It’s a different kind of shot than Richmond Row patrons may be used to.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit says it will be handing out first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the city’s nightlife district on Friday and Saturday as part of a pop-up initiative dubbed “Doses Till Dark.”
The pop-up clinic will run from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on both days in the parking lot directly across from Jack’s, located at the corner of Richmond and Angel streets.
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“This is a focus to try and bring vaccine to some of the age cohorts we know are a little bit slower on the uptake when it comes to vaccine,” said Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health, said in an interview Wednesday.
“So those between 18 to 40, specifically the 18- to 25-year-old crowd for that Richmond Row area, to try and make sure that that vaccine is readily available for them.”
According to health unit data, 77.9 per cent of people 18 to 24 have gotten a first dose, along with 74.4 per cent of people 25 to 29 and 70.2 per cent of people 30 to 34. For second doses, the percentages stand at 62.7, 60.8 and 58.5 per cent, respectively.
It’s not entirely clear why vaccine uptake has been so slow for people in their early 30s. Overall, 82 per cent of London-Middlesex residents over 12 have gotten at least one dose, while 72.6 have had their second as well.
The number of vaccines being administered in the region has dropped off as more have received their first and second doses. Roughly 15,400 doses were administered last week, compared to roughly 21,700 two weeks earlier.
The push to get vaccines into younger arms comes as the health unit has observed COVID-19 outbreaks involving people in the 18-to-24 group, Summers said.
It was just on Wednesday that the health unit declared an outbreak at a nightclub on Carling Street involving five people who were either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. The number impacted has since risen to at least eight, all primary cases.
The outbreak at Lost Love Social House was the second outbreak to be declared involving a downtown bar within a matter of days.
On Sunday, the health unit declared an outbreak after 15 patrons of Delilah’s tested positive for COVID-19. The total number of people impacted by the outbreak has since risen to at least 26, including 22 primary and four secondary cases.
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“When you have the mixing of people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, because the Delta strain is so infectious, you’ll see outbreaks and you’ll see cases even amongst those vaccinated people,” Summers said.
“We want to make sure we’re there offering that vaccine, and we’ll be there Friday and Saturday night.”
Summers said those looking to get the vaccine at the Richmond Row pop-up clinic will only need to show some identification.
“If you’re having to go downtown, you’re going to have to show some ID to get into any of those bars. That same ID will do the trick for you to get the vaccine and that’s it,” he said.
The health unit says it plans to hold Doses Till Dark clinics outside the Covent Garden Market on Aug. 27 and 28, and again in the parking lot at Richmond and Angel streets on Sept. 3, 4, 10 and 18.
Many other pop-up clinics are scheduled to take place around the city over the next month, including one this Sunday that is being done in partnership with Pride London.
“We will … be partnering with Pride London at the Palasad to work with LGBT2Q+ individuals in order to ensure a safe and supportive environment to receive the vaccine in a safe and supportive way,” Summers said during Thursday’s media briefing.
The walk-in pop-up clinic will be held at Palasad Social Club at 777 Adelaide St. N, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is intended for members of the LGBTQ2 community, the health unit says. First and second doses will be available.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Spike in COVID-19 cases is pushing New Brunswick's health-care system to the limit – CTV News Atlantic
MONCTON, N.B. —
New Brunswick’s jump in COVID-19 cases has overloaded the health-care system this week.
The Horizon Health Network is now looking to hire more staff across the province to help with the growing demand for testing and vaccinations.
The health network has seen an increased demand in testing as COVID-19 cases have soared over the last month.
“Two weeks ago, if you wanted a test, you could walk in or call and get it at almost anytime you wanted,” said Dr. Jeff Steeves with New Brunswick’s Medical Society.
But now, assessment centres are seeing long line ups and delays in testing.
Steeves wants people to get the jab and practice caution during this time to prevent overloading the system even more.
“Remember, we were running short even before COVID, so we’re trying to maintain that,” Steeves said. “Therefore, we can’t divert the staff like we did before, hence the call for new staff.”
