Connect with us

Health

Complex challenges mean mandatory COVID-19 vaccine unlikely: experts – Surrey Now-Leader

Published

on


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.

READ MORE: Should a vaccine for COVID-19 be made mandatory in Canada, once it’s created?

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.”

READ MORE: Normal life won’t fully return until COVID-19 vaccine developed, Trudeau says

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.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusvaccines

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

NB health authority CEO says COVID-19 outbreak is 'worst possible scenario' – OHS Canada

Published

on


By Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s, N.L. with files from Jillian Kestler-D’Amours in Montreal

FREDERICTON — The chief executive of a New Brunswick health network says the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the north of the province is a worst-case scenario in a region with underlying health issues and an older population.

Testing for the novel coronavirus has been ramped up in the Campbellton area, with two arenas becoming makeshift testing centres after officials confirmed a health-care professional travelled to Quebec and returned to work without self-isolating.

The worker has tested positive for COVID-19, and he has been linked to a growing cluster of cases.

Eight cases have been linked to the cluster that as of Friday has led to the adjournment of the provincial legislature, the rollback of reopening measures and prompted the opening of a testing centre across the border in Quebec.

Gilles Lanteigne, president and CEO of the Vitalite Health Network, said the incident that sparked the “massive” testing operation speaks to the importance of abiding by public health measures that have been introduced to slow the spread of the virus.

“We were expecting we would have a fallback at some time or another. Did we expect that? This is probably the worst scenario we could have had,” Lanteigne said by phone on Friday.

Caution urged

Until the latest outbreak, New Brunswick had been loosening restrictions, with nearly all of its positive COVID-19 cases considered resolved.

Health authorities announced two additional cases Friday, bringing the total in the region known as Zone 5 to eight, with two patients in intensive care.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said one of the newly diagnosed individuals is a health-care worker in their 30s who works in a nursing home, where patients and staff were being tested Friday. The other new case is a person in their 60s.

She warned all New Brunswickers to be cautious, saying contract tracing has found that people living outside the northern region are within the transmission circle. She said the quickly emerging cluster, which is expected to grow, shows that people will be living with the pandemic for a long time.

Lanteigne said wide testing is essential in the region because Campbellton is known to have high rates of chronic health conditions and smoking, putting the population at greater risk of complications from COVID-19.

“It’s a very vulnerable population,” he said. “We need to know where this virus is at in the community. We’re very, very concerned.”

Lanteigne confirmed the health-care professional thought to be patient zero in the outbreak has been suspended from work indefinitely after coming into contact with more than 100 people.

He declined to confirm the man’s professional title, citing privacy concerns in the small community, but said he worked directly with patients at the Campbellton Regional Hospital.

More than 200 people were tested Thursday evening, and Lanteigne said the health authority is on track to exceed its target of 500 tests over the weekend.

Elective surgeries have been suspended, and ambulances are being diverted to another hospital. Zone 5 has been moved back to the “orange” phase of the province’s reopening plan, with previous restrictions reinstated.

“We’re treating this zone as a hot zone,” Lanteigne said.

Health worker criticized

Campbellton is on the Quebec border, and some residents have complained about restrictions that have limited travel between the two provinces.

Across the river from Campbellton, the health authority in Quebec’s Gaspe region is also setting up a COVID-19 testing unit in Pointe-a-la-Croix.

CISSS Gaspesie spokesperson Clemence Beaulieu-Gendron said the health authority believes some residents of Pointe-a-la-Croix were in contact with the New Brunswick health professional who tested positive for COVID-19, but it is unclear how many.

She said there are currently no active COVID-19 cases in Pointe-a-la-Croix.

Lanteigne remarked that the incident should be a wake-up call for community members who, despite “warnings and warnings,” were reluctant to wear masks and were demanding that travel restrictions be loosened.

“Now, here we are. One incident. This is what we’ve been saying all along,” Lanteigne said.

Premier Blaine Higgs has criticized the worker at the centre of the cluster as “irresponsible.” He said this week that information had been passed to the RCMP and suggested the individual could be charged with violating public health orders.

Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh, spokeswoman for the New Brunswick RCMP, confirmed Friday that the force “is aware of incident and is looking into the matter.” She would not give details about what potential violations were being considered.

At Friday’s COVID-19 briefing, Higgs softened his tone slightly, saying any professional or legal consequences will be dealt with by the person’s employer and law enforcement.

“I know people are upset, but we don’t want anyone taking matters into their own hands,” he said, adding that people with symptoms should not be afraid to come forward and seek testing.

Russell also avoided sharing specifics about the health-care worker’s job title and declined to say whether the nursing home employee had been working in other facilities.

Higgs said the travel incident is being investigated to determine what was said at the border and whether the rules were followed.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

At least 21 employees at St. Catharines greenhouse test positive for COVID-19 – Newstalk 610 CKTB (iHeartRadio)

Published

on


At least 21 employees at a St. Catharines greenhouse have tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials with Pioneer Flower Farms say they began testing all employees after three offshore workers began to show symptoms of the virus.

When the results came back, an additional 18 employees tested positive.

Officials say they are planning to continue paying all employees who are entering into self isolation for the next two weeks.

Preventative measures are in place and officials are introducing further methods to limit the spread.

Pioneer Flower Farms employs more than 80 workers.

It was also the scene of a devastating fire last year that destroyed a greenhouse and the residences of migrant workers.

At the time, Fire Chief Jeff McCormick called it ‘the most significant fire that I’ve had in my 33 year career.’

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Union calls on province to take control of a Woodbridge long-term care home after COVID-19 outbreak – durhamradionews.com

Published

on



A long-term care home in Woodbridge says 18 people were sent to the hospital on Saturday as a COVID-19 outbreak continued at the facility.

The Woodbridge Vista Care Community has had a dozen residents die of the virus while 80 residents and 20 staff are infected.

The executive vice president of Sienna Senior Living, which operates the home, says the patients had reached a point where their illness needed acute care.

The union that represents front-line workers at the facility is calling on the province to step-in.

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.


<!–

end of .navigation –>

Go Back

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending