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BC groups call for COVID-19 vaccine card compromises | Globalnews.ca – Global News

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VANCOUVER – A group of British Columbia community organizations wants changes to the province’s COVID-19 vaccine card, saying it fails to account for the needs of people who face legitimate barriers to getting a vaccine or proof of immunization.

A joint letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the plan could restrict access to services for people who can’t get a shot for medical reasons, as well as people without government identification.


Click to play video: 'Transgender people finding ‘dead’ names on B.C. vaccine cards'



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Transgender people finding ‘dead’ names on B.C. vaccine cards


Transgender people finding ‘dead’ names on B.C. vaccine cards

It was released by Vancouver-based Pivot Legal Society this month and says B.C. has failed to identify a workaround for people without ID, which could include women fleeing violence, people who are homeless and undocumented migrants.

The vaccine card system requires patrons to show proof of at least one vaccine dose by Monday and two doses by Oct. 24 to access certain indoor settings, including ticketed sports events, concerts, restaurants, gyms and movie theatres.

The card will not be required at grocery and liquor stores, pharmacies, fast food restaurants, salons, barbers, hotels, banks, retail stores, food banks and shelters.

B.C. residents need a personal health number to order a paper copy of their vaccine card or to download the card online for display on a smartphone. The card will be checked alongside government identification.

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“If you’re homeless and living outside, carrying around a piece of paper is just not going to work out,” said Rowan Burdge, director of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and a signatory of the letter. “We’ve seen encampments where people’s belongings have been taken away.”

The letter says the province hasn’t done enough to follow the advice of organizations that understand how best to navigate public health guidelines for those living in poverty or with a disability, for example.

Disability Alliance BC, which also signed the letter, said in a separate statement that mandating so-called vaccine passports without accommodating people who cannot get vaccinated due to their medical condition is “blatant discrimination.”


Click to play video: 'B.C. vaccine card: Privacy considerations with proof of vaccination'



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B.C. vaccine card: Privacy considerations with proof of vaccination


B.C. vaccine card: Privacy considerations with proof of vaccination

The Health Ministry said in a statement it appreciates the groups’ feedback and it has “been doing what we can to address some of these challenges.”

Asked about accommodation for people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons, the ministry said there will be an exemption process “for extremely rare circumstances.”

Read more:
‘Fraud is a crime’: B.C. doctor pens open letter to people asking for vaccine exemption notes

“Dr. Henry has said that if you are unvaccinated, for whatever reason, these kind of indoor settings with lots of people are high risk right now,” it said.

Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba have also introduced vaccine passport programs.

Burdge said she doesn’t want requests made in the letter to be conflated with anti-vaccination rhetoric.

Read more:
With two weeks to go, questions remain about B.C. vaccine passports

“We absolutely are supporting people to get vaccinated. … But we’re worried about the systemic barriers that are going to come from this particular policy.”

A number of B.C. communities have seen protests against the vaccine card, including outside hospitals.

Dr. David Naylor, co-chair of Canada’s COVID-19 immunity task force, said there’s a widespread sense that COVID-19 has “hijacked our lives,” leading some people to scapegoat the public health measures adopted to protect the health-care system and those who are too young to receive a vaccine.

But Naylor said those measures, including achieving a higher rate of vaccination, are the “only way to restore normalcy in the months ahead,” particularly as the highly contagious Delta variant makes up the majority of Canada’s COVID-19 cases.

Vaccine passports have a role to play in curbing the fourth wave by encouraging immunization among people who may be late getting their first shot, but who aren’t staunchly opposed to vaccination, said Naylor, who led a review of Canada’s public health system after the outbreak of SARS in 2003.

Those opposed to vaccination or vaccine cards are “simply inviting continuation of some of the measures that everyone would like to avoid,” he said in an interview.

Naylor said even staunch libertarians, or those who believe in maximal freedom of choice and minimal government regulation, acknowledge that one person’s civil liberties stop when they lead to harm or encroach on the liberties of others.

“The notion here that you have people who could do harm to other people is relevant in considering the constraints on the civil liberties claim by people who choose to remain unvaccinated in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 12, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Pfizer sends kids’ COVID-19 vaccine trial data to U.S. FDA – Global News

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Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE on Tuesday submitted initial trial data for their COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 and said they would make a formal request with U.S. regulators for emergency use in the coming weeks.

Coronavirus infections have soared in children, hitting their highest point in early September, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The vaccine, which is already authorized in teens aged 12 to 15 and fully approved for ages 16 and up, induced a strong immune response in the target age group in a 2,268-participant clinical trial, the companies said on Sept. 20.


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U.S. to donate half a billion additional Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines


U.S. to donate half a billion additional Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized in kids aged 12-15 roughly a month after the companies filed for authorization. If the same timeline is followed for this application, younger children could start receiving their shots as soon as late October.

A rapid authorization could help mitigate a potential surge of cases this fall, with schools already open nationwide.

While kids are less susceptible to severe COVID-19, they can spread the virus to others, including vulnerable populations that are more at risk of severe illness.

