Some older Ontarians could soon be rolling up their sleeves to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at their local pharmacy.
The province is set to receive a shipment of 194,000 doses of the recently approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine today.
Health Canada has recommended against using the vaccine on those above the age of 65, so the plan in Ontario is to administer it mostly to those between the ages of 60 and 64.
Speaking during Question Period at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that the province plans to unveil a list of more than 300 pharmacies that will be administering the AstraZeneca vaccine by tomorrow. She said that qualifying members of the public would then be able to book appointments to receive their shots at those pharmacies by the end of the week.
“The 190,000 vaccines that we are expecting to receive today are time limited and we want to make sure they can be delivered quickly and efficiently through the over 300 pharmacies that have been identified,” she said. “This plan is ready to go and we will be receiving applications and online bookings as of Friday.”
The doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that Ontario will receive were shipped from the Serum Institute of India earlier this month and are set to expire on April 2.
That means that there is a time crunch to get them into people’s arms.
Elliott, however, said during Question Period that she is confident that all of the doses will be administered prior to their expiry thanks to the use of hundreds of pharmacies.
“We will be able to and have been ready to receive the AstraZeneca vaccines and will be able to deliver them before their expiry. And we can quadruple the level of doses we are doing each day in very short order but what we need are the large doses of the vaccine to come in,” she said.
Ontario has administered just under one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far but has said that it hopes to reach an additional 7.5 million people in the second phase of its rollout, scheduled for April to July.
'I was shocked': Mother, child mistakenly given COVID-19 vaccine instead of flu shot – Squamish Chief
WINNIPEG — A Manitoba mother says a routine appointment for her and her three-year-old to get flu shots ended in frustration and mixed messages after they were each mistakenly given an adult dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Jenna Bardarson is calling for policy changes at the province’s vaccination centres to make sure that doesn’t happen to another family.
The shots were administered on Nov. 24 at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.
Bardarson says that shortly after she and her daughter, Dali, got their shots, the health worker who had given them excused herself to speak with a supervisor. When the worker returned, she told them she had made a mistake and given them both the adult Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. My immediate concerns were, of course, would my daughter be OK and also who could I speak to about this,” Bardarson said in online social media messages Friday to The Canadian Press.
Once she got home, Bardarson made multiple calls to different departments with the regional medical authority, hoping to speak with someone about the error and her concerns, she said.
She said no one was able to provide her with the answers or information she needed. “The conversations with various Prairie Mountain Health members have been frustrating, to say the least.”
Bardarson said she already had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and was due for her booster shot next month. Her daughter is too young to be eligible.
Health Canada last month approved a pediatric version of the Pfizer shot for children ages five to 11, but it has not yet approved a vaccine for those under five.
Bardarson said she and her daughter had headaches and sore arms the following day. Her daughter had no appetite and was throwing up.
Manitoba Health confirmed the mistake in a statement and said staff from Prairie Mountain have reached out to the mother to discuss what happened as well as to provide an update on an investigation.
“Patient safety is a critical aspect of all health-care services in Manitoba. We are constantly reviewing our processes to ensure that our systems support our staff in preventing errors,” it said.
“In this case … our team reviewed the existing processes to make adjustments that would help avoid a similar error from occurring in the future.”
Bardarson said the health region has not provided her with updated information on the investigation and would not discuss any consequences the health worker may have faced.
Manitoba Health said no further action would be taken against the worker, because she immediately recognized the error and told a supervisor.
For Bardarson, that’s not enough.
“I by no means want her fired; however, there should be some sort of measures in place for harm reduction.”
Bardarson suggested taking away the worker’s injection privileges or enhanced supervision during vaccinations.
She said she would also like to see areas at vaccination centres separated by vaccine types, instead of having different vaccines offered in the same booth.
Manitoba Health could not say if others have been given a COVID-19 vaccine by mistake, but acknowledged that medication errors, although rare, do occur. It added that Bardarson was provided with information about the risks of the COVID-19 vaccine, which in this case it says are low.
Health Canada said it is not in charge of immunization monitoring and could not comment on whether similar mistakes have occurred in other parts of the country.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2021.
The story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press
2,000 local children already booked for first COVID-19 shot – The Sarnia Journal
Five hundred children aged five to 11 have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Sarnia-Lambton and another 1,500 are booked for clinic appointments.
About 9,700 local kids are eligible, said Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health.
“I would say 2,000 bookings is pretty good,” said Dr. Sudit Ranade, noting 60% of local parents plan to vaccinate, according to a recent survey.
