WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The first shipments of coronavirus vaccines have arrived across the European Union as authorities prepared to administer the first shots to the most vulnerable people in a coordinated effort on Sunday.
The vaccines developed by BioNTech and Pfizer arrived by truck in warehouses across the continent on Friday and early Saturday after being sent from a manufacturing center in Belgium before Christmas.
The rollout marks a moment of hope for a region that includes some of the world’s earliest and worst-hit virus hot spots, including Italy and Spain, and others, like the Czech Republic, that were spared the worst early on only to see their health care systems near their breaking points in the fall.
Altogether, the 27 EU member states have seen at least 16 million cases of the coronavirus and more than 336,000 deaths.
“It’s here, the good news at Christmas,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said at a news conference Saturday. “At this moment, trucks are underway across Europe, across Germany and its regions, to deliver the first vaccine. More deliveries will follow the day after tomorrow. This vaccine is the decisive key to end this pandemic.”
“It is the key to getting our lives back,” Spahn said.
The rollout is the result of coordination on the part of all 27 member states, helping the bloc to also project a sense of unity in a lifesaving mission of logistical complexity after difficulties in negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain.
The first doses, however, are limited just under 10,000 doses in most countries, with the mass vaccination programs expected to begin only in January.
Each country is deciding on its own who will get the first shots — but they are all putting the most vulnerable first.
French authorities said they will prioritize the elderly, based on the high impact on older populations in previous virus surges in France. The French medical safety agency will monitor for eventual problems.
Germany, where the pandemic has cost more than 30,000 lives, will begin with those over 80 and people who take care of vulnerable groups.
Spanish authorities said early Saturday that the first batch of the coronavirus vaccine to reach the country had arrived in the central city of Guadalajara — where the first shots will be administered on Sunday morning at a nursing home.
A nurse in Rome at Spallanzani Hospital, the main infectious diseases facility in Italy’s capital, should be the first in the country to receive the vaccine, followed by other health personnel.
In Poland, the first two people to be vaccinated on Sunday will be a nurse and a doctor at the Interior Ministry hospital in Warsaw, the main coronavirus hospital in the capital, followed by medical personnel in dozens of other hospitals.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recently called it the patriotic duty of Poles to get vaccinated — a message directed at a society where there is a high degree of vaccine hesitancy born from a general distrust of authorities.
In Bulgaria, where suspicions also run high, the first person to get the shot will be Health Minister Kostadin Angelov, who has promised an aggressive campaign to promote the benefits of the shots.
In Croatia, where the first batch of 9,750 vaccines arrived early on Saturday, a care home resident in Zagreb, the capital, will be the first to receive the vaccine on Sunday morning, according to state HRT TV.
HRT TV also reported that authorities would launch a pro-vaccination campaign that will include celebrities and other public figures getting the vaccine on camera.
“We have been waiting for this for a year now,” Romanian Prime Minister Florin Catu said on Saturday after the first batch of the vaccine arrived at a military-run storage facility there.
The vaccinations begin as the first cases of a new variant of the virus that has been spreading in the U.K. have now been detected in France and Spain. The new variant has caused several European countries to restrict traffic with Britain.
A French man living in England arrived in France on Dec. 19 and tested positive for the new variant Friday, the French public health agency said in a statement. He has no symptoms and is isolating in his home in the central city of Tours.
Meanwhile, health authorities in the Madrid region said they had confirmed the variant in four people, all of whom are in good health. Regional health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero said that the new strain had arrived when an infected person flew into Madrid’s airport.
German pharmaceutical company BioNTech is confident that its coronavirus vaccine works against the new UK variant, but further studies are needed to be completely certain.
Associated Press writers Lorne Cook in Brussels, David McHugh in Frankfurt, Germany, Angela Charlton in Paris, Joseph Wilson in Barcelona, Spain, Frances D’Emilio in Rome, Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, and Veselin Toshkov in Sofia, Bulgaria, contributed to this report.
Image: Medical staff receive part of a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shipment at the UZ Leuven hospital in Leuven, Belgium, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. Belgium is preparing to begin its Covid-19 vaccination program, with first vaccinations beginning on Monday. (Nicolas Maeterlinck, Pool via AP)
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, July 25 – CBC.ca
- Hundreds got vaccinated at pop-up clinic organized by the Escapade music festival.