The companies said they plan to submit the data to the European Medicines Agency and other regulatory authorities.

Read more:
Pfizer launches large study of oral COVID-19 prevention drug

Data from the companies’ trial showed the two-shot vaccine generated an immune response in children that matched what was previously observed in 16-to-25 year olds. The safety profile was also comparable to the older age group, Pfizer said.

The drugmakers are also testing the vaccine in children aged 2-to-5 and those aged 6 months-to-2 years, with data expected in the fourth quarter.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is not yet authorized for use in adolescents in the United States, while it has gained authorization for that age group in Europe.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

© 2021 Reuters

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Trapped miners expected to emerge this morning as rescue operation continues: Vale – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Liam Casey, The Canadian Press


Published Tuesday, September 28, 2021 7:54AM EDT


Last Updated Tuesday, September 28, 2021 11:14AM EDT

Thirty-three of 39 miners who were trapped underground in northern Ontario since Sunday have returned safely to the surface, the workers’ union said Tuesday as a rescue operation continued.

United Steelworkers, which represents workers trapped in Totten Mine near Sudbury, Ont., said they are pleased with the rescue operation thus far.

“A team of doctors is on site, checking workers as they emerge,” said the union, which represents 30 of the 39 staff members trapped in the mine. “No one has been physically injured in the incident or in the evacuation.”

Vale, the company that owns the mine, said it expects everyone to emerge Tuesday.

The employees were trapped in the mine on Sunday when a scoop bucket being sent underground detached and blocked the mine shaft, Vale said.

As a result, it said the “conveyance system” for taking workers to and from the surface became unavailable.

Vale said the trapped miners have been staying in underground “refuge stations,” some 900 to 1,200 metres underground, as part of the company’s standard procedures.

The workers began making their way out Monday night through a “a secondary egress ladder system,” the company said.

“We thank the impacted employees for their patience and perseverance and the mine rescue teams for their tireless dedication and support,” said Gord Gilpin, head of mining for Vale’s Ontario operations. “This has been an incredible team effort.”

A rescue team met the miners Monday and prepared them for the long journey to the surface.

The union said the miners had to scale a system of ladders, with each ladder being about six metres long and with a staging area at every break.

“When an incident like this unfortunately happens, everyone comes together,” said Nick Larochelle, president of USW Local 6500

“The miners support each other, the highly trained mine rescue teams come together and the whole community waits patiently praying for the safe return of every one of the 39 miners to surface.”

The company said the trapped miners had access to food, water and medicine. The union added that miners had been able to make phone calls to both communicate with rescuers and to call loved ones.

Totten Mine opened in 2014, in Worthington, Ont., and produces copper, nickel and precious metals. It employs about 200 people.

The province’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, said an inspection team will investigate the incident once the rescue operation is finished.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2021.

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33 trapped miners safe after rescue, 6 more on long trek out of mine near Sudbury – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Liam Casey, The Canadian Press


Published Tuesday, September 28, 2021 7:54AM EDT


Last Updated Tuesday, September 28, 2021 11:14AM EDT

Thirty-three of 39 miners who were trapped underground in northern Ontario since Sunday have returned safely to the surface, the workers’ union said Tuesday as a rescue operation continued.

United Steelworkers, which represents workers trapped in Totten Mine near Sudbury, Ont., said they are pleased with the rescue operation thus far.

“A team of doctors is on site, checking workers as they emerge,” said the union, which represents 30 of the 39 staff members trapped in the mine. “No one has been physically injured in the incident or in the evacuation.”

Vale, the company that owns the mine, said it expects everyone to emerge Tuesday.

The employees were trapped in the mine on Sunday when a scoop bucket being sent underground detached and blocked the mine shaft, Vale said.

As a result, it said the “conveyance system” for taking workers to and from the surface became unavailable.

Vale said the trapped miners have been staying in underground “refuge stations,” some 900 to 1,200 metres underground, as part of the company’s standard procedures.

The workers began making their way out Monday night through a “a secondary egress ladder system,” the company said.

“We thank the impacted employees for their patience and perseverance and the mine rescue teams for their tireless dedication and support,” said Gord Gilpin, head of mining for Vale’s Ontario operations. “This has been an incredible team effort.”

A rescue team met the miners Monday and prepared them for the long journey to the surface.

The union said the miners had to scale a system of ladders, with each ladder being about six metres long and with a staging area at every break.

“When an incident like this unfortunately happens, everyone comes together,” said Nick Larochelle, president of USW Local 6500

“The miners support each other, the highly trained mine rescue teams come together and the whole community waits patiently praying for the safe return of every one of the 39 miners to surface.”

The company said the trapped miners had access to food, water and medicine. The union added that miners had been able to make phone calls to both communicate with rescuers and to call loved ones.

Totten Mine opened in 2014, in Worthington, Ont., and produces copper, nickel and precious metals. It employs about 200 people.

The province’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, said an inspection team will investigate the incident once the rescue operation is finished.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2021.

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