Horizon Health’s vice-president said in a statement Friday that they are currently looking to recruit staff at vaccination clinics, assessment centres and school clinics in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton.
“Given the recent rise in COVID activity in New Brunswick, and the increased demand for these services, we are hoping to replenish our pool of available clinicians and administrative support staff as we ramp up activity at these locations,” said Jean Daigle.
Since the province announced proof of vaccination requirements this week, public health has reported a significant jump in vaccination appointments.
On Wednesday, 1,700 appointments were booked, while yesterday there were 1,929.
Health officials say prior to Wednesday’s number, the recent average for vaccinations was 600 bookings per day. On Thursday, 600 additional vaccines had to be delivered to a clinic in Moncton.
“Things have picked up dramatically,” said Fredericton pharmacist Alistair Bursary, who says they’ve been busy taking calls from people looking to get their first or second dose.
“So, whereas we were doing perhaps 10 patients a day on average now we are probably going to hit 40-50 just at our pharmacy alone,” Bursary said.
While the demand for services continue to climb, those working on the frontlines hope to get the help they need sooner rather than later.
Quebec reports 821 COVID-19 cases, three deaths – Winnipeg Free Press
MONTREAL – Quebec reported 821 new COVID-19 cases and three further deaths in its latest data on Saturday, as authorities expanded plans to use rapid tests in elementary schools to more regions of the province.
Health officials said hospitalizations increased by two to 264, while the number of patients in intensive care dropped by six to 89.
The province said about 80 per cent of new infections involve people who were not adequately vaccinated.
Quebec administered 19,662 vaccine doses on Friday and officials said 88 per cent of Quebecers aged 12 and older have received a first dose while 82 per cent have gotten both shots.
Health Minister Christian Dubé said in a tweet more than 1,000 of those doses went to health-care workers, with the province remaining firm on a plan to have all sector employees adequately vaccinated Oct. 15 or face reassignment or suspension without pay.
“It’s never too late to get the vaccine, it’s the best way to protect yourself and others,” Dubé wrote on Saturday.
The province conducted more than 32,000 tests on Friday and the positivity rate is 2.4 per cent.
Late Friday, Quebec’s Health Department said rapid testing in elementary schools will now extend to several administrative regions of the province where masking in classrooms is already mandatory.
In a statement, officials said the deployment will take a few weeks and include nearly 1,600 schools.
The provincial government came under criticism from opposition parties and school administrators on the rollout of the testing program.
The province appointed Daniel Paré, head of the vaccination campaign, to co-ordinate the deployment.
The Health Department said schools will have the tests and PPE needed to use the tests, reserved for students who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the day and training and protocols are being set up.
“They are a complementary tool to quickly detect cases and further protect students and school staff and ensure that young people continue to receive their education at school,” the department said.
The tests, which provide a result in 15 minutes, have been used in four neighbourhoods in Montreal and Laval since Monday.
Schools are expected to begin using the tests widely by the end of the month, when training of staff to use the tests is complete.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2021.
FDA panel rejects plan to offer Pfizer booster shots against COVID-19 to most Americans – WAGM
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dealing the White House a stinging setback, a government advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected a plan Friday to give Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots across the board, and instead endorsed the extra vaccine dose only for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease.
The twin votes represented a heavy blow to the Biden administration’s sweeping effort, announced a month ago, to shore up nearly all Americans’ protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
The nonbinding recommendation — from an influential committee of outside experts who advise the Food and Drug Administration — is not the last word. The FDA will consider the group’s advice and make its own decision, probably within days. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to weigh in next week.
In a surprising turn, the advisory panel rejected, 16-2, boosters for almost everyone. Members cited a lack of safety data on extra doses and also raised doubts about the value of mass boosters, rather than ones targeted to specific groups.
Then, in an 18-0 vote, it endorsed extra shots for people 65 and older and those at risk of serious disease. Panel members also agreed that health workers and others who run a high risk of being exposed to the virus on the job should get boosters, too.
That would help salvage part of the White House’s campaign but would still be a huge step back from the far-reaching proposal to offer third shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to Americans eight months after they get their second dose.
The White House sought to frame the action as progress.
“Today was an important step forward in providing better protection to Americans from COVID-19,” said White House spokesman Kevin Munoz. “We stand ready to provide booster shots to eligible Americans once the process concludes at the end of next week.”
The CDC has said it is considering boosters for older people, nursing home residents and front-line health care workers, rather than all adults.
The FDA and CDC will most likely decide at some later point whether people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots should get boosters.
During several hours of vigorous debate Friday, members of the panel questioned the value of offering boosters to almost everybody 16 and over.
“I don’t think a booster dose is going to significantly contribute to controlling the pandemic,” said Dr. Cody Meissner of Tufts University. “And I think it’s important that the main message we transmit is that we’ve got to get everyone two doses.”
Dr. Amanda Cohn of the CDC said, “At this moment it is clear that the unvaccinated are driving transmission in the United States.”
In a statement, Kathrin U. Jansen, Pfizer head of vaccine research and development, said the company continues to believe that boosters will be a “critical tool in the ongoing effort to control the spread of this virus.”
Scientists inside and outside the government have been divided recently over the need for boosters and who should get them, and the World Health Organization has strongly objected to rich nations giving a third round of shots when poor countries don’t have enough vaccine for their first.
While research suggests immunity levels in those who have been vaccinated wane over time and boosters can reverse that, the Pfizer vaccine is still highly protective against severe illness and death, even amid the delta variant.
The unexpected turn of events could reinforce criticism that the Biden administration got out ahead of the science in its push for boosters. President Joe Biden promised early on that his administration would “follow the science,” in the wake of disclosures of political meddling in the Trump administration’s coronavirus response.
The FDA panel’s overwhelming initial rejection came despite full-throated arguments about the need for boosters from both Pfizer and health officials from Israel, which began offering boosters to its citizens in July.
Sharon Alroy-Preis of Israel’s Ministry of Health said the booster dose improves protection tenfold against infection in people 60 and older.
“It’s like a fresh vaccine,” bringing protection back to original levels and helping Israel “dampen severe cases in the fourth wave,” she said.
Representatives for Pfizer argued that it is important to start shoring up immunity before protection begins to erode. A company study of 44,000 people showed effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 was 96% two months after the second dose, but had dropped to 84% by around six months.
Both Pfizer and the Israeli representatives faced pushback from panelists. Several were skeptical about the relevance of Israel’s experience to the U.S. Another concern was whether third doses would exacerbate serious side effects, including rare instances of heart inflammation in younger men.
Pfizer pointed to Israeli data from nearly 3 million boosters to suggest side effect rates would be similar to those already reported.
Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said he was supportive of a third dose for adults over 60 or 65, but “I really have trouble” supporting it for anyone down to age 16.
While an extra shot would probably at least temporarily reduce cases with mild or no symptoms, “the question becomes what will be the impact of that on the arc of the pandemic, which may not be all that much,” Offit said.
Biden’s top health advisers, including the heads of the FDA and CDC, first announced plans for widespread booster shots in mid-August, setting the week of Sept. 20 as an all-but-certain start date. But that was before FDA staff scientists had completed their own assessments of the data.
Earlier this week, two top FDA vaccine reviewers joined a group of international scientists in publishing an editorial rejecting the need for boosters in healthy people. The scientists said studies show the shots are working well.
On Friday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said the Biden administration announcement was not aimed at pressuring regulators to act but was instead an attempt to be transparent with the public and be prepared in the event that boosters won approval.
“We have always said that this initial plan would be contingent on the FDA and the CDC’s independent evaluation,” Murthy said.
The Biden plan has also raised major ethical concerns about impoverished parts of the world still clamoring for vaccine. But the administration argued that the plan was not an us-or-them choice, noting that the U.S. is supplying large quantities of vaccine to the rest of the globe.
The U.S. has already approved Pfizer and Moderna boosters for certain people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients and transplant recipients.
Some Americans, healthy or not, have managed to get boosters, in some cases simply by showing up and asking for a shot. And some health systems already are offering extra doses to high-risk people.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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