Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday – CBC.ca

Alberta is expanding COVID-19 booster eligibility to more vulnerable groups as the province battles a severe wave of infections that has strained its health-care system for weeks. Meanwhile, B.C. is making third doses available to a wider group of immunocompromised people.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday the province is expanding COVID-19 booster eligibility to everyone who is 75 years of age or older, and First Nations, Inuit or Métis people aged 65 and up. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

Alberta is expanding COVID-19 booster eligibility to more vulnerable groups as the province battles a severe wave of infections that has strained its health-care system for weeks. Meanwhile, B.C. is making third doses available to a wider group of immunocompromised people.

Starting Wednesday in Alberta, everyone who is 75 years of age or older and First Nations, Inuit or Métis people who are 65 or older can book a third dose of the vaccine, provided it has been six months since their last dose.

“We’re doing this because older Albertans remain uniquely at risk and will benefit from more protection,” Premier Jason Kenney said at a news conference Tuesday.

The change means more than 150,000 Albertans will be eligible for booster shots by the end of October, he said.

WATCH | Kenney urges people not to gather in large numbers this long weekend: 

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Kenney pleads with Albertans to stick to gathering limits this Thanksgiving weekend

Premier Jason Kenney says Albertans ‘cannot afford a repeat scenario’ of last Thanksgiving last that resulted in a surge in COVID-19 infection, and is asking both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents to follow COVID-19 restrictions for indoor gatherings. 2:15

Alberta reported 663 new cases and 26 additional deaths on Tuesday. There were 1,094 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospital, including 252 in intensive care.

The Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to send up to eight critical care nurses to help in the province’s intensive care units.

Meanwhile, neighbouring B.C. has announced it will expand the group of immunocompromised people who are eligible for a third dose of the vaccine.

Third doses are already available for those in the province who are the most clinically vulnerable, including people who have had whole organ transplants, bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants, those with blood cancers and certain immune disorders. 

During a news conference Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that those considered moderately to severely immunocompromised would also receive an invitation for a third dose. That group comprises approximately 100,000 people, she said.


What’s happening with vaccines and treatments

Johnson & Johnson says it has submitted data to the FDA for emergency use authorization of a booster shot of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in people aged 18 years and older.

J&J on Tuesday said its submission includes data from a late-stage study that found a booster of its vaccine given 56 days after the primary dose provided 94 per cent protection against symptomatic COVID-19 in the United States and 100 per cent protection against severe disease, at least 14 days after the booster shot.

The FDA has already authorized a booster dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech for 65-year olds and older, people at high risk of severe disease and others who are regularly exposed to the virus. Moderna submitted its application seeking authorization for a booster shot of its two-dose vaccine last month.

J&J said it plans to submit the data to other regulators, the World Health Organization and National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups to inform decision-making on local vaccine administration strategies, as needed.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has requested emergency use authorization from U.S. regulators for its new treatment to prevent COVID-19 for people who respond poorly to vaccines because of a weakened immune system.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said it included data in its filing with the Food and Drug  Administration from a late-stage trial that showed its antibody therapy called AZD7442 reduced the risk of people developing any COVID-19 symptoms by 77 per cent.

While vaccines rely on an intact immune system to develop targeted antibodies and infection-fighting cells, AZD7442  contains lab-made antibodies designed to linger in the body for months to contain the virus in case of an infection.

A U.S. authorization for AZD7442 — based on two antibodies discovered by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the United States — could be a major win for AstraZeneca, whose widely used COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be approved by U.S. authorities. Trial results on the AZD7442 therapy, first published in August, were taken three months after injection, but the company hopes it can tout the shot as a year-long shield as trial investigators will follow up with participants as far out as 15  months. 


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Hotel quarantine fines were handed out unevenly: 

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Canadian hotel quarantine fines were handed out unevenly

Canada’s hotel quarantine requirement ended in August, but we’re just now getting a sense of how it was enforced. CBC News has learned that fines were unevenly handed out, depending on which city passengers landed in. 1:59


What’s happening around the world

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 235.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.8 million.

In Asia, India’s top court ordered state authorities to pay 50,000 rupees ($844 Cdn) as compensation for each death caused by COVID-19 as a way to help families cope with the loss, according to its order reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday.

Singapore’s Health Ministry reported 3,486 new cases of COVID-19, its highest since the beginning of the pandemic, and nine new deaths.

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A man passes a sign encouraging physical distancing at Marina Bay in Singapore on Sept. 22. A recent spike in infections after the relaxation of some restrictions has prompted Singapore to pause further reopening and tighten curbs that limit gatherings. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

China reported no new local COVID-19 cases for the first time in more than three weeks.

In Europe, the number of new infections in Romania exceeded 15,000 in the past 24 hours and there were no available intensive care beds, the government said.

Coronavirus deaths in Russia have reached a new high for the third time this month at 895, and new cases have exceeded 25,000 a day as vaccination rates in the country remain low.

Meanwhile, Norway and Portugal have become the latest countries to announce they will start administering COVID-19 booster shots to people ages 65 and older.

In the Americas, New York State’s largest health-care provider has fired 1,400 employees who refused to get vaccinations. Meanwhile, a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for teachers and other staff members has taken effect in New York City’s million-plus-student public school system.

In Africa, South Africa reported 429 new COVID-19 cases and an additional 39 deaths on Monday. President Cyril Ramaphosa eased restrictions to the country’s lowest alert level last week, after the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said the country had exited its third and worst COVID-19 wave.