As Waterloo Region moves into Phase Two of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan, the Ministry of Health has released more details on who’s eligible for a vaccination under that phase.
People in Waterloo Region between the ages of 70 and 79 can now pre-register for a vaccine appointment.
As many as 9 million people in the province are eligible to get a shot in Phase Two, which is expected to come into full effect in April.
The province says the primary priority populations that will be offered the vaccine first are:
- Adults aged 60-79, starting with those 75-79 and decreasing in five year increments
- Individuals with health conditions, starting with highest risk and high-risk health conditions
- Residents, essential caregivers and staff of high-risk congregate settings
- Adults age 50 and older in COVID-19 hot spot communities, starting with older individuals and increasing in age
The highest risk health conditions are defined as:
- Organ transplant recipients
- Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
- Neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neurone disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
- Haematological malignancy diagnosed <1 year
- Kidney disease eGFR <30
- High-risk health conditions are:
- Obesity (BMI >40)
- Other treatments causing immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, immunity-weakening medications)
- Intellectual or developmental disabilities (e.g., Down Syndrome)
After those in the first priority groups are offered a first dose of the vaccine, clinics can then move on to vaccinate the secondary priority groups which are:
- Remaining individuals with at-risk health conditions
- Essential workers who cannot work from home
- At-risk health conditions include
- Immune deficiencies/autoimmune disorders
- Stroke/cerebrovascular disease
- Liver disease
- All other cancers
- Respiratory diseases
- Spleen problems (e.g., asplenia)
- Heart disease
- Hypertension with end organ damage
- Diagnosis of mental disorder
- Substance use disorders
- Sickle cell disease
- Immunocompromising health conditions
- Other disabilities requiring direct support care in the community
The list of essential workers who cannot work from home is further divided into two priority groups.
The first essential workers who will be offered the vaccine first are:
- Elementary and secondary school workers (including educators, custodial, school bus drivers, administrative staff)
- Workers responding to critical events (including police, fire, special constables, children’s aid society workers, emergency management, critical infrastructure restoration workers)
- Enforcement, inspection and compliance roles (including by-law enforcement, building inspectors, food inspectors, animal welfare inspectors, border inspection officers, labour inspectors/WSIB field workers)
- Individuals working in child care (including all licensees and employees who interact directly with children at licensed child care centres and authorized recreation and skill building programs, licensed home child care and in-home service providers, employees of a home child care agency and students on educational placements in child care)
- Foster care agency workers (including customary care providers)
- Food manufacturing and distribution workers
- Agriculture and farm workers
- Funeral, crematorium and cemetery workers
The second group of essential workers who cannot work from home that will receive the vaccine are:
- Essential and critical retail workers (including grocery, food bank and non-clinical pharmacy workers, ServiceOntario workers, ServiceCanada and Passport Canada workers, wholesalers and general goods, restaurant workers, LCBO)
- Workers in manufacturing industries directly involved in supporting the COVID-19 response, construction including infrastructure and other essential businesses and services where facilities are at heightened risk for COVID-19 outbreaks and spread
- Social workers and other social services staff providing in-person client services (including youth justice workers, OW and ODSP case workers)
- Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole workers)
- Transportation, warehousing and distribution workers (including public transit workers, truck drivers supporting essential services, marine and rail cargo and maintenance, highway maintenance)
- Electricity (including workers employed in system operations, generation, transmission, distribution and storage)
- Communications infrastructure workers (including cellular, satellite, landline, internet, public safety radio)
- Water and wastewater management workers
- Financial services workers (bank branch staff)
- Veterinarians and veterinary teams
- Waste management workers
- Oil and petroleum workers (including those working in petroleum refineries; those involved in the storage, transmission and distribution of crude oil and petroleum products and those needed for the retail sale of fuel)
- Natural gas and propane gas workers (including those working in the compression, storage, transmission and distribution of natural gas and propane)
- Mine workers (including those needed to ensure the continued operation of active mines)
- Uranium processing workers (those working in the refining and conversion of uranium, and fabrication of fuel for nuclear power plants)
Workers who are attending vaccine clinics in the community will be asked to make an in-person attestation that they are an essential workers who cannot work from home, which could include signing a form.
They may also need to provide a workplace ID or badge, pay stub, professional identification number, statement of professional insurance or letter of employment.
The province’s document also provides guidance to clinics on what should be done with remaining doses at the end of the day, to ensure vaccine is not wasted.
Vaccine clinics are told to have a list of standby alternate recipients that may be called at short notice to get a shot.
The people on that list should be within the same or next priority level as those currently being vaccinated, such as people who have scheduled appointments later in the week or who are next in line for an appointment.
The Ottawa area's weekly COVID-19 vaccination checkup: Oct. 21 – CBC.ca
- Updates to Ontario and Quebec’s proof-of-vaccination systems.
- More details on the reopening of the U.S. land border.
- Another step toward approval of a vaccine for children age five to 11.
- Ottawa hits some major vaccination milestones.
Every Thursday, CBC Ottawa brings you this roundup of COVID-19 vaccination developments throughout the region. You can find more information through links at the bottom of the page.