“If we get up to that 5,000 to 6,000 mark then we’ll reach what we expected.”
Registration opened Nov. 23 following Health Canada’s approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for the five-to-11 age group.
Clinics at LCCVI and St. Patrick’s high schools filled up quickly, but clinic appointments are available at the Lambton College Event Centre and Rapids Family Health Team.
“We have a special environment set up for kids,” said Ranade. “There’s a little bit more space, we’ve allocated a little bit more time, a few resources to make kids more comfortable.”
Local children who are four years of age but turning five by year-end can’t get a shot, even though Ontario has said anyone born in 2016 can get vaccinated.
Ranade said he made the decision.
“From a medical perspective, there is so much growth and development and change in a person’s body between zero and five. And that change happens so quickly that it’s hard to say, without me seeing the data from the regulator, what is the side effect profile if you’re under five… and is the dosing the right amount, and so forth.”
A parent who contacted the Journal said she was disappointed when the health unit called to cancel her child’s appointment — the child turns five later this month.
“My son is in school so I’d love to get him his shot ASAP, especially with Christmas approaching,” she said. She planned to travel to Chatham-Kent or London-Middlesex for the shot.
“It makes no sense how the rules can be different 45 minutes away,” she said.
Ranade said he understands parents wanting to vaccinate their kids quickly are frustrated, but stressed Health Canada has only authorized it for a specific age group.
“Which means, according to the label…you actually need to be five-years-old in order to receive this vaccine.”
The health unit has no evidence of ‘fake appointments’ made locally following reports that a former People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate urged people in the Windsor area to book child appointments and then not show up.
Ontario has expanded booster-dose eligibility to people age 50 and over, but Ranade noted the health unit is still “fully booked” for the 70+ age group.
“It is going to be a challenge for people to book their appointments because we are pretty maxed out on our bookings right now,” he said, adding a booster is “nowhere near as important” as the first two doses.
Although the Omicron variant has not yet appeared in Lambton “it’s only a matter of time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sarnia’s mayor and a city councillor clashed over the use of schools as child vaccination sites during a Nov. 24 Lambton County council meeting.
Coun. Margaret Bird, who has questioned the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in the past, said she opposes school clinics and urged other councillors to write Health Canada. Parents need to know their children are safe at school, she said, adding adverse vaccine effects could result in “injury and death rates increasing with every inoculation.”
Mayor Mike Bradley called for a vote.
“There’s just been a speech for five minutes here on some theories that I think many people would disagree with. So I would suggest the councillor file a notice of motion or put the question forward — does council endorse what she just said?”
Bird refused. “I do not want report of this outside in the public to say I put a motion forward and it was defeated. I don’t want that.”
In a response to Bird’s comments, Lambton Public Health manager Kevin Churchill said school clinics are currently scheduled outside of school hours and administered by public health staff.
In a recent survey, many local parents said they wanted the shots given at schools, he said.
“Holding vaccination clinics outside of school hours allows parents or guardians to accompany their child to their appointment and to ask questions about the vaccine should they have any concerns.”
COVID-19 vaccine for all children aged five to 11 began – Columbia Valley Pioneer
By Pioneer Staff
On Monday, Nov. 29, children aged five to 11 years old began receiving vaccines across British Columbia.
“The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine directly protects children and will mean less disruption to the activities that are important to them, such as school, sports and social events,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a statement. “Once children are vaccinated, parents can feel more assured their children are safe, and children can feel empowered knowing they are taking another step to protect their grandparents, teachers, friends and loved ones.”
The children are going to receive Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine, the first COVID-19 vaccine in Canada to be approved for children of that age group. The Pfizer vaccine for children five to 11 was approved by Health Canada on Nov. 19, 2021. It will provide a level of protection tailored to children’s immune systems using a lower dose (10 micrograms), which is one-third the dose formulated for older children and adults. Children should receive two doses of the vaccine, separated by eight weeks or more between the first and second dose, according to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
The vaccination of young children will take place at community clinics across the province, not at pharmacies. Parents or guardians must give verbal or written consent, according to the province.
There are around 350,000 kids in the province eligible to start receiving the vaccine. More than 92,000 children have been registered in the province’s Get Vaccinated system. Registration ensures parents are notified by text or email when it is time to book their child’s appointment.
Parents or guardians with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for their child can call 1-833-838-2323, or visit gov.bc.ca/vaccineforkids.
Parents can also consult with their child’s pediatrician, family doctor or nurse practitioner so they can make the best decision for their child.
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