Charla Huber: Knowing younger kids can soon be vaccinated is a relief – Times Colonist
During the past nearly two years, we have heard the term “unprecedented times” more often than I can keep track of. I think this is one of the top buzz phrases of the pandemic.
When we hear a statement prefaced with “unprecedented times,” we know that folks are doing their best to navigate the situation and there may be some kinks along the way.
I am one of the parents eagerly waiting for a COVID vaccine for children ages five to 11 years old to be approved by Health Canada. If the approval comes quickly, my daughter could get the vaccine before her 12th birthday — otherwise getting the vaccine may be part of her birthday celebration in January.
If we wait for her to turn 12 before she can receive her vaccine, I wonder if we will need to wait for her to have two doses before she can go swimming or dine in. I ask this because right now, vaccine passports are required for those 12 and up.
As I ask these questions, I want to note that I do understand that we are in “unprecedented times” and I know that not everything will go smoothly. If we need to take a break from movie theatres and public pools, then that’s what we’ll do. I am in full support of the vaccine passport system.
I spoke with Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, on the phone and asked her my questions. “Currently the 12-year-olds are getting vaccines by cohort,” said Henry, explaining that 11-year-olds born in 2009 can get the vaccine prior to their 12th birthday. This is what sets apart the 11-year-olds who turn 12 in January. My daughter will be in the first group of 12-year-olds that weren’t able to vaccinate in the cohorts.
Henry also said that Health Canada is expected to approve five to 11-year-olds to be vaccinated shortly. Meaning my daughter and others will not have to wait until the new year to get a COVID vaccine.
Henry explained that prior to approval, “safety data and efficacy data are being reviewed.”
I know that not all parents are as eager as me to have their children vaccinated. I’ve heard that there are many parents who have some hesitancy regarding getting children vaccinated.
“We are building confidence with parents,” said Henry. “Parental consent is important.”
I know my daughter couldn’t be more eager to get vaccinated. When I received my vaccines, both times she asked me to sneak her in and try and get her one, too. “Younger kids want to get their vaccines,” Henry said. “This has been so disruptive to their lives.”
Henry gave examples of how school years have been disrupted and childhood anxiety has increased over the course of the pandemic. I am not sure how long it will take us to look back at the COVID pandemic as a distant memory, but as a parent, it has been hard to know that I have been protected from COVID through vaccines while my daughter is still vulnerable. “For parents, it’s hard to be in society and to protect yourself and not be able to protect your child,” said Henry.
I feel a sigh of relief knowing my daughter and other children will soon be able to receive a vaccine. Even knowing that there may be some bumps along the way, I am appreciative of Henry and her team for doing their best to help us protect our kids.
Women More Likely to Suffer Adverse Mental Health Effects After Stroke: Report
A new report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation shows that women are more likely to suffer adverse mental health effects after a stroke, and that services and supports are lacking.
The report, Stroke and Mental Health: The Invisible and Inequitable Effects on Women, was released on Thursday.
Dr. Clair Barefoot, clinical psychologist at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, says recovering from a stroke can take a big toll on people.
That, coupled with the additional roles women often take on—such as caring for children, can cause additional strain and force them to leave rehab early.
Barefoot says supports and services are generally lacking across Canada.
She says it is quite difficult and expensive for people to find personalized care, so she would like to see more psychologists in hospitals and more funding for the private sector so that people can access more of those services after they’re discharged.
Grail says over 400 patients incorrectly informed they may have cancer
Cancer test maker Grail Inc said on Friday that its telemedicine vendor erroneously sent letters to about 400 patients suggesting they may have developed cancer.
Grail’s flagship cancer detection blood test Galleri is designed to detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear.
The company, owned by Illumina Inc, ILMN-Q said the letters were mistakenly sent by PWNHealth due to a software issue and that it “was in no way related to or caused by an incorrect Galleri test result”.
Grail said it had reached out to the patients immediately after the issue, adding that no patient health information has been disclosed or breached due to this.
The software issue being faced by PWNHealth has now been resolved, it said.
Illumina is currently appealing regulatory orders in the U.S. and EU, which are asking the gene sequencing company to divest Grail after it jumped regulators to close its acquisition of the cancer test maker.
Rates of infectious sexual diseases on the decline in region – CambridgeToday
Unprotected sex with more than one partner in a six month period is the biggest risk factor behind a recent rise in syphilis cases in Waterloo region, according to a report on infectious disease trends from Region of Waterloo Public Health.
The annual infectious diseases surveillance report gathers and analyzes information on the infectious diseases that physicians, laboratories and hospitals are required to report to the region’s public health unit in line with Ontario Public Health Standards.
Infectious diseases are illnesses caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that have the potential to cause serious illness and outbreaks.
There were 116 reports of infectious syphilis in the region last year, a rate of 17.8 per 100,000 population compared to 23.1 across the province. The number is down from a high of 143 reported cases in 2021, and a rate of 22.2 per 100,000 that was higher than the provincial average of 20.6.
The report says rates of syphilis, while lower than the province, have increased substantially in recent years, especially among females. This trend has also been observed in the province, which suggests a shift in epidemiology and sexual health practices.
The most common sexually transmitted infections in Waterloo Region continue to be chlamydia and gonorrhea.
There were 1,388 cases of chlamydia reported across the region last year, a rate of 192.8 per 100,000 population compared to 255.9 provincially. That’s down slightly from the age-standardized rate of 196.9 per 100,000 reported in 2021.
Gonorrhea case counts continued to spike across the province in 2022, while experiencing a slight decline in the rate of infection in Waterloo region.
Waterloo region reported 266 cases last year, a rate of 38.2 per 100,000. That’s compared to 77.5 per 100,000 province-wide.
Across the board, the demographic with the highest number of cases of sexually transmitted infections locally and across the province is the 20 to 29 age group.
Mpox, previously known as monkeypox, was declared a disease of global public health concern and became a newly reportable disease in Ontario in 2022.
There were only four local cases of mpox last year. Public Health says it has been monitoring the situation, working with health care providers to provide up-todate treatment guidance, and providing mpox vaccines to high-risk individuals.
The mpox virus is most commonly spread to people through close, physical contact with an infected person.
Campylobacter enteritis and salmonellosis were the most common enteric diseases in Waterloo Region in 2022. The local rates for enteric diseases were similar to or lower than those of the province.
Risk factors for enteric illnesses such as Campylobacter enteritis and salmonellosis include consuming undercooked meats and unpasteurized dairy products, ingesting contaminated food or water, and contact with infected persons.
Rates of vaccine preventable diseases in Waterloo Region were similar to those of the province. The most common vaccine preventable diseases in Waterloo Region were pneumococcal disease and pertussis (whooping cough).
In 2022, as we returned to normal activities, we saw a return of circulating respiratory viruses including pertussis with rates higher than had been seen during the first two years of the pandemic.
Public Health says immunization is the best way to prevent whooping cough. Pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for infants, older adults 65 years and older, and those at high risk from the infection.
Region of Waterloo Public Health undertakes a number of activities to prevent or reduce the burden of infectious diseases in the community.
Programs and services include case management, contacts and exposures for diseases of public health significance; inspections, investigations and outbreak management, including community outbreaks and those in institutions; health promotion activities and services for primary care providers, emergency service workers, childcare providers, and other community groups; and clinic-based services for sexual health, immunization, and tuberculosis screening and management.
Region of Waterloo Public Health says it will provide highlights of respiratory disease trends, including influenza, in a report to council this fall.
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