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More COVID-19 vaccines and feeling grateful in a pandemic: In The News for Dec. 30


In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Dec. 30 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Some 50,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ontario today.

Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, who is leading the province's COVID-19 vaccination program, says the drug will be distributed to long-term care and retirement homes.

Hillier said Tuesday that more than half of Ontarians — about 8.5 million — should receive the vaccine by the end of July.

Another vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech is already being administered to health-care workers, but its storage requirements limit where that can be done.

In Saskatchewan today, provincial officials are to release details on how it will vaccinate older residents in the north.

The province's health minister and chief medical health officer are to provide a briefing about the rollout of the Moderna vaccine, which is set to arrive in Saskatchewan this week.

The province planned to use the Moderna vaccine to immunize residents in northern Saskatchewan and remote communities because it's easier to transport than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which needs ultracold storage.

So far, more than 2,300 health-care workers in Regina and Saskatoon have received a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.


Also this ...

OTTAWA — A new poll suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has made some Canadians feel more grateful for what they have.

The poll from Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found respondents cited that feeling 56 per cent of the time when asked about positive impacts from the pandemic.

More seniors than young people in the survey reported appreciating what they have now than before COVID-19.

Association president Jack Jedwab says that may reflect that older generation have been more threatened by the virus and may have not spent much time with close family.

He notes that younger respondents more often cited being thankful for spending more quality time with immediate families.

The online survey of 1,528 Canadians was conducted Dec. 11-13 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

Health officials say a Colorado man who became the first reported person in the U.S. to have a COVID-19 variant that is spreading in the United Kingdom hadn’t been travelling.

The statement Monday triggers a host of questions about how the new strain showed up in the Rockies.

Gov. Jared Polis and state health officials announced Tuesday that the case was found in a man in his 20s who's in isolation.

British scientists believe the new virus variant is more contagious than previously identified strains.

Colorado health officials say the vaccines being given now are thought to be effective against this variant. Public health officials are investigating other potential cases.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

A Chinese drugmaker said Wednesday its coronavirus vaccine was found to be 79.3 per cent effective at preventing infection in preliminary data from the final round of testing, moving Beijing closer to possibly being able to fulfil its pledge to supply other developing countries.

Sinopharm's data release is the first official announcement of late-stage trial data from a Chinese company on its vaccine candidates. Its effectiveness rate is behind Moderna's vaccine, which is more than 94 per cent effective, and Pfizer's, which is 95 per cent effective.

Scientists had cautioned that COVID-19 vaccines may only be about as effective as the flu vaccine, which generally is about 50 per cent effective.

However, the company did not provide additional information, and final proof of the vaccine's effectiveness will depend on publication of fuller scientific data.

Britain today authorized emergency use of a second COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country to greenlight an easy-to-handle shot that its developers hope will become the “vaccine for the world.”

The Department of Health said it had accepted a recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to authorize the vaccine developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca.

Britain has bought 100 million doses of the vaccine, and plans to begin injections within days. Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.K. have already received a different vaccine, made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German firm BioNTech.


On this day in 1981 ...

Wayne Gretzky became the first NHL player to score 50 goals in fewer than 50 games in one season. In just his 39th game, Gretzky notched his 50th goal on an empty-netter that capped a five-goal night as the Edmonton Oilers downed the visiting Philadelphia Flyers 7-5.



People in the Nunavut community of Pangnirtung woke up to crushed cabins and snowmobiles missing windshields this week.

A blizzard tore through most of Nunavut on Sunday, with winds reaching 135 km/h in Pangnirtung.

One Pangnirtung resident had their front steps ripped clean from their front door.

Another resident was flown to southern hospital to be treated for injuries.

Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Sara Hoffman says Pangnirtung's landscape, nestled in a fiord, makes it the perfect spot for a blizzard to brew.

The community regularly sees winds of 70 to 80 km/h in the fall.

But Hoffman says storms this severe in December are unusual because they need warm weather to thrive.

Hoffman and her team are looking into whether the storm was a record-breaking event in Nunavut.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2020

The Canadian Press

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