Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Oct. 5
Alberta, B.C. expand eligibility for 3rd vaccine doses to more vulnerable groups
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Alberta is expanding COVID-19 booster eligibility to more vulnerable groups as the province battles a severe wave of infections that has strained its health-care system for weeks. Meanwhile, B.C. is making third doses available to a wider group of immunocompromised people.
Starting Wednesday in Alberta, everyone who is 75 years of age or older and First Nations, Inuit or Métis people who are 65 or older can book a third dose of the vaccine, provided it has been six months since their last dose.
"We're doing this because older Albertans remain uniquely at risk and will benefit from more protection," Premier Jason Kenney said at a news conference Tuesday.
The change means more than 150,000 Albertans will be eligible for booster shots by the end of October, he said.
Alberta reported 663 new cases and 26 additional deaths on Tuesday. There were 1,094 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospital, including 252 in intensive care.
The Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to send up to eight critical care nurses to help in the province's intensive care units.
Meanwhile, neighbouring B.C. has announced it will expand the group of immunocompromised people who are eligible for a third dose of the vaccine.
Third doses are already available for those in the province who are the most clinically vulnerable, including people who have had whole organ transplants, bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants, those with blood cancers and certain immune disorders.
During a news conference Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that those considered moderately to severely immunocompromised would also receive an invitation for a third dose. That group comprises approximately 100,000 people, she said.
What's happening with vaccines and treatments
Johnson & Johnson says it has submitted data to the FDA for emergency use authorization of a booster shot of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in people aged 18 years and older.
J&J on Tuesday said its submission includes data from a late-stage study that found a booster of its vaccine given 56 days after the primary dose provided 94 per cent protection against symptomatic COVID-19 in the United States and 100 per cent protection against severe disease, at least 14 days after the booster shot.
The FDA has already authorized a booster dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech for 65-year olds and older, people at high risk of severe disease and others who are regularly exposed to the virus. Moderna submitted its application seeking authorization for a booster shot of its two-dose vaccine last month.
J&J said it plans to submit the data to other regulators, the World Health Organization and National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups to inform decision-making on local vaccine administration strategies, as needed.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has requested emergency use authorization from U.S. regulators for its new treatment to prevent COVID-19 for people who respond poorly to vaccines because of a weakened immune system.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said it included data in its filing with the Food and Drug Administration from a late-stage trial that showed its antibody therapy called AZD7442 reduced the risk of people developing any COVID-19 symptoms by 77 per cent.
While vaccines rely on an intact immune system to develop targeted antibodies and infection-fighting cells, AZD7442 contains lab-made antibodies designed to linger in the body for months to contain the virus in case of an infection.
A U.S. authorization for AZD7442 — based on two antibodies discovered by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the United States — could be a major win for AstraZeneca, whose widely used COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be approved by U.S. authorities. Trial results on the AZD7442 therapy, first published in August, were taken three months after injection, but the company hopes it can tout the shot as a year-long shield as trial investigators will follow up with participants as far out as 15 months.
What's happening across Canada
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1st weekend of Sask.'s proof of vaccination policy positive, but some customers frustrated.
P.E.I. Vax Pass going well so far, says early adopter.
Some N.S. businesses anxious about enforcing province's new proof-of-vaccine policy.
What's happening around the world
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 235.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.8 million.
In Asia, India's top court ordered state authorities to pay 50,000 rupees ($844 Cdn) as compensation for each death caused by COVID-19 as a way to help families cope with the loss, according to its order reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday.
Singapore's Health Ministry reported 3,486 new cases of COVID-19, its highest since the beginning of the pandemic, and nine new deaths.
China reported no new local COVID-19 cases for the first time in more than three weeks.
In Europe, the number of new infections in Romania exceeded 15,000 in the past 24 hours and there were no available intensive care beds, the government said.
Coronavirus deaths in Russia have reached a new high for the third time this month at 895, and new cases have exceeded 25,000 a day as vaccination rates in the country remain low.
Meanwhile, Norway and Portugal have become the latest countries to announce they will start administering COVID-19 booster shots to people ages 65 and older.
In the Americas, New York State's largest health-care provider has fired 1,400 employees who refused to get vaccinations. Meanwhile, a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for teachers and other staff members has taken effect in New York City's million-plus-student public school system.
In Africa, South Africa reported 429 new COVID-19 cases and an additional 39 deaths on Monday. President Cyril Ramaphosa eased restrictions to the country's lowest alert level last week, after the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said the country had exited its third and worst COVID-19 wave.
With files from The Associated Press and Reuters