down on Monday. The twister left a 59-year-old man dead. After walking through the affected neighbourhood, Quebec Premier François Legault vowed Tuesday to help residents. Read more on this story here.

In brief

Charges have been stayed against an Alberta couple who had been facing a third trial in the 2012 death of their 18-month-old son. David and Collet Stephan were accused of not seeking medical attention sooner for their son, Ezekiel, before he died. "It has been more than nine years since the child passed away and the available evidence has deteriorated since the previous two trials," the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service said in an email late Tuesday. "The available evidence is no longer sufficient to meet the standard for prosecution and a reasonable likelihood of conviction no longer exists." Read more on why the charges against the couple were stayed

As First Nations in Quebec plan possible searches of former residential school sites, documents that could help that process have still not been turned over by the Quebec government and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a religious order that ran four Catholic residential schools in the province. That's despite requirements set out in the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and calls to action published by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015. "Call to Action 71 actually states that provincial coroners' offices and vital stats should turn over records that document the loss of children at schools,'' said Raymond Frogner, head of archives for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. "We haven't received them from Quebec," Frogner said. "We are resuming negotiations with them." Read more on the push to get the documents. You can read more Indigenous stories here.

Supreme Court nominee Justice Mahmud Jamal says his nomination to become the first person of colour ever appointed to Canada's highest court could help build trust in Canada's public institutions and justice system. Jamal reflected on his history-making nomination during a Tuesday question-and-answer session with Parliament's justice and human rights committee. "I'm aware of the responsibility," Jamal told the committee members. "I'm very, very mindful of the responsibility that comes with that role." Jamal was nominated to the court by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 18. He has served on the Court of Appeal of Ontario since 2019. Jamal was born in Kenya to an Ismalli Muslim family originally from India. His family relocated to England before moving to Edmonton when Jamal was around 14 years old. If appointed, Jamal will take the seat being vacated by Justice Rosalie Abella, who will retire from the court on July 1, her 75th birthday. Read more on Jamal's nomination

A growing body of data about the heightened risks faced by Black women in the U.K. and U.S. during pregnancy has highlighted the failings of Canada's colour-blind approach to health care, according to Black health professionals and patients. Black women in the U.K. and U.S. are four times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than white women, according to official data. A recent U.K. study published in The Lancet found that Black women's risk of miscarriage is 40 per cent higher than white women's. In Canada, that level of demographic tracking isn't available. "For our country, we don't have that data. So it's difficult to know exactly what we're dealing with," said Dr. Modupe Tunde-Byass, a Toronto obstetrician-gynecologist and president of Black Physicians of Canada. "We can only extrapolate from other countries." Read more on this story here.

WATCH | Calls for more data about health risks to Black women in pregnancy: 

Calls for more data about health risks to Black women in pregnancy

3 months ago

What we think about our space and place in the universe may soon be challenged in ways that not long ago would have seemed downright absurd. After quietly and seriously investigating reports of unidentified flying objects for years, the United States military has until Friday to present an unclassified report to Congress on what it has uncovered about these mysterious sightings. As CBC Washington correspondent Katie Simpson writes, the former leader of an official team that investigated UFOs is asking the public to keep an open mind. "This is a conversation that may lead us down a road that may turn out ... it's not of human origin," said Luis Elizondo, former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which began in the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency. Read more about the pending UFO report.

WATCH | Astronaut Chris Hadfield on alien technology: 

Astronaut Chris Hadfield on alien technology

3 months ago

The Montreal Canadiens are now one win away from Stanley Cup final after beating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 last night in Las Vegas. Netminder Carey Price stopped 26 shots to help the Habs take a 3-2 series lead. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Eric Staal, Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki scored for Montreal, while former Habs winger Max Pacioretty got the sole marker for Vegas. The series now shifts back to Montreal for Game 6 on Thursday. If the Canadiens win that night, or in Game 7 on Saturday in Vegas, they'll book their ticket to their first Stanley Cup final since their cup-winning run in 1993. Read more from last night's game.

Now for some good news to start your Wednesday: It's a painting that only cost a dollar to buy, but it's priceless to one Calgary family. Melissa Pawley bought the painting of a bouquet of flowers at a Goodwill outlet in Cincinnati, Ohio. When she did a reverse Google Image search of the signature on it, she came across a painting of poppies with the same signature. She sent a message to the person who posted it online. That turned out to be Julie Van Rosendaal, CBC Calgary's food guide, who recognized the artwork right away. "It was fairly clearly my grandfather's painting," said Van Rosendaal. Her grandfather, Frans Van Rosendaal, disappeared while flying a small plane in Hawaii in the late 1960s and was never found. Now, his family will have another piece of his life to remember him. The painting is headed to Calgary for a reunion with the painter's family. Read more on the return of the painting.

Front Burner: Defence minister criticized over sexual misconduct 'inaction'

On Tuesday, military watchdog Gregory Lick delivered a scathing criticism of the way government and military leadership have handled the sexual misconduct crisis with 'inaction' and a lack of accountability. 

Today, the ombudsman lays out his frustrations with how this issue is being handled, why his office needs independence, and why the time for reports and recommendations has passed.

Today in history: June 23

1817: The Bank of Montreal is founded as Canada's first chartered bank.

1887: Parliament passes legislation renaming Banff Hot Springs Reserve as Rocky Mountains Park and expanding it to 674 square kilometres. The move marks the start of Canada's national park system. In 1930, the park would be renamed Banff National Park.

1974: Former prime minister John Diefenbaker is sworn in as an MP for a record 12th consecutive time. The Saskatchewan Tory made it 13 in 1979, shortly before his death.

1990: The deadline for ratifying the Meech Lake accord expires, crushing efforts to incorporate Quebec in the Constitution. The accord failed to win the required unanimous support from the provincial legislatures.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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