$150M PHAC loss was from COVID vaccine deal with Quebec company

Medicago met all the terms for the $150 million non-refundable advance payment but the contract was eventually terminated ‘by mutual consent,’ the health minister’s office said

Article content

OTTAWA — After refusing comment for more than a week, the federal government now says a $150 million loss for “unfulfilled contract” is linked to a deal with failed COVID-19 vaccine-maker Medicago.

In a statement to National Post Friday, the press secretary for Health Minister Mark Holland, Chris Aoun, said the government made a $150 million non-refundable advance payment to Quebec-based Medicago early in the pandemic to fund development and reserve a number of doses of its eventual COVID-19 vaccine.

Advertisement 2

Life After Covid Turns Rocky for Reshaped Health-Care Businesses

(Bloomberg) — Covid-19 reshaped the health-care industry. The waning of the pandemic is reshaping it all over again.  

Vaccine makers and pharmacy chains are seeing a steep decline in the number of people getting Covid shots. Makers of at-home rapid tests are going belly-up. Companies that made personal protective equipment have shut down. 

When the coronavirus first emerged, companies across the health-care industry raced to reconfigure themselves. Pharmaceutical companies that were focused principally on cancer and rare diseases threw themselves into the pursuit of vaccines and antivirals. Medical-device makers developed at-home testing kits and quickly ramped up production. 

That transformation is now unraveling. Pfizer Inc. — one of the biggest winners from the pandemic boom — on Monday offered one of the most dramatic signs of the turnabout, cutting $9 billion from its annual sales forecast because of declining demand for its Covid shots and the Paxlovid treatment.

“The weakening demand for the vaccine and Paxlovid goes to show this really is the transition to post-Covid,” said Max Nisen, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “People are going to have to figure out what that looks like well beyond Pfizer.”

Many Americans have put the pandemic behind them, and the US public-health emergency ended in May, but the virus hasn’t entirely gone away. New strains continue to circulate; while Covid hospitalizations remain far below their peak levels, in September they were the highest they’d been since March. Fewer and fewer people are working from home. Restaurants and airports are full.

Not every health-care business that faced sudden change because of Covid is hurting. More people are returning to their doctors for routine checkups and procedures they put off when clinics were crowded with virus patients. That has been good news for physicians and for hospitals.  

Still, Pfizer’s decision to rein in

Covid inquiry: Health department slammed for evidence delays

The government has come under fire yet again for failing to hand over key evidence to the UK’s official inquiry into Covid-19, which lawyers say could have a “detrimental effect” on its investigations.

At a preliminary hearing for the inquiry’s third module on Wednesday, counsel to the inquiry Jacqueline Carey criticised the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) delayed response to a request for evidence made more than six months ago.

The chief medical officers in England and Northern Ireland, the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, and the UK Health Security Agency have also not yet provided an opening statement to the inquiry for module 3, on healthcare systems, which will begin hearing evidence next year.

Rule 9 requests, which allow the inquiry to demand evidence for witnesses, were sent out in March, April and May this year.

Help us uncover the truth about Covid-19

The Covid-19 public inquiry is a historic chance to find out what really happened.

Carey said the latest delays had caused the inquiry to be “concerned about slippage and deadlines for responses and the impact that will have not just on module 3, but for other modules as well”.

“The inquiry is not unrealistic about the demands other inquiry modules have placed on recipients… nor are we blind to the demands these organisations and individuals face in their day job,” said Carey, “but we are concerned about these delays and the detrimental effect that these will inevitably have on module 3.”

Representatives of core participants in the inquiry also criticised the delays. Speaking on behalf of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, Allison Munroe called the delays “extremely unhelpful”, adding: “It has a knock-on effect, not only on the investigative work that the inquiry has to do, on the participants in

Health Ministry issues recommendation for Moderna COVID vaccine – Israel Politics

Israelis of all medical conditions and ages 12 years and older conditions – but especially those with chronic illness, the elderly, those with weak immune systems (due to any condition) and pregnant women – should go to their health fund to get the new vaccine against substrains of the COVID-19 virus. This is the new recommendation of the Health Ministry. 

Although many Israelis are tired of being vaccinated, they should remember that they got previous COVID-19 shots many months and even a couple years ago, and they have lost much of their protective value. 

Its epidemiology department sent instructions to the four health funds about available and recommendations for the shots against substrains of the Omicron variant. The ministry said it constantly monitors morbidity trends and Corona variants. 

