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Canada's COVID vaccination rates soaring, Moderna deliveries still up in the air

Last Updated May 25, 2021 at 4:27 pm MDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, April 23, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau says more than half of Canadians have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose

No word on how many doses of Moderna we will receive in June

Moderna has said trials have shown its vaccine is safe for use in children as young as 12

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The prime minister is applauding Canadians for rolling up their sleeves, saying our country is moving up in global rankings for COVID-19 immunizations. With more and more doses going into Canadians’ arms, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is now third in the G20 when it comes to doses administered per capita.

“More than half of Canadians have now received at least one of a COVID-19 vaccine. That number is going to keep going up fast because millions more doses are coming,” he said.

Canada’s top doctor says before the May long weekend, the country was seeing a decline in daily COVID cases. She says the latest seven-day average of fewer than 5,000 cases is way down compared to last month.

Dr. Theresa Tam says to keep numbers down, everyone should really think about getting their vaccine, in addition to maintaining other transmission prevention measures.

“Masking and spacing … We can sustain our strong and steady progress while more vaccine rolls out, to help bring this curve in for a landing,” Tam said.

She adds the number of people experiencing severe and critical illness is also dropping and the number of people in hospital is also down quite a bit.

However, there are still many vaccine delivery questions, when it comes to Moderna. Trudeau can’t say how many doses we’re going to receive next month, only saying it will be “millions” and we’re still waiting for a confirmed delivery schedule from the company.

That leaves open the possibility of Canada being short of the promised 48 million that we were expecting to receive before Canada Day. Moderna still owes our country at least 6.7 million doses before the end of June.

On Tuesday, Moderna said its trials show its vaccine is safe for use in children as young as 12. It says its data shows when the vaccine is used in kids 12 to 17 years of age, there is 93 per cent efficacy with one shot, and 100 per cent after the second dose.

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The company studied more than 3,700 12 to 17-year-olds. Preliminary findings showed the vaccine triggered the same signs of immune protection in kids as it does in adults, and the same kind of temporary side effects such as sore arms, headache, and fatigue.

There were no COVID-19 diagnoses in those given two doses of the Moderna vaccine compared with four cases among kids given placebo shots. In a press release, the company also said the vaccine appeared 93 per cent effective two weeks after the first dose.

Moderna acknowledges the numbers could change and data still needs to be peer reviewed, but it will be making applications in Canada and the U.S.A. to expand eligibility.

-With files from The Associated Press