Alberta’s chief medical officer of health is scheduled to provide an update on COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw is scheduled to provide the update at 3:30 p.m. The update will be streamed live in this story post.
The update come just hours after Health Canada announced the approval of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine, making it the second vaccine approved for use in Canada.
Officials have said they expect doses of the Moderna vaccine to arrive in Canada within 48 hours of approval. The government has inked a deal to get 168,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of December.
“Now that Health Canada has approved the Moderna vaccine, we have the green light to start rolling it out across the country … the first doses of our 40-million dose order from Moderna will arrive in the coming days,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday morning.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician based in Toronto, said news that a second vaccine is approved for use in Canada is “just phenomenal.”
“It’s great news for a few reasons. The first reason is that Canada has more access to more vaccine. That’s fantastic in and of itself,” he said Wednesday morning.
“The second reason is that when you look at the data for the Moderna vaccine, it’s phenomenal. It really appears to be a safe and effective vaccine and let’s see if this really translates into real-world practice when it’s rolled out widely throughout Canada. And the third point is that it’s just a mush easier vaccine to use. It’s a little more durable than the Pfizer vaccine so this is a vaccine that can readily be taken into long-term care facilities and rural, remote or underserviced places and you can really do a lot of good with that.
“The Pfizer vaccine is a vaccine where you have to bring the people to the vaccine, but the Moderna vaccine is one where you can bring the vaccine to the people. I think between those two vaccines we can do a lot of good in the country.”
Because of the easier transferability of the Moderna vaccine, Bogoch said he believes most provinces will administer it to those living in long-term care. So far, most provinces — including Alberta — have given the Pfizer vaccine to health-care workers because of its extreme-cold storage requirements.
“We know that, sadly, those people who are living in long-term care account for about 80 per cent of the 14,000 deaths that we’ve seen in the country. So there’s some significant good that can be done with this vaccine.”
On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney announced that an additional 25,350 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine had arrived in Alberta.
The additional doses are being distributed throughout Alberta and will be administered in the coming days, he said.
As of Dec. 21, 3,074 doses of the Pfizer vaccine had already been administered in Alberta with no reported adverse events following immunization.
Alberta reported 1,021 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in Alberta to 92,480.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 18,331 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. There were 802 people in hospital with COVID-19, 152 of whom were being treated in intensive care.
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