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COVID-19 cases in Indigenous communities down by 80% with high vaccine uptake – Global News

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The number of active COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities has declined by 80 per cent since mid-January thanks to the high uptake of vaccines, says the top doctor at Indigenous Services Canada.

Dr. Tom Wong, the department’s chief medical officer of public health, says the number of active dropped from a peak of 4,875 in mid-January to just 860 as of March 30.

Read more:
No evidence colonialism makes Indigenous Canadians more vaccine hesitant: expert

“It’s very encouraging to see that,” Wong said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“We are back to where (we were) in November … when we had that low number of active cases.”

According to Indigenous Services Canada, a total of 246,675 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in 612 First Nation, Inuit and territorial communities by the end of March.

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Click to play video: 'Indigenous groups claim Alberta’s ‘RAPID Response’ policing could violate first nation sovereignty'



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Indigenous groups claim Alberta’s ‘RAPID Response’ policing could violate first nation sovereignty


Indigenous groups claim Alberta’s ‘RAPID Response’ policing could violate first nation sovereignty

While the number of new COVID-19 cases has been spiking elsewhere across the country, Wong said there’s been a downward trend in Indigenous communities because of vaccinations and public health measures.

More than 50 per cent of adults living in First Nations, Inuit and territorial communities have already received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine – four times higher than in the general adult population in Canada, he said.

Read more:
1st Indigenous Canadian woman Canada appointed UN representative, on challenges she faces

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said Wednesday that the vaccine uptake has been high, despite the complexities involved in delivering them to Indigenous communities.

“We are succeeding thanks to the continued collaboration and strong partnerships of Indigenous leaders,” he told a news conference.

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Miller said more than 70 per cent of the population in the northern territories has already been vaccinated.

“Nunavut, in particular, has now received enough doses to vaccinate three quarters of their adults, and over 20,000 total vaccine doses have been administered.”


Click to play video: 'Three Saskatchewan First Nations organizations opening vaccination clinics'



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Three Saskatchewan First Nations organizations opening vaccination clinics


Three Saskatchewan First Nations organizations opening vaccination clinics

Miller said all eligible Indigenous adults should have received their first dose by June 30.

Wong said the high vaccination rates in First Nations communities are contributing to fewer outbreaks, although some are still occurring.

“We can’t be complacent. The reason why is that the variants of concern are much more transmissible,” he said.

“If we get complacent, then we’ll let our guard down (and) the variants of concern will rapidly spread.”

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Miller stressed the low number of COVID-19 cases doesn’t mean people should ignore public health measures.

“A third wave is coming, and we must remain vigilant,” he said.


Click to play video: 'Canadian military deploying to assist vaccinations in Manitoba First Nations communities'



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Canadian military deploying to assist vaccinations in Manitoba First Nations communities


Canadian military deploying to assist vaccinations in Manitoba First Nations communities – Mar 24, 2021

The B117 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom is the dominant variant now spreading in Canada.

Read more:
Death of Harlen Laboucan reveals ‘glaring disparities’ of Indigenous health care: doctors 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both mRNA vaccines, are very effective against this variant, Wong said. He predicted the continued vaccine rollout should allow Canadians to get to a “new normal” this summer.

“We look forward to having enough people vaccinated, together with all of the public health measures, to be able to get to that stage in the coming months.”

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U.S. CDC advisers recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for 65 and older, high risk – CBC.ca

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An advisory panel at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and for some adults with underlying medical conditions.

The vote by the group on Thursday clears the way for a booster roll-out to begin as soon as this week for millions of people who had their second dose at least six months ago.

It also follows Wednesday’s emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for seniors 65 and up and for certain adults at a high risk of severe COVID-19.

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Man assaulted nurse over vaccinating his wife: Quebec cops – Toronto Sun

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The man accused the nurse of having “vaccinated his wife without his consent” before repeatedly punching the woman in the face, police said.

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Sherbrooke police have turned to the public to help track down a man who assaulted a nurse Monday at a local pharmacy.

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Police say a man showed up at the office of a nurse assigned to give vaccinations at a pharmacy on 12th Ave. N.

“He was angry and aggressive,” said police spokesperson Martin Carrier.

