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BC city offering COVID-19 vaccine to all adult residents by April | News – Daily Hive



The City of Prince Rupert will be undergoing community-wide vaccination in the coming weeks to curb high COVID-19 case rates and transmission.

Northern Health made the announcement on Tuesday, adding that the approach had been approved by the Ministry of Health and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“Prince Rupert has a high COVID-19 case rate and high positivity rate, that has not seen the improvements in recent weeks that are occurring elsewhere in the region,” Northern Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Jong Kim explained in a statement.

“Quickly vaccinating the entire community is a great way to protect everyone in Prince Rupert, and keep them safe.”

Starting this Friday, residents of Prince Rupert between the ages of 65 to 90 and above will be able to book their vaccination by phone. Registration for 50 to 64-year-olds, 40 to 49-year-olds, and 18 to 39-year-olds will open shortly after.

Anyone above the age of 18 in Prince Rupert will be able to book an appointment starting March 18, and vaccinations will take place between March 15 and April 1.

A registration and vaccination schedule for Prince Rupert residents (Northern Health)

Epidemiological data from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) shows that Northern Health has some of the highest case rates per 100,000 residents, surpassing both Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health in recent weeks.

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An infographic showing daily case numbers across health authorities (BCCDC)

Prince Rupert City Councillor Blair Mirau tells Daily Hive that they’ve struggled “with some of the highest per capita case counts in BC,” which is displayed in recent data reports showing COVID-19 case counts by local health areas.

bc covid-19

An in-depth look at COVID-19 cases by local health area between February 21 to 27 (BCCDC)

Most recently, public health has been monitoring a COVID-19 outbreak at Prince Rupert’s Acropolis Manor. Since the outbreak was declared on January 19, 33 residents and 23 staff have tested positive for the virus, and 14 residents have passed away.

Prince Rupert also has some of the highest rates of poverty and vulnerability indicators in BC, and it has the second-highest proportion of Indigenous residents of any Canadian city other than Winnipeg.

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A cumulative COVID-19 case count by local health area between January and February (BCCDC)

Mirau also responded to statements suggesting that the community is being “rewarded for bad behaviour,” arguing that they’ve been one of the most diligent municipalities from the start.

“When the pandemic was first declared, Prince Rupert was one of the few (if not the only) municipality to declare a local state of emergency that was subsequently rescinded by the Province,” he explains, noting that a 14-day self-isolation period was introduced for anyone who left the city.

“Since the pandemic was declared, our city has been diligent in following the recommendations of Dr. Bonnie Henry, with very few exceptions. This is evidenced in the fact that we had virtually zero confirmed cases of community transmission almost until the end of 2020.”

Mirau also stresses that Prince Rupert doesn’t “have access to the same level of healthcare services as the Lower Mainland.”

“That’s exactly why our community has taken this pandemic so seriously from the very beginning.”

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Exclusive-Canada’s Ontario to expand use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine as epidemic rages



By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian province of Ontario will begin offering AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday to people turning 40 or older this year, according to a government source.

The change will broaden access to vaccines as a third wave of infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals in Canada‘s most-populous province, and should make it easier to use doses that in some cases have been accumulating at pharmacies.

The change will be announced on Monday and go into effect across the province on Tuesday, according to the source. The vaccine has already been distributed to pharmacies but currently can only be given to people turning 55 or older this year.

Ontario announced new public health measures on Friday, promising checkpoints at provincial borders, new police powers and closing outdoor amenities, while leaving many workplaces open. The measures were widely criticized by doctors and public health experts, and the province quickly reopened playgrounds and modified the new police powers.

On March 29, Health Canada said it would review reports of serious blood clots and bleeding in a small number of people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries, and an independent panel called the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI) recommended that it only be given to people 55 and older. All provinces followed that advice.

But NACI’s recommendations are not binding. Last week, Health Canada, the country’s drug regulator, said it had reviewed all available evidence and would not restrict the use of the vaccine, because its benefits outweigh its potential risks. Health Canada said at the time that NACI was reviewing its recommendations.

On Sunday, NACI’s chair told Reuters that the panel would make a new recommendation on Tuesday.

Health Canada said regulators in the UK had estimated the risk of clots to be very small, roughly four in a million people who receive the vaccine. It also said the complication was treatable. Two people have developed it in Canada, and both are recovering.

Several other countries have limited the use of the vaccine to older people. Denmark has withdrawn the shot, and Norway said on Thursday it would take more time to decide whether to resume use.

Ontario reported 4,250 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The Ontario Hospital Association said 59 patients were admitted to intensive care on Saturday, bringing the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs to 737.

Health Canada says those who receive the vaccine should seek medical attention immediately if they experience shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent belly pain, neurological symptoms like severe headaches or blurred vision, or skin bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.


(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Diane Craft and Peter Cooney)

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Trudeau mobilizes federal workers to battle COVID-19 in Toronto and rest of Ontario




OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday he would send federal healthcare workers to help Toronto and the province of Ontario battle a third wave of COVID-19 infections that has forced shutdowns of schools and businesses.

“We are mobilizing federal healthcare workers from across government departments to deploy on the front lines in Ontario and specifically the Greater Toronto area where the situation is most critical,” Trudeau said in a video posted on Twitter.

Other provinces, especially on the Atlantic coast, are working “to determine what human resources and equipment they could free up over the coming days,” Trudeau said, adding that the federal government would cover the costs of that help.

The government will also seek to boost rapid testing, especially for essential workers, Trudeau said.

The government of Ontario, Canada‘s most-populous province and industrial powerhouse, has moved schools online and announced more stringent public health measures on Friday, including shutting the provincial borders to non-essential travel.

On Saturday, federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair deployed two mobile health units to set up more hospital beds in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, and the prime minister said he stood ready to send the Red Cross to staff mobile vaccination clinics in Ontario if help is requested.

Canada‘s seven-day average of new infections was 8,669, the chief medical officer said on Sunday, a 26% increase compared with the previous seven days. Ontario reported 4,250 new cases on Sunday.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

More than 48 million doses are to be delivered by the end of June, which is enough for all of Canada‘s population of some 38 million to receive at least one shot, with a total of 100 million doses expected by the end of September.


(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Canada has second case of rare blood clots after AstraZeneca vaccin



(Reuters) – Canada on Saturday reported a second case of rare blood clots with low platelets after immunization with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in a week, while it said it still recommended the use of the shot.

The person who experienced the very rare event has been treated and is recovering, Canada‘s health ministry said in a statement, adding that the person lives in the province of Alberta.

Based on the evidence available, Canada still maintains that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the potential risks, the statement said.

Canada health authorities “will continue to monitor the use of all COVID-19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns,” the statement said.

Canada reported a first blood clotting associated with the vaccine on Tuesday, and a day later, after a review, health authorities said they would not restrict use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A separate advisory council had earlier recommended Canada stop offering the vaccine to people under 55. That panel is in the process of reviewing its advice.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign, but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

Amid a spiking third wave of infections, Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, announced new public health restrictions on Friday, including closing the provinces borders to domestic travelers.


(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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