“As of this moment, there is a moderate increase in the number of hospitalized patients, most of whom have mild cases, but there is also a moderate increase in the number of patients in serious condition as well as a very moderate increase in mortality from the virus. Both in Israel and in the world, there are a number of variants that cause illness, with the dominant variants in Israel being sub-varieties of Omicron. The vaccines that will arrive in Israel are manufactured by the Moderna company and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Phases of vaccination

In the first phase, after the holiday of Sukkot, those 12 years old and older will be able to be vaccinated, while in the first phase people in the risk group for severe illness from the virus will be preferred, regardless of the type of vaccine or the number of doses given in the past. After that, when an additional supply of vaccines arrives, the populations that can be vaccinated will

CDC calls Florida’s advice against new COVID booster ‘dangerous’

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is responding after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s surgeon general advised against getting the new booster.

DeSantis advised against anyone under the age of 65 from receiving the shot while Dr. Joseph Ladapo claimed the federal government wasn’t being safe about the risks.

CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen defended the new COVID-19 boosters as “proven safe” and “effective” and called the comments from DeSantis and Ladapo “dangerous.”

“Vaccination against COVID-19 remains the safest protection for avoiding hospitalizations, long-term health challenges, and death,” Cohen said in a statement. “As we head into the fall and winter seasons, it is important that Americans get the updated COVID-19 vaccine. They are proven safe; they are effective, and they have been thoroughly and independently reviewed by the FDA and CDC…Public health experts are in broad agreement about these facts, and efforts to undercut vaccine uptake are unfounded and dangerous.”

It comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations rise across the country and Florida is seeing higher admissions levels than other states.

As of Monday, 43 of Florida’s 67 counties reported moderate levels of weekly new hospital admissions for COVID-19 — a higher proportion than any other state in the U.S., data from the CDC shows.

Moderate levels indicate between 10 and 19.9 new hospital admissions per 100,000, and the CDC recommends wearing a mask if you are high-risk or self-testing before coming into contact with a high-risk patient.

PHOTO: Weekly COVID-19 New Hospital Admissions in Florida

Weekly COVID-19 New Hospital Admissions in Florida


Statewide, weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased since the beginning of July from 951 the week ending July 1 to 2,406 the week ending Aug. 26, the latest date for which CDC data is available.

Although this is not a record-high in hospitalizations, it is the largest figure seen

DeSantis defies science, CDC on new COVID vaccine. Good luck, Florida

Hello, and welcome to the free state of Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis is responsibly telling residents under 65 years old to defy the advice of the Food and Drug administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and not get the updated COVID-19 vaccine.


I’m proud to finally have a public servant and a Republican presidential primary candidate willing to look voters in the eyes and effectively say: “Sure, all the so-called doctors and scientists are telling you this vaccine is safe and will save lives. But I’m telling you it’s OK to ignore them, to stop believing in ‘experts’ and to put your faith in me, a person who is definitely not opportunistically catering to the radical, anti-science elements of his base in an effort to gain traction in a primary race I am losing, badly.”

That’s good enough for me, governor!

DeSantis really saying ‘Don’t trust the CDC or the FDA. Trust me!’

For too long we Americans have suffered under the tyrannical boot of public health, common sense and basic hygiene. 

In a panel discussion with Florida’s surgeon general, DeSantis said: “I will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe or effective.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis watches as nurse Christine Philips left, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 to Vera Leip, 88, a resident of John Knox Village, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Fla.

And how did CDC Director Mandy Cohen respond to DeSantis’ bold “I, a politician, know better than you doctors” vaccine comment?

In the typical, lame manner of a reasoned expert supported by a broad coalition of scientists and medical professionals: “They are proven safe; they are effective, and they have been thoroughly and independently reviewed by the FDA and CDC. Since this administration’s launch of the largest adult vaccination program in our nation’s history, COVID-19 vaccines

COVID booster messaging ‘truly confusing’. What the latest guidance says – National

With the arrival of the latest COVID-19 variants within the country and the looming flu season on the horizon, many Canadians may be wondering if they should get their booster shot immediately or wait until the newest vaccine formulations arrive.

The updated booster shots are expected to roll out in the fall but are still pending approval by Health Canada. The new vaccines are also tailored to the dominant XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariants that are currently circulating in the country.

Although bivalent COVID-19 vaccines are currently available in Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) previously said in July that the fall boosters will target more recent, immune‑evasive SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Some health experts say you might be better off waiting until the updated vaccines are available, while others say not to wait. This leaves Canadians grappling with a crucial decision: whether to get their booster shot immediately or hold off.

Story continues below advertisement

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 cases are starting to rise as students return to school'

COVID-19 cases are starting to rise as students return to school

“It is it is well and truly confusing,” Kerry Bowman, a professor of bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto, said. “I think we’re getting an incredible lack of clarity as to what should occur. I wish we had stronger guidelines from public health. I feel like we’re on our own on this one.”

