Connect with us

Health

48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health – Salmon Arm Observer – Salmon Arm Observer

Published

 on


Forty-eight COVID-19 vaccine clinics will open across Interior Health (IH) in the coming weeks.

People aged 90 and over (those born before or in 1931), as well as Indigenous people over 65 (born in or before 1956) and elders, will be able to begin booking appointments Monday (March 8) through IH’s call centre at 1-877-740-7747. On March 15, that will open to people 85 and older (born in or before 1936) and on March 22, people over 80 (born in or before 1941) will be able to book their appointment to receive the first dose of the vaccine. The call centre will be open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day.

After a person becomes eligible for the vaccine, they can book an appointment anytime. Eligible people looking to book an appointment can do so themselves or have another person book the appointment on their behalf.

Callers are asked to have on hand their legal name, date of birth, postal code, personal health number and current contact information, including a regularly-checked email address for booking confirmation.

READ MORE: Canada’s chief of public health hopeful as Health Canada approves 4th vaccine

READ MORE: Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

The 48 clinics, located across the health authority’s widespread geographical boundaries, are set to open as soon as March 15 and deployment will be adapted as the vaccine rollout continues. A full list of clinics is available on IH’s website.

“The list you see today will be adjusted according to need,” said Karen Bloemink, IH’s vice president of pandemic response, during a press conference on Sunday (March 7).

To prepare for anticipated high call volumes, IH is asking people to stick to the outlined schedule to prevent a system overload. The health authority reassured there will be enough supply for all who want to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure everyone that they will not miss their chance to get a vaccine if they want to get a vaccine,” said Bloemink.

IH will contact individuals when their second dose is due, after about four months, allowing them to make another appointment.

While IH expects the majority of individuals to come to clinics, it is working with known clients who need accommodations due to mobility issues. Those plans could involve home visits if required.

Despite the concerns of many regarding vaccine efficacy rates, recipients will not be able to choose which vaccine they get.

The majority of clinics will be offering the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers said have comparable efficacy. The AstraZeneca vaccine will be reserved for younger people, and the use of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still to be determined within IH.

Those who are vaccinated in the next few weeks will still need to follow currently in-place health orders. De Villiers said in the coming months, he hopes visitation can increase.

“At this stage, the provincial health officer’s orders are still in place,” de Villiers said. “Even if you’ve got your vaccine, you should still follow all those orders.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won’t find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Ontario hospitals may have to withhold care as COVID-19 fills ICUs

Published

 on

By Allison Martell and Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Doctors in the Canadian province of Ontario may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive treatment in intensive care as the number of coronavirus infections sets records and patients are packed into hospitals still stretched from a December wave.

Canada‘s most populous province is canceling elective surgeries, admitting adults to a major children’s hospital and preparing field hospitals after the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs jumped 31% to 612 in the week leading up to Sunday, according to data from the Ontario Hospital Association.

The sharp increase in Ontario hospital admissions is also straining supplies of tocilizumab, a drug often given to people seriously ill with COVID-19.

Hospital care is publicly funded in Canada, generally free at the point of care for residents. But new hospital beds have not kept pace with population growth, and shortages of staff and space often emerge during bad flu seasons.

Ontario’s hospitals fared relatively well during the first wave of the pandemic last year, in part because the province quickly canceled elective surgeries.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors last Thursday that the province was considering “enacting the critical care triage protocol,” something that was not done during earlier waves of the virus. Triage protocols help doctors decide who to treat in a crisis.

“Everybody’s under extreme stress,” said Eddy Fan, an ICU doctor at Toronto’s University Health Network. He said no doctor wants to contemplate a triage protocol but there are only so many staff.

“There’s going to be a breaking point, a point at which we can’t fill those gaps any longer.”

In a statement, the health ministry said Ontario has not activated the protocol. A September draft suggested doctors could withhold life-sustaining care from patients with a less than 20% chance of surviving 12 months. A final version has not been made public.

Ontario’s Science Advisory Table had been forecasting the surge for months, said member and critical care physician Laveena Munshi. During a recent shift she wanted to call the son of a patient only to discover he was in an ICU across the street.

“The horror stories that we’re seeing in the hospital are like ones out of apocalyptic movies,” she said. “They’re not supposed to be the reality we’re seeing one year into a pandemic.”

