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COVID vaccine found highly effective in real-world US study – North Shore News

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NEW YORK — The U.S government’s first look at the real-world use of COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies.

The two vaccines available since December — Pfizer and Moderna — were 90% effective after two doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. In testing, the vaccines were about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.

“This is very reassuring news,” said the CDC’s Mark Thompson, the study’s lead author. “We have a vaccine that’s working very well.”

The study is the government’s first assessment of how the shots have been working beyond the drugmakers’ initial experiments. Results can sometimes change when vaccines are used in larger, more diverse populations outside studies.

With nearly 4,000 participants from six states, the study focused on health care workers, first responders and other front-line workers who had first priority for the shots. They were given nasal swab test kits to use every week to check for signs of infection.

“The evidence base for (currently available) COVID-19 vaccines is already strong, and continues to mount ever higher with studies like this one,” said David Holtgrave, dean of the University at Albany’s School of Public Health, in an email.

The study included roughly 2,500 volunteers who got two vaccine doses, about 500 who got one dose and about 1,000 who did not get vaccinated.

The researchers counted 205 infections, with 161 of them in the unvaccinated group. Of the remaining 44, the CDC said 33 of them were in people apparently infected with two weeks of their last shot, the point at which they are considered fully vaccinated.

No one died, and only two were hospitalized. Thompson did not say whether the people hospitalized were vaccinated or not.

“These findings should offer hope to the millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines each day and to those who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in the weeks ahead,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a statement. “The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.

Different researchers have tried to look at how the vaccines have performed including work done in Israel and the United Kingdom, and a U.S. study of Mayo Clinic patients.

Unlike the Mayo study, which focused on hospitalization and death, the CDC study looked for any infection — including infections that never resulted in symptoms, or were identified before people started feeling sick.

About two-thirds of the participants who were vaccinated got Pfizer shots, one-third got Moderna and five got the newest shot from Johnson & Johnson. The study was done in Miami; Duluth, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Temple, Texas; Salt Lake City; and Phoenix and other areas in Arizona. .

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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.

Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

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Trudeau mobilizes federal workers to battle COVID-19 in Toronto and rest of Ontario

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday he would send federal healthcare workers to help Toronto and the province of Ontario battle a third wave of COVID-19 infections that has forced shutdowns of schools and businesses.

“We are mobilizing federal healthcare workers from across government departments to deploy on the front lines in Ontario and specifically the Greater Toronto area where the situation is most critical,” Trudeau said in a video posted on Twitter.

Other provinces, especially on the Atlantic coast, are working “to determine what human resources and equipment they could free up over the coming days,” Trudeau said, adding that the federal government would cover the costs of that help.

The government will also seek to boost rapid testing, especially for essential workers, Trudeau said.

The government of Ontario, Canada‘s most-populous province and industrial powerhouse, has moved schools online and announced more stringent public health measures on Friday, including shutting the provincial borders to non-essential travel.

On Saturday, federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair deployed two mobile health units to set up more hospital beds in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, and the prime minister said he stood ready to send the Red Cross to staff mobile vaccination clinics in Ontario if help is requested.

Canada‘s seven-day average of new infections was 8,669, the chief medical officer said on Sunday, a 26% increase compared with the previous seven days. Ontario reported 4,250 new cases on Sunday.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

More than 48 million doses are to be delivered by the end of June, which is enough for all of Canada‘s population of some 38 million to receive at least one shot, with a total of 100 million doses expected by the end of September.

 

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Canada has second case of rare blood clots after AstraZeneca vaccin

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(Reuters) – Canada on Saturday reported a second case of rare blood clots with low platelets after immunization with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in a week, while it said it still recommended the use of the shot.

The person who experienced the very rare event has been treated and is recovering, Canada‘s health ministry said in a statement, adding that the person lives in the province of Alberta.

Based on the evidence available, Canada still maintains that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the potential risks, the statement said.

Canada health authorities “will continue to monitor the use of all COVID-19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns,” the statement said.

Canada reported a first blood clotting associated with the vaccine on Tuesday, and a day later, after a review, health authorities said they would not restrict use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A separate advisory council had earlier recommended Canada stop offering the vaccine to people under 55. That panel is in the process of reviewing its advice.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign, but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

Amid a spiking third wave of infections, Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, announced new public health restrictions on Friday, including closing the provinces borders to domestic travelers.

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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COVID cases in Ontario could spike to 30,000 per day by June

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TORONTO (Reuters) – New cases of COVID-19 in Canada‘s most populous province could rise more than six fold, topping 30,000 per day by early June if public health measures are weak and vaccination rates remain flat, a panel of experts advising the province of Ontario said on Friday.

Even if measures to control the virus are “moderate,” the number of patients in Ontario ICUs could reach 2,000 in May, up from 695 on Friday.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors last week they may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive intensive care.

 

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Chris Reese)

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