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Complex challenges mean mandatory COVID-19 vaccine unlikely: experts – Red Deer Advocate

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OTTAWA — While the government spends hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and test potential vaccines for COVID-19, experts say mandatory vaccination is unlikely given the difficult practical and ethical problems that would entail.

“A vaccine will be extremely important to getting back to normal,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday, adding that effective treatment could help us get there too.

A recent poll conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found 60 per cent of respondents believe people should be required to get the vaccine once it’s ready, although that is likely to be many months away.

It’s understandable people feel that way, said vaccine expert Dr. Noni MacDonald, but mandatory vaccines are a complicated proposition.

There are no truly mandatory vaccines in Canada. While provinces like Ontario and New Brunswick require children to be vaccinated in order to attend school, there are exemptions for medical and ideological reasons.

For adults, the only Canadian precedent for mandatory vaccines is for medical workers who must be immunized against certain diseases to protect themselves and their patients, MacDonald said.

“What’s your consequences for not doing it if you make it mandatory?” said MacDonald, a professor with the faculty of medicine at Dalhousie University. “What’s your penalty? Or what’s your incentive?”

Those questions are more complex than they appear, and can lead policy-makers down a rabbit hole.

Australia tried to convince parents to immunize their children by making certain tax benefits contingent on those vaccinations, MacDonald said.

“The group that it really harmed was the very low-income people who had to take time off work to get their child immunized,” she said. ”And they got a double whammy. They not only didn’t get their child immunized, which meant they couldn’t go to daycare or go to school, but they also didn’t get the child tax credit.”

Ethically speaking, the government would have to make sure not to unduly penalize people who don’t get the vaccine.

Policy-makers also have to worry about a backlash, said Ubaka Ogbogu, an associate professor with the University of Alberta who specializes in law and bioethics.

“The reason why we should probably not raise the question of mandatory vaccination in relation to COVID-19 is because it’s deeply controversial,” Ogbogu said.

There is usually vehement opposition to mandatory vaccination, at least by small but vocal groups who worry about the safety of vaccines and government infringement on their liberties.

Those people are likely to be even more concerned about a rapidly developed vaccine, he said.

“The last thing you want is for (a vaccine) to become available, and then we spend a lot of time fighting over whether it should be mandatory or not, when I think people are going to want it,” he said. ”I think what we’re going to have is the opposite issue.”

The question of whether to make the vaccine mandatory assumes there will be enough to go around, which both experts agree is doubtful.

It’s difficult to know what the uptake in an eventual vaccine will be, said chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

“Sometimes it’s quite an emotional reaction,” she said Saturday.

“I recall in the last pandemic when you’d get an increase in deaths, for example, people will suddenly want to take up the vaccine very fast when you don’t have enough to go around.”

The more likely ethical quandary for policy-makers will involve figuring out how to distribute a limited supply of the vaccine in a way that is fair and effective.

That will depend on how knowledge of the vaccine and the disease develops.

Influenza, for example, spreads rampantly among kids who are in school so it’s important to boost their immunity. But it’s not clear if the same is true of COVID-19, MacDonald said. It may be that health-care workers should be the first to receive the vaccine, or people who work in long-term care homes.

To make matters more complicated, with several vaccines in development the successful candidates may be more effective in some populations than others.

Those are all factors that will have to be sorted out as the government works toward rolling out a vaccine in Canada.

The federal and provincial governments are going to have to make “extremely important decisions,” about how to achieve the optimal level of vaccination, Trudeau said Tuesday, and those decisions will be informed by research.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2020.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

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What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on May 29, 2020 – CBC.ca

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THE LATEST:

  • Health officials will give their daily update in a written statement at 3 p.m. PT.
  • To date, 2,558 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in B.C.
  • 164 people have died of the illness.
  • 2,153 people have recovered.
  • There are currently 241 active cases of COVID-19.
  • As of Thursday, 33 patients were in hospital with COVID-19, including six in intensive care.

B.C. has now had 2,558 confirmed cases of COVID-19, but less than a 10th of those are still active.

As of Thursday, there were 241 active cases in the province, while 2,153 people have recovered. Sadly, 164 people have now died from the novel coronavirus, including 93 residents of long-term care homes.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital has fallen to 33, including six who are in intensive care.

However, officials continue to be concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the elderly and care home residents, and specialized response teams have been sent in to deal with outbreaks at two facilities in the Fraser Health region.

READ MORE: 

Top COVID-19 stories today

Important reminders:

Health officials widely agree the most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. 

The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.

What’s happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 10 p.m. PT on Thursday, Canada had 88,512 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 46,480 considered resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial health data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 6,963.

The numbers are not a complete picture, as they don’t account for people who haven’t been tested, those being investigated as a potential case and people still waiting for test results. 

For a look at what’s happening across the country and the world, check the CBC interactive case tracker.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home. Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority or 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

Find information about COVID-19 from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available in B.C. from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. PT, seven days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep at least two metres away from people who are sick.
  • When outside the home, keep two metres away from other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Masks won’t fully protect you from infection, but can help prevent you from infecting others.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca

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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, May 29 – CBC.ca

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Recent developments:

What’s happening today?

Families of people living at the Almonte Country Haven long-term care home just west of Ottawa say they asked for staffing help early in the pandemic, but didn’t get it.

All but 10 of the home’s 82 residents contracted COVID-19 and 28 died. The home’s administrator says it met Ontario’s staffing standards at all times.

WATCH: Staffing at hard-hit care home

Kim Narraway, whose sister is a resident of Almonte Country Haven, says the facility needed more staff to adequately deal with the pandemic. 0:43

Canadian Blood Services needs more people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma for a project to see if they have antibodies that could potentially help treat the virus.

