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Some further insight into mixed vaccine doses and HipTok : In The News for May 13

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 13 ... What we are watching in Canada ...

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 13 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Preliminary results of an ongoing study in the United Kingdom suggest alternating the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines causes more frequent mild to moderate symptoms, but there are no other safety concerns from mixing those vaccines.

However, researchers at the University of Oxford have not yet determined how a combination of shots would affect the immune system's response compared with sticking with the same COVID-19 vaccine for both the prime and booster shots.

In a peer-reviewed letter published in The Lancet, the scientists say that an increase in short-term adverse reactions occurred after the Pfizer vaccine was followed four weeks later by AstraZeneca, or vice versa, as part of the study that began earlier this year.

Results on whether immune response to mixed doses would be affected are expected to be released by the Oxford team in the coming months.

The study recruited 830 people to evaluate four combinations of vaccination: a first dose of AstraZeneca followed by either a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine or another dose of AstraZeneca, or the Pfizer vaccine followed by a second shot of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer.

Research was expanded last month for a new study with 1,050 volunteers who received either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine before randomly getting either the same vaccine for their second dose or the Moderna or Novavax vaccine.

Horacio Bach, an infectious diseases expert at the University of British Columbia, said the small size of the initial study does not make it possible to know whether some people would get severe reactions, such as blood clots, from mixing the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.


Also this ...

A coroner's inquest is set to begin in the death of a 37-year-old Indigenous woman who was subjected to insults by staff in a Quebec hospital. 

Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw mother of seven, filmed herself at the Joliette, Que., hospital as she was dying last September and caught staff members insulting and mocking her.

The video circulated widely on social media and prompted widespread indignation across the country.

Echaquan, from the community of Manawan, north of Montreal, died on Sept. 28 after being admitted with stomach pain.

Coroner Géhane Kamel's investigation is to be held over 13 days at the provincial courthouse in Trois-Rivières, Que., about halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.

A coroner's inquest does not rule on liability but rather looks at the causes and circumstances of a death and comes up with recommendations to avoid similar occurrences.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

Days after being forced to shut down by a gang of hackers, the largest fuel pipeline in the US restarted operations Wednesday.

The disruption of Colonial Pipeline caused long lines at gas stations in the Southeast due to distribution problems and panic-buying, draining supplies at thousands of gas stations.

Colonial initiated the restart of pipeline operations late Wednesday, saying in a statement that "all lines, including those lateral lines that have been running manually, will return to normal operations."

But the company said it will take several days for deliveries to return to normal.

In the meantime, drivers have been finding gas stations with little or no gas in some Southeast states.

The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45 per cent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, was hit on Friday with a cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them. The hackers didn't take control of the pipeline operations, but Colonial shut the pipeline down to contain the damage.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

Israel on Wednesday pressed ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip, killing as many as 10 senior Hamas military figures and toppling a pair of high-rise towers housing Hamas facilities in airstrikes. The Islamic militant group showed no signs of backing down and fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities.

In just three days, this latest round of fighting between the bitter enemies has already begun to resemble _ and even exceed _ a devastating 50-day war in 2014. Like in that previous war, neither side appears to have an exit strategy.

But there are key differences. The fighting has triggered the worst Jewish-Arab violence inside Israel in decades. 

Israel carried out an intense barrage of airstrikes just after sunrise, striking dozens of targets in several minutes that set off bone-rattling explosions across Gaza. Airstrikes continued throughout the day, filling the sky with pillars of smoke.

Gaza militants continued to bombard Israel with nonstop rocket fire throughout the day and into early Thursday. The attacks brought life to a standstill in southern communities near Gaza, but also reached as far north as the Tel Aviv area, about 70 kilometres to the north, for a second straight day.


On this day in 1954 ...

Canada and the U.S. agreed to build the St. Lawrence Seaway. The project included building seven locks, deepening navigation channels and constructing a power facility near Cornwall, Ont. As well, bridges and tunnels were built and parts of two Ontario communities were relocated.


In entertainment ...

They're so hip, it's tragic.

The Tragically Hip is bringing its extensive music catalogue and video skills to the social media platform TikTok.

The Ontario rock band  says it will share exclusive clips from its vaults and curate fan content on the account @TheHipOfficial.

Guitarist Rob Baker helped kick off the account with a video of him playing a stripped-down version "Ahead By A Century."

Fans are encouraged to use the platform's "duet" feature with the clip and add their own vocals to late lead singer and lyricist Gord Downie's verses.

The Hip join a slew of Canadian artists on the platform, including Shania Twain, Arkells and Nickelback.



The skyrocketing cost of lumber is fuelling a trend that has authorities across the country warning builders to keep their guard up.

Det.-Sgt. Tosha Ternes  of the Saskatoon police says the city has seen a huge jump in thefts at construction sites since 2018.

She says valuable construction material is often laying everywhere and, especially this year, builders need to be more careful. 

Earlier this month,  $1,000 worth of lumber was stolen from a construction site. It was later returned to its rightful owner, and a man was apprehended and charged.

But in Guelph, Ont., the owner of a Home Hardware wasn't so lucky.

Guelph police say a man in a stolen pickup truck rammed through the gates of the store last month and took about $10,000 worth of lumber.

In Newfoundland, Mounties are asking people with information on the theft of about $1,500 worth of lumber to come forward.

RCMP in Grand Falls-Windsor say the material was being used to put up a sign on the Trans-Canada Highway near Bishop's Falls.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2021

The Canadian Press