- Seventy per cent of Ottawa adults are now fully vaccinated.
- Ottawa reported six COVID-19 cases Saturday and no new deaths.
- An Ottawa man endured 100 COVID-19 tests to visit wife in long-term care home.
What’s the latest?
Hundreds of people turned up to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at a pop-up clinic held on Saturday by the organizers of an electronic dance music festival in partnership with the city’s public health department.
While the vaccine clinic was underway, the City of Ottawa announced that 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning they are now considered fully vaccinated.
Earlier this week, an Ottawa man marked an important, uniquely 2021 romantic milestone — his 100th COVID-19 test, which he needed to visit his wife of 50 years living in a long-term care home.
Things are looking up, <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OttCity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OttCity</a>!<br>It’s hard to believe that 70% of residents 18+ have both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine.<br>Thanks to your hard work, we are starting to get back to the things we love like seeing our friends & family.<br>Thank you for striving for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CommunityImmunity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CommunityImmunity</a>! <a href=”https://t.co/dycbsxIwzk”>pic.twitter.com/dycbsxIwzk</a>
OPH reported six new cases, and no new deaths on Saturday. One patient is in hospital with COVID-19.
Ontario reported 170 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, 22 fewer than the previous day. The province also reported three additional deaths linked to the virus.
How many cases are there?
As of Saturday, 27,774 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 43 known active cases, 27,138 cases considered resolved, and 593 people have died from the illness.
Public health officials have reported more than 50,300 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 49,200 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 197 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 215.
Akwesasne has had nearly 700 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
What are the rules?
Ontario is in Step 3 of its reopening plan.
The latest step allows for indoor dining, with capacity limits based on everyone being able to keep an acceptable distance.
Gyms, movie theatres and museums are able to reach a capacity of 50 per cent inside.
Larger general gathering limits have risen to 25 people inside and 100 people outside. Those limits are even higher for organized events, leading to the resumption of summer festivals and professional sports.
A detailed plan for the next school year is in the works, according to the education minister.
Ten people are allowed to gather inside private residences and 20 people outdoors — which increases to 50 if playing sports. Organized games are permitted outdoors again and gyms are open.
People can eat both indoors and outdoors at restaurants and bars.
Personal care services and non-essential businesses can open. As many as 3,500 people can gather in a large theatre or arena and at outdoor festivals.
What can I do?
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don’t live with, even with a mask on.
Vaccines curb the spread of all types of the coronavirus.
There’s federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.
The federal government has announced fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living there would be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine starting Aug. 9, while tourists from all other countries would be allowed as of Sept. 7.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
Canada’s task force says people can wait up to 16 weeks between doses. There are factors pushing provinces to drastically speed up that timeline, including supply and the more infectious delta variant.
That same task force says it’s safe and effective to mix first and second doses.
There is evidence giving a second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine offers better protection for people who got a first AstraZeneca-Oxford shot. Both Ontario and Quebec are giving people who got a first AstraZeneca dose the option to get a second of the same kind.
More than 2.8 million doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including more than 1.36 million in Ottawa and more than 450,000 in western Quebec.
Ontario is vaccinating anyone age 12 or older.
People can look for provincial appointments opening up online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems, as do some family doctors.
Local health units have flexibility in the larger framework, including around booking, so check their websites for details. They offer standby lists for doses on short notice and recently, more walk-in options.
Check out this weeks <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19Vaccine</a> walk-in clinic schedule. These walk-in clinics are available to RCD residents 12 years of age and older! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/IGotTheShot?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#IGotTheShot</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VaccinesWork?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VaccinesWork</a><br><br>You can find this schedule by visiting our <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19Vaccine</a> Rollout Webpage here: <a href=”https://t.co/OhXjNC74WM”>https://t.co/OhXjNC74WM</a> <a href=”https://t.co/9G4mUIHqbT”>pic.twitter.com/9G4mUIHqbT</a>
Vaccine bookings depend on the supply being sent to health units, which generally aren’t reporting the supply problems of previous months.
People may have to show proof of being fully vaccinated to access certain services if there is an autumn surge of cases.