Adding to the confusion, he said, is the fact that some people have said they will get both shots, one now and the reformulated version when it becomes available. However, this approach is discouraged, Bowman said, emphasizing that it is advisable to wait at least six months between vaccine shots.

Here’s what health officials are saying about the fall booster shot.

In its latest guidance on July 11, “NACI recommends a dose of the new formulation of

WATCH: New long COVID guidance aims to help doctors identify mental health symptoms

As millions of Americans seek answers about long COVID, a recent advisory from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is giving physicians better guidance on how to identify mental health symptoms that may stem from the condition.

These new guidelines, released in June, as part of the Biden’s administrations action plan for long COVID research, provide a framework that can help physicians, patients, and providers to better understand the mental health symptoms — anxiety, fatigue, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others — associated with long COVID.

“They validate and create categories for these conditions, and then provide some kind of guidance about how to manage them,” said Dr. Serena S. Spudich, a professor of neurology at Yale School of Medicine.

“We are really focused on continuing to prioritize the treatment, the identification and treatment of people who have long COVID, particularly who are dealing with these mental and behavioral health symptoms, because they can be very debilitating and people with long COVID need help now,” said Molly Sanborn, a Public Health Analyst at SAMHSA.

PBS NewsHour digital anchor Nicole Ellis spoke with public health analyst Molly Sanborn and Dr. Serena S. Spudich about long COVID’S impact on mental health. Watch the conversation in the player above.

Dr. Spudich said that the symptoms of long COVID can be characterized as what was traditionally thought of as psychiatric or psychological, and then there are others that are neurological. In most cases, she says, these conditions are overlapping — for instance, depression and brain fog.

READ MORE: What the latest research tells us about long COVID’s most common symptoms

In an October 2021, meta-analysis of COVID-19 survivors, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), about one in three survivors were diagnosed

COVID precautions recommended for upcoming fall season

With the fall season approaching, more people will be staying indoors, and kids will be returning to school. Area health departments are recommending Mid-Michigan residents use caution during the upcoming flu season for COVID-19. 

“With COVID, it’s something that we’re going to be living with,” Huron County Health Officer Tip MacGuire said. “Just like the flu and (respiratory syncytial virus). We’re coming into school and going back into the fall with people starting to return indoors. It is anticipated that you’re probably going to see an uptick in cases.”

With this being the fourth fall season with COVID-19 as a part of life, MacGuire as well as health officials from both Tuscola and Bay counties say that the new normal is to treat COVID-19 as part of the flu season. The recommendation is for people to still stay home if they are feeling unwell, with five days of remaining isolated at home if one tests positive and then to wear a mask for an additional five days.

“We are still following the same guidelines,” said Donald Derryberry, emergency preparedness officer for the Tuscola County Health Department. “If you are sick, stay home, wash your hands effectively and wear a mask if you are able to and need to.”

As far as cases go, Bay County Health Officer Joel Strasz said, there has been an increase in cases for Bay County as well as across the country, and he expects to see that number rise as kids head back to school and people spend more time indoors. 

“COVID and other viruses tend to start off earlier in the summer amongst hotter climates in the country,” Strasz said. “This is primarily caused by air persons seeking refuge in air-conditioned environments because of heat and humidity, which occurs at higher levels than it

Health-care workers reported more OT, sick days amid COVID

The demands of the COVID-19 pandemic led more nurses, personal support workers and others in the health-care field to work more overtime hours but also miss more days at work compared to pre-pandemic times, a recent report from Statistics Canada has found.

The study, released Thursday, focused on nurses, personal support workers and care aides, and other health-care workers with the exception of physicians, as they are most likely to be self-employed, StatCan said.

The findings confirm what many health-care workers have reported throughout the pandemic, namely increased burnout and having to work longer hours.

The report also comes as job vacancies remain high in the health-care sector, more than doubling to 95,200 in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 43,000 during the same period in 2020, StatCan said.

“With demand exceeding supply, the challenges posed by staff shortages have invariably affected the workload and working conditions of health-care workers,” the report said.


StatCan found in 2020, full-time health-care employees missed 17.6 days of work on average due to an illness or disability, up 3.4 days from 2019, making it the highest level seen since the late 1990s.

This became especially common among workers required to treat patients with known or possible cases of COVID-19, the report says.

Nurses, in particular, drove this increase, missing 19.5 days on average in 2020, up 4.6 days from 2019.

However, personal support workers and care aides reported the most missed days overall at 21.6 in 2020, up 3.4 from 2019.

Although average sick days in 2021 returned to about the same level as 2019, it rose even higher to 18 days on average in 2022, which StatCan ties to the rise in cases of the infectious Omicron variant.

Back To Top