Continue Reading

Health

In COVID-19 vaccination pivot, Canada targets frontline workers

Published

 on

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada is shifting its vaccination campaign to target frontline workers, moving away from a largely age-based rollout as the country tries to get a handle on the raging third wave of the pandemic.

Canada‘s approach thus far has left unvaccinated many so-called “essential workers,” like daycare providers, bus drivers and meatpackers, all of whom are among those at higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. Provinces are now trying to adjust their strategy to tackle the surge driven by new variants.

Targeting frontline workers and addressing occupation risk is vital if Canada wants to get its third wave under control, says Simon Fraser University mathematician and epidemiologist Caroline Colijn, who has modelled Canadian immunization strategies and found “the sooner you put essential workers [in the vaccine rollout plan], the better.”

Initially, Canada prioritized long-term care residents and staff for the vaccines, as well as the very elderly, health workers, residents of remote communities and Indigenous people.

Targeting vaccinations by age made sense early on in a pandemic that ravaged Canada‘s long-term care homes, Colijn said. But now, immunizing those at highest risk of transmission brings the greatest benefit.

“If you protect these individuals you also protect someone in their 60s whose only risk is when they go to the store. … The variants are here now. So if we pivot now, but it takes us two months to do it, then we will lose that race.”

Data released on Tuesday from the Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences showed that Toronto’s neighbourhoods with the highest rates of COVID-19 infections had the lowest vaccination rates, underscoring the disparities in vaccination.

‘IT’S A JUGGERNAUT’

On Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a plan to have mobile vaccine clinics target COVID-19 “hotspots” and high-risk worksites, although he stopped short of giving people paid time off to get the shot.

Karim Kurji, medical officer of health in York Region north of Toronto, characterizes the shift in vaccination priority from age to transmission risk as moving from defence to offence.

“It’s a juggernaut in terms of the immunization machinery, and turning it around takes a lot of effort,” Kurji said.

Meanwhile, officials in the western province of Alberta say they are offering vaccines to more than 2,000 workers at Cargill’s meatpacking plant in High River, site of one of Canada‘s largest workplace COVID-19 outbreaks. Provincial officials said in a statement they are looking to expand the pilot to other plants.

Quebec will start vaccinating essential workers such as those in education, childcare and public safety in Montreal, where neighbourhoods with the highest vaccination rates have been among those with the lowest recorded infection rates.

The people doing the highest-risk jobs, from an infectious disease perspective, are more likely to be poor, non-white and new Canadians, health experts say. They are less likely to have paid leave to get tested or vaccinated or stay home when sick and are more likely to live in crowded or multi-unit housing. They need to be prioritized for vaccination and their vaccination barriers addressed, experts say.

Naheed Dosani, a Toronto palliative care physician and health justice activist, said making vaccines available to high-risk communities is not enough without addressing barriers to access.

“The face of COVID-19 and who was being impacted changed dramatically. The variants seemed to take hold in communities where essential workers live. … This [pivot] is a step in the right direction and will hopefully save lives.”

 

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Denny Thomas and Aurora Ellis)

Continue Reading

Health

Canada finance minister: Pandemic an opportunity to bring in national childcare

Published

 on

OTTAWA (Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic and its damaging impact on women has underlined the need for a national childcare plan, which would also help the economic recovery, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday.

Since taking up her job in August, Freeland has repeatedly spoken about a “feminist agenda,” and has said childcare will be part of a stimulus package worth up to C$100 billion ($79.6 billion) over three years. She will unveil details in her April 19 budget.

“I really believe COVID-19 has created a window of political opportunity and maybe an epiphany … on the importance of early learning and childcare,” Freeland told a online convention of Canada‘s ruling Liberal Party.

The budget is set to be a springboard for an election that Liberal insiders say is likely in the second half of the year.

Canadian governments of various stripes have mused about a national childcare program for decades but never acted, thanks in part to the cost and also the need to negotiate with the 10 provinces, which deliver many social programs.

Freeland said a childcare program would help counter “an incredibly dangerous drop” in female employment since the start of the pandemic.

“It is a surefire way to drive jobs and economic growth … you have higher participation of women in the labor force,” Freeland said. “My hope … is that being able to make that economic argument as well is going be to one of the ways that we get this done.”

Freeland, who is taking part this week in meetings of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations and the International Monetary Fund, said U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had told her they saw early learning and child care as a driver for economic recovery.

($1=1.2560 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Continue Reading

Trending