There have been more than 3.5 million doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region, which has about 2.3 million residents.
That’s about 25,000 doses in the last week, slightly fewer than the previous weekly count.
Ontario’s proof-of-vaccination QR codes can be used starting Friday. People can still give paper or PDF proof, but the QR codes and provincial app used to check them are meant to be more efficient.
Quebec has a new vaccination record specifically designed for use out of the province.
Proof of vaccination is now required for visitors to many health-care facilities in Quebec. While its unvaccinated health-care workers aren’t yet suspended without pay, they are losing their pandemic bonuses.
Ninety per cent of eligible Quebec residents have had at least one dose and 86 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Eighty-eight per cent of Ontario residents age 12 and up have at least one vaccine dose, while about 83 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Quebec is allowing bars and restaurants to reach full capacity under its vaccine passport and halving the two-metre distance rule as of Nov. 1.
WATCH | The upcoming U.S. border rules:
After submitting its trial data, Pfizer has officially asked Health Canada to approve its vaccine for children age five to 11.
Ontario’s health minister says the province will be ready to go when the first such vaccine is available.
WATCH | What expanded eligibility may look like:
The capital still has regular and pop-up clinics for anyone eligible to get a first, second or third dose, has neighbourhood vaccine hubs, and is bringing mobile vaccine clinics to those who request it.
There are pop-ups Friday afternoon at the Banff-Ledbury Pavilion and Saturday at Communauté Catholique Congolaise Bondeko d’Ottawa-Gatineau in Vanier.
More than 1.6 million doses have now been given to Ottawa residents.
Of the city’s total population of just over one million, 78 per cent of residents have had at least one dose, including 90 per cent of residents born in 2009 or earlier.
Seventy-five per cent of the total population is fully vaccinated, as are 86 per cent of eligible residents.
An infectious disease specialist said this high level of vaccination will begin to reflect in a declining number of new cases — even among people who don’t have the vaccine.
CISSSO continues to list recurring, mobile and pop-up clinics online.
The Outaouais has distributed more than 596,000 doses — combined first, second and third — among a population of about 386,000.
All in a Day8:57How to talk about COVID-19 breakthrough cases
Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington
It’s managing smaller clinics and mobile clinics to better reach areas with lower vaccination rates, with options shared regularly online and on its social feeds.
A mobile clinic is coming to the Addington Highlands Community Centre in Denbigh Thursday afternoon.
The region, with a population of about 213,000, has had more than 328,000 vaccine doses — combined first, second and third — given to residents.
The health unit has now given a first dose to about 89 per cent of its population 12 and older, and about 85 per cent of eligible people have been fully vaccinated.
WATCH | What it means when a health unit is around 90% vaccinated:
Eastern Ontario Health Unit
About 324,000 vaccine doses have been administered among a population of about 209,000. About 90 per cent of residents 12 and older are partially vaccinated, and about 86 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Details for its regular and pop-up vaccine clinics are regularly shared on its website and social media. There are clinics Thursday at Cornwall’s Benson Centre and Friday at Rockland’s Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena.
Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.
The health unit has given nearly 296,000 doses to residents, seeing 97 per cent of its eligible population with at least one dose and about 94 per cent of those residents have at least two doses.
It’s making sure people saw the updated guidance they don’t have to space out flu and COVID-19 shots.
WATCH | Hospital workers in Ottawa area mostly vaccinated against COVID-19:
Hastings Prince Edward
There are regular clinics in Bancroft, Belleville and Picton. It lists community clinics on its website.
About 256,000 doses have been administered to this area’s residents. Another 5,200 or so doses have been given at CFB Trenton.
Eighty-nine per cent of the local population 12 and older has now had a first dose. Eighty-two per cent are fully vaccinated.
When ready, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte say their clinic for kids age five to 11 will operate out of the Mohawk Community Centre.
The health unit regularly shares pop-up and walk-in clinic information online. There are clinics in Arnprior and Deep River Thursday.
With a population of about 109,000, Renfrew County has distributed about 154,000 doses as of its last update Oct. 12.
About 87 per cent of its eligible population, including military at Garrison Petawawa, have at least a first dose and about 83 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Flu shots now available to all Albertans – St. Albert Today
St. Albert and Sturgeon residents can now get a flu shot and a COVID-19 shot at the same time to protect their health this fall.
Oct. 18 was the official start of the annual influenza vaccination campaign in Alberta. Anyone older than six months can now get vaccinated against the flu for free by making an appointment at most pharmacies or a COVID-19 vaccination centre. (Alberta Health Services has suspended its usual walk-in flu clinics due to the pandemic.)
Jill Bocking, a pharmacist at St. Albert’s Midtown Apothecary, said seniors and high-risk individuals got early access to the shot earlier this month.
“We’ve gotten a lot of seniors,” she said, many of whom got their COVID-19 booster shots at the same time, and considerable public interest from others as to when the flu shot would be available.
Recent research has confirmed it is safe for people to get immunized against COVID and influenza at the same time, said Lynora Saxinger, co-chair of Alberta Health Services’ COVID-19 science advisory group.