The man accused the nurse of having “vaccinated his wife without his consent” before repeatedly punching the woman in the face and leaving, police said, adding that the nurse was taken to hospital to treat “serious” injuries to her face.

The man being sought is 30 to 45 years old, of medium build and has a dark complexion. He has short dark hair, dark eyes and “big eyebrows.”

The man spoke French and was wearing a dark sweater and jeans. He wore earrings and had a hand tattooed with what resembled the image of a cross.

Police are urging anyone with any information on the case to call them at 1-800-771-1800.

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B.C. reports 759 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths, 1 death in Island Health – CHEK

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British Columbia health officials on Wednesday reported 759 new COVID-19 cases — including 79 in Island Health — and 10 new deaths since their last update on Sept. 21.

One of the deaths was in Island Health, the province says.

The number of confirmed cases in B.C. is now at 180,937 while the death toll climbs to 1,910.

There are currently 5,458 active cases in the province, 324 people in hospital — 157 of whom are in intensive care. The provincial government says there are 636 active cases in the Island Health region.

Of the new cases identified, 79 were in Island Health, 233 were in Interior Health, 214 were in Fraser Health, 129 were in Northern Health, 101 were in Vancouver Coastal Health and three were people who normally reside outside of the country.

A total of 173,215 people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19 while 7,739,828 doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide.

Today’s data was released as a statement to the media.

Island Health

According to the latest update on Island Health’s dashboard shows that there are 563 active cases — 44 in North Island, 180 in Central Island, and 339 in South Island — on Vancouver Island.

Thirty-five people in the region are currently in hospital with COVID-19, 20 of whom are in critical care.

Over the past 24 hours, there were 188 recoveries, 1,358 new tests for COVID-19 performed, and 2,370 doses of vaccine administered in the region. Of those doses, 37 were AstraZeneca, 1,409 were Moderna and 924 doses were Pfizer.

A total of 1,289,871 vaccine doses — 619,306 of those are second doses — have now been administered on Vancouver Island. This includes 33,465 doses of AstraZeneca, 345,767 doses of Moderna and 910,639 doses of Pfizer.

Since the onset of the pandemic, there have been 8,020 cases reported, 59 deaths, 355 total hospitalizations, and 7,254 recoveries recorded on Vancouver Island.

Cases and deaths continue to climb this month

With Wednesday’s announcement of 79 new cases and yet another death in Island Health, the region has now recorded 11 deaths and seen a 22 per cent increase in new cases since the beginning of September.

Since Sept. 1, total hospitalizations on the Island have risen 23 per cent while the total number of recoveries has increased by 22 per cent.

When it comes to active cases, the data isn’t as clear due to major discrepancies between the two main reporting agencies, Island Health and the BCCDC.

Island Health’s data shows that active cases in the region have increased by 31 per cent since the beginning of the month, while the BCCDC’s data shows that active cases have only increased by 18 per cent during the same period.

However, Island Health is the only agency to provide daily updates on active cases with a breakdown by region and based on their latest data update, active cases in the South Island are the highest they have ever been.

More concerning, perhaps, is that active cases on the South Island have increased 113 per cent since Sept. 8. Active cases in Central Island have only managed to climb by 10 per cent since Sept. 8 and on the brighter side, active cases in the North Island have decreased by 37 per cent during the same period.

The vaccine card effect on Vancouver Island

Time — and likely one’s perspective — will only tell whether the B.C. vaccine card system proves to be effective here on the Island. But if the provincial government’s goal was strictly to get more shots in people’s arms for the first time, then it appears to be working to a degree.

On Aug. 23, which was the day Premier John Horgan announced the vaccine card system, a total of 640,426 first doses had been administered on Vancouver Island.

That number had climbed to 649,293 — slightly more than 1 per cent — by Sept. 1, less than two weeks before the B.C. vaccine card system was to come into effect.

But by Sept. 22, more than a week after the B.C. vaccine card system was implemented, that figure had increased to 670,565 first doses, a five per cent increase since Aug. 23.

That may not seem like a lot, but that does mean 30,139 people in the region opted to get the first dose of vaccine in less than a month.

However, it is worth pointing out that the total number of vaccine doses — first and second doses combined — administered on Vancouver Island has risen by 3.3 per cent since Sept. 1 and just 1.5 per cent since Sept. 13, the day the B.C. vaccine card coming into force.

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