Canada adds 2,457 new coronavirus cases as country set to receive 1st AstraZeneca shots

Canada added 2,457 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, pushing the total number of infections in the country to 872,752.

Health officials also confirmed another 28 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19.

This means to date, the virus has claimed 22,045 lives in Canada.

However, 820,455 people have recovered after contracting the respiratory illness so far.

Read more: If AstraZeneca isn’t widely recommended for seniors, who should get the vaccine?

The new cases and deaths come as the federal government continues to work to vaccinate those most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand on Tuesday said the country is on track to receive approximately 945,000 doses of COVID-19 shots this week, which includes Canada’s first shipment of the newly-approved AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.

Anand told a press conference that half a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are on route to Canada, and are expected to land in the country on Wednesday.

However, on Monday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) issued new guidance, recommending the AstraZeneca shot not be administered to people over the age of 65.

The committee cited “limited information” about its effectiveness in older people as the reason it’s not recommending the shot be used in seniors.

But, Canada’s top doctor, Theresa Tam said as more real-world data accumulates, those guidelines may be adjusted.

“This is both a challenge but also really exciting because I think the real-world data helping us adjust our vaccine program is a really positive move, but don’t read the recommendations as static, they will update as needed,” she said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Click to play video 'More data needed before recommending AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for seniors: Tam' 1:32 More data needed before recommending AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for seniors: Tam

More data needed before recommending AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for seniors: Tam

In a tweet, Tam said the authorization of additional vaccines “provides further tools to fight this pandemic as quickly as possible.”

“Different #COVID19 vaccines have unique advantages and all contribute to reducing severe COVID-19 illness and death in Canada,” she wrote.

So far, Canada has approved three vaccines for use in the country.

Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were approved in December, while the AstraZeneca shot was just given the green light on Friday.

Health Canada is also expected to decide whether to approve another vaccine from Johnson & Johnson within the next couple of weeks. 

To date, Canada has adminstered 2,014,128 COVID-19 vaccines, meaning approximately 2.7 per cent of the country’s population has been innoculated.

While the country has fallen considerably behind even its closest allies in terms of vaccine rollout, the federal government has maintained that all Canadians who want a vaccine, will have access to one by the end of September.

New cases, deaths reported

Ontario reported 966 new infections on Tuesday, and health officials said 11 more people had died after falling ill.

Meanwhile in Quebec, 588 new cases and eight more fatalities were detected.

In Saskatchewan, health authorities said 137 more people have contracted the virus, while Manitoba reported 56 new cases.

Both provinces reported two new COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday.

Read more: Canada received ‘last piece’ of manufacturing data for Johnson & Johnson vaccine: Sharma

In Atlantic Canada, 14 new cases of the coronavirus were detected.

Newfoundland and Labrador health officials said five new cases were reported, while four more people have fallen ill in Prince Edward Island.

Nova Scotia said one more person has tested positive for COVID-19.

In New Brunswick, four more people have contracted the disease and one more fatality has occurred, health authorities confirmed.

Meanwhile, hundreds of new cases were detected in western Canada.

British Columbia reported 438 new cases of the respiratory illness, while Alberta officials said 257 more people have tested positive.

Both provinces reported two new deaths associated with the disease on Tuesday.

Nunavut was the only of Canada’s territories to report a new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Click to play video 'Decision to increase gap between vaccine shots questioned' 2:06 Decision to increase gap between vaccine shots questioned

Decision to increase gap between vaccine shots questioned

Since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in late 2019, it has infected 114,790,824 people globally, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University.

To date, there have been 2,547,420 deaths related to COVID-19 around the world.

The United States remained the viral epicentre on Tuesday, with over 28.7 million confirmed infections and more than 516,000 fatalities.

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