COVID-19: Canada expects nine million Pfizer doses by end of June; Ontario reports 1,616 new cases, 17 deaths

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Canada is now expecting to receive nine million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in June — beginning with 4.5 million vaccine doses this week, the highest seven-day total so far —  helping to lead to what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hopes will be an easing of COVID-19-related restrictions.

“This summer, once cases are low and at least 75 per cent have had one dose and 20 per cent have had a second, you can look forward to outdoor things, like a small get-together in a backyard, going hiking or sharing a meal on a patio,” Trudeau said.

“This fall, once three-quarters of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, we’ll be able to do more of the indoor things we miss, whether that’s watching sports in person or a dinner party in a restaurant. That’s what a one-dose summer and a two-dose fall could mean for you and your family – we worry less and we see each other more.”

The PM, meanwhile, sidestepped questions Tuesday about the investigation into Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the public face of Canada’s vaccine rollout since November, who is facing a sexual misconduct claim against him apparently dating back decades.


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Trudeau indicated that he was notified of the investigation “several” weeks ago, but that specific details were not shared with his office.

“I have not been given a tremendous amount of detail about this case because that would be inappropriate,” he said.

“My office and I have two main concerns,” he added. “We want to ensure that the investigation is complete, rigorous and fair, and second of all, if a complaint has been made by someone, we want to ensure that this person’s wishes are given the priority.

“We must do better as a country and a society to support survivors of sexual assault.”

Fortin was the Public Health Agency of Canada’s vice-president of logistics and operations until Friday, when he stepped down pending the investigation.

It was also announced on Tuesday that the federal government will invest nearly $200 million in the domestic production of mRNA vaccines. The new funding represents about half of the cost of expanding a Resilience Biotechnologies manufacturing facility in Mississauga.

According to federal Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, when completed in 2024, the facility will be able to produce between 112 million and 640 million vaccine doses per year.

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Meanwhile, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, announced at Tuesday’s Parliament Hill news conference that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has given the green light for two-dose vaccinations for eligible Canadians between 12 and 18 years of age, using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.


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Canada crossed a grim milestone Tuesday, with the COVID-19 death toll surpassing 25,000 people.

That means six in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020, when the country’s first COVID-19 death was reported.

Canada surpassed 20,000 deaths at the end of January.

The pandemic’s toll has been most profound on Canada’s oldest citizens.

Four in five people who died were over the age of 70 and almost three in five were residents of a long-term care home.

The death rate ranks Canada 64th in the world according to the daily statistics published by the Our World in Data project.

Hungary, with 30 deaths for every 10,000 people, has the highest death toll. The United Kingdom has recorded 18 deaths for every 10,000 people, while the United States recorded 17.

Latest COVID-19 news in Ontario

Ontario reported 1,616 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, and 17 new deaths.

Provincial hot spots continue to be Toronto, with 472 new cases, Peel, with 360, and York, with 116. Hamilton also reported 114 cases, while Durham had 102.

There were 56 new confirmed cases in Ottawa, according to Public Health Ontario, bringing the city’s total to 26,140 since the pandemic’s start. Due to different data-collection times, those figures may not match those issued later in the day by Ottawa Public Health. The number of confirmed variant cases in Ottawa is 4,907 B.1.1.7 (which originated in the UK) cases and 175 B.1.351 (which originated in South Africa) ones. Fourteen P.1 cases (originating in Brazil) have also been confirmed


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In other health units in the region, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark reported no new cases, while Kingston confirmed six. Eastern Ontario Health Unit, which includes Cornwall and Hawkesbury, saw its case numbers go up by nine, while Renfrew County reported one new case.

The new figures raise Ontario’s total number of COVID cases since January 2020 to 513,102 and its death toll to 8,506.

There are 1,484 COVID patients currently in Ontario hospitals, 764 of them in ICU and 559 on ventilators.

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Additionally, 109,032 vaccine doses were administered in the province in the 24-hour period ending Monday afternoon, for a province-wide total of 7,286,177. The number of Ontarians who have been fully vaccinated increased by 9,342, to 442,102.

Ontario’s announcement that vaccines would now be open to anyone over the age of 18 prompted a huge flurry of bookings Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the premier’s office said more than 183,000 vaccine appointments were booked within the first two hours of expanded eligibility Tuesday.

Health units across the province warned that appointments might not be available right away amid skyrocketing demand.

Mayors of the largest cities in the Hamilton and Toronto areas had called for greater vaccine supply on Monday in order to keep up with the expected surge in demand. That came after the province shifted back to allocating vaccines on a per capita basis following two weeks of sending half its supply to hot spots.


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The provincial government said Monday that it had enough vaccine supply to ensure hot spots would be able to keep up with demand.

Latest COVID-19 news in Ottawa

All of the vaccination appointments currently available in Ottawa’s community clinics have been booked.

Ottawa Public Health made the announcement Tuesday, indicating that the province’s extension of appointments to residents 18 and older has swamped the system.

“More appointments will become available as the City receives more vaccines from the Province,” OPH’s statement read. “The vaccine roll-out continues across Ottawa. Anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one.”

As of Sunday evening, 479,278 vaccine doses had been administered in Ottawa, with 446,949 people having received one dose, and 32,329 people receiving two doses.

Latest COVID-19 news in Quebec

In Quebec, 549 new COVID cases were confirmed Tuesday, along with nine new deaths.

That brings the province’s overall case count to 364,396 since the pandemic began, and a death toll of 11,050.

Only four of the new deaths occurred in the most recent 24-hour reporting period.

There are 484 COVID patients hospitalized in Quebec, including 118 in intensive care.

Additionally, the province administered 70,122 vaccine doses in the most recent 24-hour reporting period, for a province-wide total of 4,469,055.

In the Outaouais, meanwhile, 26 new cases and no new deaths were reported Tuesday. Overall, there have been 11,883 confirmed cases in the region, and 208 deaths.


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The province is expected to announce later Tuesday an end to many of its curfew restrictions, as well as a resumption of many outdoor activities starting May 28.

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Media reports have indicated that much of the province will enter the “yellow zone” by the end of June, allowing limited gatherings inside and outside private homes. Additionally, Montérégie, Lanaudière and the Laurentians, which are currently in the red zone, are expected to be designated orange, allowing restaurants in those regions to reopen their dining rooms.

Premier François Legault, who on Tuesday tweeted that 75 per cent of adults in the province have either received their first vaccination or have an appointment to get it, is expected to provide the details of the province’s reopening Tuesday at 5 p.m.

-With files from Postmedia and The Canadian Press


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