“There’s no real concern with immune system confusion, as your immune system deals with a heck of a lot more stuff than [two vaccines at once] in any given day,” she said.
Saxinger said the only side effect residents might get from getting both shots at once is having two sore arms instead of one (as the needles go into different arms).
Bocking said pharmacists will offer flu shots to anyone who comes in for a COVID shot and vice-versa (provided the timing is right for a COVID shot).
This year’s flu shot will protect against the four flu strains predicted to be most common this year, Bocking said. Unlike last year, all seniors, not just those in care facilities, will get an extra-strength flu shot for maximum protection.
Bocking said residents can make appointments to get their shots at most pharmacies.
Tough season ahead?
Much of the world effectively skipped flu season last year due in large part to anti-COVID-19 measures such as mask wearing and physical distancing. Alberta had zero lab-confirmed influenza cases last flu season — a sharp drop from the 8,470 it had the season before.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Deena Hinshaw said the province had three lab-confirmed influenza cases as of Oct. 14 at a time when the province’s intensive-care units are packed with COVID patients.
“Influenza remains a serious and deadly virus,” Hinshaw said, and she urged all residents to get vaccinated against it.
How bad this year’s flu season would be was an open question, Saxinger said. Experts usually base their predictions on Australia and New Zealand, but those nations had atypical flu seasons this year due to extensive COVID-19 lockdown measures.
“We’re definitely seeing a lot more other cold viruses going around,” she said, but anti-COVID measures and competition from COVID itself could keep influenza in check.
“I think there’s a reasonable possibility we could have a real flu season again,” she said, which would be a problem, as the flu tends to put lots of people in hospital (1,534 in 2019-2020 province-wide, AHS reports).
Vaccination protects both yourself and the kids, grandparents, and immunocompromised around you, Bocking said. It also lessens a person’s chance of being hospitalized due to the flu.
“With the hospitals so full of people with COVID, if you were to need hospitalization with influenza, they might not be able to help you,” she noted.
Visit albertahealthservices.ca/influenza to book a flu shot appointment.
Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. fall to nine-week low – The Tri-City News
B.C. continues to face sufficient serious COVID-19 infections to worry health officials, but new data shows some good news: the number of known active infections in the province has fallen to a near-10-week low.
There are 4,888 people known to be infected with COVID-19 in B.C., with the vast majority being told to self-isolate at home. The last time there were fewer known active cases was on August 13, when 4,277 people were known to be infected, and the fourth wave of the pandemic was surging.
Of those fighting infections, 370 are in hospitals, with 139 in intensive care units (ICUs).
Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said yesterday that there are around 200 people in hospitals who are not included in that count, but are dealing with lingering health problems as a result of COVID-19.
The province’s general rule for counting COVID-19 hospital patients is to limit the official number to those who are infectious, with that meaning those who have not yet gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms. Henry said this is not a hard and fast rule, and that some people could be included in that count up to 30 days after first feeling symptoms depending on the severity of their illness.
Another six people died from COVID-19 overnight, raising the province’s death toll from the disease to 2,092, and underscoring the seriousness of getting infected.
Health officials detected another 696 infections overnight, raising the number of those in B.C. known to have contracted the disease to 199,534.
Of those, more than 96.3%, or 192,189 people, are deemed by the province to have recovered because they have gone more than 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore considered to be not infectious.
Vaccinations in the general population have slowed as the vast majority of people are already vaccinated.
Health officials administered initial vaccine doses to 2,787 people in the past day, as well as second doses of vaccine to 5,870 people.
Across B.C., 89.3% of eligible adults older than 12 have had at least one dose of vaccine, with 83.6% of eligible people having had two doses, according to the B.C. government.
Of the 4,138,787 B.C. residents who have received one dose of vaccine since mid-December, 2020, 93.6%, or 3,876,579, are fully vaccinated, with two doses. Health Minister Adrian Dix said October 19 that about 60,000 residents, who are either immunocompromised or who live in seniors’ living facilities, have received three doses of vaccine.
The B.C. government estimated in July that the province’s total population is 5,147,712, so Glacier Media’s calculation is that 80.4% of B.C.’s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 75.3% of the province’s total population has had two doses.
“We do track vaccine effectiveness, [and] hospitalization, as a measure of severe illness by what combination of vaccines people received,” Henry said October 19.
“What it does show us across the board, is that every combination is very effective at preventing severe illness. The AstraZeneca-AstraZeneca [combination] is slightly less than every other combination in terms of preventing infection, but if you go to AstraZeneca, and then in an mRNA vaccine, that protection goes back up again.”
The small slice of the population that is not vaccinated is responsible for the lion’s share of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Only 20 of the 139 people in ICUs are fully vaccinated, according to Dix.
When adjusted for age, in the week up to October 18, there were 294.3 people newly infected for each 100,000 unvaccinated British Columbians. In that same time period, there were only 86.9 people newly infected for each 100,000 partially vaccinated British Columbians, and only 32.1 people newly infected for each 100,000 fully vaccinated British Columbians.
One new health-care facility outbreak has been detected at Swedish Assisted-Living Residence in Burnaby, raising the number of such outbreaks in the province to 24. •
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