Ottawa epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan is calling on the city to open up more public washrooms during the pandemic, even with the portable toilets installed downtown. 

WATCH: How to keep public washrooms safe

Ottawa epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan says public washrooms should be open, but special care should be taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the facilities. 0:57

How many cases are there?

There have been 1,930 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and 240 deaths linked to the respiratory illness. There are more than 3,070 known cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

More than 2,300 people in the region have recovered from COVID-19.

The deaths of 49 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties and 32 more in the wider region have also been tied to the coronavirus. 

Confirmed cases are just a snapshot because not everyone can be tested and results take time to process, though testing criteria are being expanded.

What’s open and closed?

Ontario is in “stage one” of its three-stage reopening plan. When ready, its next stage should bring more offices, outdoor spaces and gatherings back.

This Sunday, the farmers market at Lansdowne Park reopens for preordering and picking up at a designated time.

Artwork by Ottawa artist Daniel Martelock stands in the ByWard Market on May 28, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Quebec malls, campgrounds and Airbnbs, courts and services such as dentist offices and hair salons can reopen Monday

So can national parks and historic sites across Canada, which includes Rideau Canal lockstations.

Many parks are now open with limits, such as not using playground equipment or gathering.

A sign advises people to practise physical distancing as they enter Gatineau Park in Chelsea, Que., on Sunday, May 24, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Quebec elementary schools outside Montreal are open. Schools for its older students and all Ontario schools are closed through summer.

Post-secondary schools are moving toward more online classes this fall, with Ontario promising a fall plan for younger students by July and Quebec hoping to have students back in class full-time.

Curbside pickup, return of borrowed items and homebound delivery are the services on offer when the Ottawa Public Library partially resumes next month. 8:30

Distancing and isolating

The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People don’t need to have symptoms to be contagious.

That means physical distancing measures such as working from home and staying at least two metres away from anyone they don’t live with.

Ottawa Public Health now wants people to think about how to safely do certain things and recommends people wear a fabric or non-medical mask when they can’t always stay two metres from strangers, such as at a grocery store.

Hurdman station during physical distancing for the COVID-19 pandemic March 31, 2020. (Jonathan Dupaul/CBC)

Anyone who has symptoms, travelled recently outside Canada or, specifically in Ottawa, is waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate for at least 14 days.

The same goes for anyone in Ontario who’s been in contact with someone who’s tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.

People 70 and older or with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions should also self-isolate.

A car passes a sign near a school Monday May 11, 2020 in Chelsea, Quebec. (Adrian Wyld/CBC)

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. 

Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. The Ontario government says in rare cases, children can develop a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

WATCH: What it’s like to be new to Canada during the pandemic

Yazan Souliman arrived in Canada with his wife in mid-February looking forward to meeting new people and finding work. Then the pandemic hit. 0:56

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can now be tested.

Tests are done at the Brewer Arena from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., seven days a week, or at 595 Moodie Dr. and 1485 Heron Rd. those same hours on weekdays.

Testing has also expanded for local residents and employees who work in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area.

There is a drive-thru test centre in Casselman and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don’t require people to call ahead and others in Rockland, and Cornwall that require an appointment.

In Kingston, the assessment centre at the Kingston Memorial Centre is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for anyone with symptoms. 

Napanee‘s test centre is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for people who call for an appointment.

Taking a break by the water during a heat warning in Ottawa-Gatineau May 26, 2020. All heat warnings are now over in the region. (Francis Ferland/CBC )

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.

It has a walk-in site in Brockville open seven days a week at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.

WATCH: The National‘s nightly COVID-19 Q&A

An infectious disease specialist answers viewer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether someone who has recovered from COVID-19 can stop physical distancing. 2:46

The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call it at 613-966-5500, their family doctor or Telehealth if they have symptoms or questions.

If you have no symptoms, you can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre, or in Picton by texting 613-813-6864. You can also call Picton’s number as a backup.

You may also qualify for a home test.

Renfrew County is also providing home testing under some circumstances. Residents without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.

If you’re concerned about the coronavirus, take the self-assessment.

In western Quebec:

Outaouais residents should call 819-644-4545 if they have symptoms. They could end up being referred to Gatineau’s testing centre.

WATCH: Quebec’s latest projections show need to follow rules

Projections from Quebec’s Public Health Research Institute show a decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Montreal is possible as the city reopens, if people maintain physical distancing measures. 1:52

First Nations:

Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.

Akwesasne has opened a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to Akwesasne who’s been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Anyone in Tyendinaga who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.

Pikwakanagan‘s council planned to let businesses reopen as of today and Kitigan Zibi is keeping schools closed through the summer.

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What's open Ottawa: H&M reopens Rideau Street store | CTV News – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Malls remain closed in the capital, under provincial orders, but stores with street entrances are allowed to reopen, and that means a popular fashion brand has reopened one of its stores in Ottawa.

H&M announced Thursday that its store at the Rideau Centre would reopen via its Rideau Street entrance.

Only 15 people will be allowed in the store at one time. The hours are to 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

There are markers on the floor for physical distancing. Fitting rooms have been closed and there is no garment recycling program for now.

Hand sanitizer is being provided.

While the store accepts cash, they are encouraging card use. There is one line for cash users and one line for card users at the registers.

Employees will be wearing masks, and will be behind barriers at the register. The store will be cleaned more often.

H&M will still accept returns, but says it will hold all returned items for at least 24 hours before putting them back on the sales floor.

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