Ontario task force chief COVID-19 asks Health Canada to ‘examine’ the modern single-dose vaccine

At 3 pm Eastern time, the provincial chief medical associate, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, is ready to provide a briefing on the situation at COVID-19. You can watch it live in this story.


The head of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force is calling on Health Canada to “examine” the possibility of supplying Moderna’s vaccine in a single dose, rather than two, in an attempt to rapidly expand capacity as they arise. province disease cases.

Retired General Rick Hillier said on Tuesday that the first shipment of the Modern vaccine is expected to arrive in Ontario in 24 hours. It will be distributed to four locations in hotspots across southern Ontario before being sent to long-term care and retirement institutions.

“I know it’s too late to order a Christmas present. But if I could order one, I would ask Health Canada to reread the Modern vaccine and see if we can make it a unique vaccine to give us more ability to go out and vaccinate people. even faster than we plan to do now, “Hillier told reporters.

As it currently stands, the Modern vaccine requires two doses administered about 28 days apart. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only other COVID-19 vaccine currently approved for use by Health Canada, also involves two doses, taken three weeks apart.

TO WATCH | Retired General Rick Hillier asks if the Modern vaccine could be a single dose:

The head of Ontario’s vaccine distribution task force, retired general Rick Hillier, wants Health Canada to verify that a single dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine offers sufficient protection to prevent a second injection. 1:14

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Hillier said that if the Modern vaccine were made in a single dose, “it would allow us to vaccinate literally hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps even several million” more efficiently.

Hillier’s request came this morning while Ontario reported a record 2,553 new cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of 78 people with the disease in the past two days.

During a meeting last week, the chief medical advisor for Health Canada said that while the first dose of Moderna’s vaccine provides about 80 percent immunity, it is uncertain how long that immunity would last.

“Therefore, we recommend that the second dose be given,” said Dr. Supriya Sharma, adding that provinces would also need to take into account the reliability of the supply chain when deciding how doses should be administered in the coming months.

And speaking to CBC News on December 23, the general manager of Moderna Canada rejected the idea.

“Both doses are necessary and very important to achieve full immunity and maintain it,” said Patricia Gauthier.

“It is very important that everyone receives both doses, four weeks apart.”

As of this morning, Ontario has used more than 14,000 of the 90,000 doses included in the initial shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The pace is considerably slower than in other provinces.

Some health experts also criticized the province for reducing its vaccination program during the holiday.

Hillier said today that it was a “mistake” to do so, and that doses will be administered seven days a week going forward.

“We can’t do this any faster,” he said. “We want to make sure we get it right, not at the expense of time, but we want to make sure we get it right.”

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TO WATCH | Retired General Rick Hillier apologizes for the pause in the vaccination program:

Retired general Rick Hillier answered reporters’ questions about temporarily reducing vaccinations during the holiday season. 1:25

Record new cases

Meanwhile, the record of 2,553 cases reported this morning includes 895 in Toronto, 496 in the Peel region, 147 in Windsor-Essex, 144 in Hamilton and 142 in the York region.

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:

  • Niagara: 115.
  • Durham: 108.
  • Middlesex-London: 86.
  • Halton: 78.
  • Ottawa: 65.
  • Waterloo: 57.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 57.
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 34.
  • Southwest: 25.
  • Chatham-Kent: 19.
  • Eastern Ontario: 16.
  • Lambton: 16.
  • Brant County: 11.
  • Haldimand-Norfolk: 10.

[Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on┬áthe Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region┬ámay differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.]

Combined, the new cases bring the average of seven days to 2,236.

In the past 24 hours, the Ontario laboratory network has processed 34,112 test samples for the new coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 9.7 percent. Another 32,850 tests are in the queue to be completed.

There are 864 people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19, although some hospitals have not sent data, so this number may be an under-representation of the actual total. Of these, 304 are being treated in intensive care, most at some point during the pandemic, and 207 need a ventilator to breathe.

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