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10,000 in Waterloo region eligible to get 2nd COVID-19 shot right now, official says – CBC.ca

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More than 90 per cent of eligible residents in Waterloo region have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

People who are 12 and up are eligible to get vaccinated, and able to get the second dose 28 days after the first, the Ontario government’s website says.

“To get second doses to 90 per cent, 20,683 second doses must be given. Out of those 20,000 people, approximately 10,000 are eligible now for their second dose and the remaining people will become eligible over the next month,” Vickie Murray, the region’s vaccine lead, said in a media briefing on Friday.

Murray said regional officials are pleased to see single doses reach the 90 per cent milestone, but they want to see second doses, which are at nearly 86 per cent, get there, too.

“Our goal is to continue to aim for the highest vaccination rates possible to protect our community from the spread of COVID,” she said.

As well, the region has given 5,854 third doses, offered to all people living in long-term care in the region.

Murray also announced Friday that as of Oct. 31, the vaccination at the Boardwalk in Waterloo will move to operating only between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. because those are the busiest times.

Vaccination bus motors on

The vaccination bus continues to be effective, Murray said. On Wednesday, she said 47 per cent of the doses given were first ones.

The bus will maked scheduled stops:

  • Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Cambridge Farmer’s Market.
  • Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 150 Main St. in Cambridge.
  • Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Kitchener Public Library.
  • Thursday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Region of Waterloo International Airport in Breslau.
  • Sunday, Oct. 24 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sunrise Shopping Centre at 1400 Ottawa St. S., Kitchener.

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s medical officer of health, said Friday that case rates have been “stable or slowly decreasing trend in the last few weeks.”

“We need to continue our efforts to increase our community immunity over the coming weeks and months,” she said, adding the highly transmissible delta variant remains a risk in the region and could be easily spread between people, especially the unvaccinated.

Murray encouraged anyone who is eligible to get the second dose to do so as soon as they can.

“That is going to be the best way to ensure that you’re fully vaccinated,” Murray said.

If regional staff find that a lot of people are delaying the second dose, they will reach out to them directly through emails and phone calls — something staff also did over the summer.

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Mixing Pfizer, AstraZ COVID-19 shots with Moderna gives better immune response – UK study

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A major British study into mixing COVID-19 vaccines has found that people had a better immune response when they received a first dose of AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech shots followed by Moderna nine weeks later, according to the results on Monday.

“We found a really good immune response across the board…, in fact, higher than the threshold set by Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine two doses,” Matthew Snape, the Oxford professor behind the trial dubbed Com-COV2, told Reuters.

The findings supporting flexible dosing will offer some hope to poor and middle income countries which may need to combine different brands between first and second shots if supplies run low or become unstable.

“I think the data from this study will be especially interesting and valuable to low- and middle-income countries where they’re still rolling out the first two doses of vaccines,” Snape said.

“We’re showing…you don’t have to stick rigidly to receiving the same vaccine for a second dose…and that if the programme will be delivered more quickly by using multiple vaccines, then it is okay to do so.”

If the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is followed by a Moderna or Novavax shot, higher antibodies and T-cell responses were induced versus two doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford, according to researchers at the University of Oxford.

The study of 1,070 volunteers also found that a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine followed by a Moderna shot was better than two doses of the standard Pfizer-BioNTech course.

Pfizer-BioNTech followed by Novavax induced higher antibodies than the two-dose Oxford-AstraZeneca schedule, although this schedule induced lower antibody and T-cell responses than the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech schedule.

No safety concerns were raised, according to the Oxford University study published in the Lancet medical journal.

Many countries have been deploying a mix and match well before robust data was available as nations were faced with soaring infection numbers, low supplies and slow immunisation over some safety concerns.

Longevity of protection offered by vaccines has been under scrutiny, with booster doses being considered as well amid surging cases. New variants, including Delta and Omicron, have now increased the pressure to speed up vaccination campaigns.

Blood samples from participants were tested against the Wild-Type, Beta and Delta variants, researchers of the Com-COV2 study said, adding that vaccines’ efficacy against the variants had waned, but this was consistent across mixed courses.

Deploying vaccines using technology from different platforms – like Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA, AstraZeneca’s viral vector and Novavax’s protein-based shot – and within the same schedule is new.

The results may inform new approaches to immunisation against other diseases, he said.

The study also found that a first dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine followed by any of the other candidates in the study generated a particularly robust response, consistent with findings in June.

The study was designed as a so-called “non-inferiority” study – the intent is to demonstrate that mixing is not substantially worse than the standard schedules – and compares the immune system responses to the gold-standard responses reported in previous clinical trials of each vaccine.

 

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Josephine Mason and Mark Heinrich)

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WHO advises against using blood plasma of recovered patients as COVID-19 treatment – CBC.ca

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The World Health Organization on Monday advised against using the blood plasma of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat those who are ill, saying current evidence shows it neither improves survival nor reduces the need for ventilators.

The hypothesis for using plasma is that the antibodies it contains could neutralize the novel coronavirus, stopping it from replicating and halting tissue damage.

Several studies testing convalescent blood plasma have shown no apparent benefit for treating COVID-19 patients who are severely ill. A U.S.-based trial was halted in March after it was found that plasma was unlikely to help mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients.

The method is also costly and time-consuming to administer, the WHO said in a statement Monday.

A panel of international experts made a strong recommendation against the use of convalescent plasma in patients with non-severe illness, the WHO said. They also advised against its use in patients with severe and critical illness, except in the context of a randomized controlled trial.

The recommendation, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is based on evidence from 16 trials involving 16,236 patients with non-severe, severe and critical COVID-19 infection.

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COVID vaccine clinics available this week – The North Bay Nugget

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A number of appointments for COVID-19 vaccine clinics – including some for children five to 11 years of age – are available across the region this week.

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Only individuals five to 11 years of age will be able to secure an appointment at a child and youth Clinic, although older siblings or parents will be able to receive an adult dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at these clinics if they are accompanying a child to their appointment.

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in five to 11-year-olds is not yet available at regular clinics. However, it is available at participating pharmacies throughout the district. Parents and guardians are encouraged to book an appointment at one of the participating pharmacies if they would like their child immunized this week and cannot secure an appointment at a clinic hosted by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit.

Individuals are encouraged to bring a health card or another form of identification, if possible, as well as any required documentation for those with underlying health conditions eligible for a third dose. Eligible individuals who received their last dose before June 21 will be able to book and receive their booster dose this week.

Flu shots will also be available for those with COVID-19 appointments at the adult clinics this week.

Appointments are still available at the following clinics this week:

Parry Sound,  Wednesday, child and youth clinic at Parry Sound High School (111 Isabella St., Parry Sound) from 4 to 8 p.m.

South River,  Thursday, child and youth clinic at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School (21 Mountain View Rd., South River) from 4 to 8 p.m.

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Mattawa, Friday, child and youth clinic at Élisabeth Bruyère Catholic Secondary School (359 Brydges St., Mattawa) from 4 to 8 p.m.;

North Bay,  Saturday, child and youth clinic at Northgate Shopping Centre (1500 Fisher Street, North Bay), former Gap location, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sturgeon Falls,  Tuesday, child and youth clinic at West Nipissing Public Secondary School (175 Ethel St., Sturgeon Falls) from 4 to 8 p.m. and  Wednesday, at Marcel Noel Hall (219 O’Hara St., Sturgeon Falls) from 4 to 7 p.m.

To book an appointment or for more information, visit myhealthunit.ca/GetVaccinated or call the health unit call centre at 1-844-478-1400 or 705-995-3810.

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