Symptoms and testing
COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Recently, a runny nose and headache have become more common.
Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.
Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.
Staff, caregivers and visitors who have been fully-immunized and show no symptoms of the coronavirus no longer need to be tested before entering a long-term care facility.
Travellers who need a test have a few more local options to pay for one.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.
Akwesasne has COVID-19 vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341. Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.
Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.
The last day for Ottawa’s Indigenous vaccination clinic is July 29.
For more information
Jordan to open COVID vaccinations for 12-year-olds – Medical Xpress
Jordan’s health ministry announced Saturday that COVID-19 vaccines will now be available for children aged 12 and above.
The ministry “has decided to lower the COVID-19 vaccination age to 12 years, starting from Sunday July 25” and without requiring an appointment, the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page on Saturday.
“Vaccination will be optional, and those under 18 will be able to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with the consent of their guardian,” the statement added.
Jordan, a country of 10 million people, has officially recorded more than 763,900 coronavirus cases, including over 9,900 deaths, since the start of its outbreak.
Some 1.9 million people have been fully inoculated against COVID-19, while 2.7 million have received an initial vaccine dose.
The United States, Canada and the European Union have already authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12-year-olds.
Amman said last month it had concluded several agreements to obtain a total of around 12 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, and planned to order five million additional jabs.
The country last weekend received half a million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses from Washington.
Authorities are pushing the population to take up the vaccines, and have adopted restrictive or punitive measures targeting those who fail to do so.
The measures include requiring unvaccinated or partially vaccinated public sector employees to present a negative COVID-19 test twice a week, and prohibiting the issuance or renewal of work and residency permits for those who are not fully vaccinated.
© 2021 AFP
Jordan to open COVID vaccinations for 12-year-olds (2021, July 25)
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Vaccines are a ‘personal decision,’ church founder says after congregant refuses shot, dies of COVID – Times News Express
LOS ANGELES — The founder of the multinational Hillsong Church told CNN that COVID-19 vaccines are a “personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals” after a congregant who publicly refused inoculation died of complications from the disease.
Hillsong Church global senior pastor Brian Houston had announced the death of Stephen Harmon, who attended Hillsong in Los Angeles, on social media this week.
Harmon had said on social media that he would not receive the vaccine, even when he was fighting COVID-19 in a hospital this month.
“Stephen was just a young man in his early 30s,” Houston wrote, announcing Harmon’s death on social media. “He was one of the most generous people I know and he had so much in front of him.”
Houston expanded on his social media posts in a statement to CNN, saying that “any loss of life is a moment to mourn and offer support to those who are suffering and so our heartfelt prayers are with his family and those who loved him.”
“On any medical issue, we strongly encourage those in our church to follow the guidance of their doctors,” Houston said, emphasizing that the church’s focus was on spiritual well-being.
“While many of our staff, leadership and congregation have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, we recognize this is a personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals,” Houston’s statement reads.
Hillsong Church, founded in Australia, has congregations around the world. Harmon attended Hillsong in downtown L.A.
CNN sought comment from the Harmon family but did not receive a response.
Prior to him saying he was infected with COVID-19, Harmon made two posts on Twitter on June 3 in which he parodied Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” lyrics — saying he had 99 problems but “a vax” wasn’t one.
Just over a month later, Harmon had pneumonia as a result of COVID-19 infection and was sitting in a hospital bed in a COVID ward, according to his Instagram posts.
He had been hospitalized with COVID-19 complications since at least June 30, according to his social media posts. Throughout his hospitalizations, social media posts show that Harmon kept in frequent contact with Houston.
Even while in a hospital, Harmon was adamant that he would not receive the vaccine, posting he wasn’t “anti-vax” but was “pro information.”
“i’m not against it, i’m just not in a rush to get it,” he wrote in a July 8 Instagram post. “Ironically, as I continue to lay here … in my COVID ward isolation room fighting off the virus and pneumonia.”
He added he wouldn’t get a vaccine even after recovery.
“Biden’s door to door vaccine ‘surveyors’ really should be called JaCOVID Witnesses. #keepmovingdork,” Harmon wrote the same day on Twitter.
On Friday, after his death was announced, Harmon’s Instagram account was made private.
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