The Public Health Agency of Canada said it hopes to keep the number of wasted doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada under five per cent.
That would amount to 3.7 million of the 73.7 million vaccines that have been distributed to provinces and territories, used by the federal government or held in the central vaccine inventory as of Nov. 18.
The federal, provincial and territorial governments aim to keep vaccine wastage as low as possible.
PHAC would not release the total number of wasted doses to date, but a Canadian Press survey of provincial governments showed an average of about 2.6 per cent of distributed doses in responding jurisdictions have been discarded.
The federal government warned that as demand for COVID-19 vaccines slows down, there could be more wastage because new vials may have to be opened without every dose making it into someone’s arm.
The government said it works with provinces and territories to make sure procurement of new vaccines align with their needs and helps facilitate the transfer of doses between provinces to minimize waste.
What’s happening across Canada
WATCH | 1st shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids arrives in Canada:
What’s happening around the world
As of Monday afternoon, more than 257.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case-tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.1 million.
In Africa, the first of nearly 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine being donated by the European Union by year-end have begun arriving in African countries, a statement by the GAVI vaccine alliance said on Monday.
“The first doses have reached Niger, with more doses arriving in a number of countries this week,” Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, said in the statement that also listed Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Nigeria, Togo and the Republic of Congo.
In Europe, Austrians awoke Monday to their fourth national lockdown of this pandemic, cutting short a Christmas season of shared merriment to fight rising coronavirus infections.
Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe, about 66 per cent of its population of 8.9 million people, with a vocal minority who refuse to be inoculated. On the eve of the latest lockdown, people flocked to Christmas markets for one last night of public socializing and in-person holiday shopping.
Under the lockdown, people can leave their homes only for specific reasons, including buying groceries, going to the doctor or exercising. Day care centres and schools remained open for those who need them, but parents were asked to keep children at home if possible.
In the Middle East, Israel began rolling out Pfizer-BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccinations for five-to-11-year-olds on Monday hoping to beat down a recent rise in coronavirus infections.
A fourth wave of infections that hit Israel in June began subsiding in September. But over the past two weeks the reproduction rate of the virus that had remained below one for two months began climbing and has now crossed that threshold — indicating the virus could again be spreading exponentially.
Daily cases have also crept up over the past few days, with half the confirmed infections presently among children age 11 and younger.
Israel’s 9.4 million population is relatively young, with around 1.2 million children in the five -to-11 age group. By November, that group comprised more than a third of new cases, according to health ministry data.
In the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand will adopt a new system of living with the coronavirus on Dec. 3, which will end tough restrictions and allow businesses to operate in its biggest city, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
In the Americas, the White House confirmed Monday that more than 90 per cent of 3.5 million federal employees covered by a presidential COVID-19 vaccine mandate have received at least one vaccine dose ahead of a Monday deadline.
In total, the administration has deemed 95 percent of federal workers comply with its requirements in that either they have been vaccinated, are completing vaccinations or have a pending religious or medical exemption request, the White House said.
The figures suggest relatively high vaccination rates for federal employees compared with the U.S. population as a whole, and underscore the administration’s effort to get every American inoculated in an effort to bring COVID-19 under control.