Public health officials have encouraged Americans to get vaccinated to protect themselves against the highly transmissible Delta variant now surging in the U.S.—but a new Harris poll finds the variant and misplaced concerns over Covid-19 vaccines’ efficacy against it have made a majority of unvaccinated Americans instead question whether they should get the shot.
The Harris poll, conducted July 9-11 among 2,003 U.S. adults, found 62% of unvaccinated respondents believe “the Delta variant makes me second guess whether I should even get vaccinated.”
Those fears appear to be driven by concerns over how well Covid-19 vaccines protect against the variant—even though all three approved vaccines are broadly effective against the Delta strain—and 51% of vaccinated respondents said the variant makes them question the efficacy of their vaccine.
A majority of total respondents (65%) believe vaccination rates will slow down in light of a recent Israeli study, which suggested the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has a much lower degree of protection against infection and symptomatic illness than other studies had.
The poll found unvaccinated Americans are less worried about the variant overall than their vaccinated peers: 53% of unvaccinated respondents said people are “overreacting” about the variant as compared with 40% of those who have received the shot.
Unvaccinated Americans were also more likely to say the Delta variant is no more dangerous than other strains of the coronavirus, with 53% believing that as compared with 42% of vaccinated respondents.
The variant has not made most vaccinated Americans regret their decision to get the shot, with only 33% of vaccinated respondents saying the Delta variant “makes me second guess getting vaccinated in the first place.”
Studies indicate the Delta variant is at least moderately resistant to all Covid-19 vaccines in use across the U.S., with a significant drop in protection for those who have had only received one shot. For fully vaccinated people this drop is more modest, though still notable, and there is not yet scientific consensus on an exact figure. Data from Israel’s health ministry noted a particularly dramatic drop in the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which the country has used widely. It found the shot to be just 64% effective at preventing infection and symptomatic illness caused by Delta, down from previous estimates of nearly 90%. The study did not, however, take the steps needed to rule out other explanations for higher case rates among vaccinated people and cannot be taken as conclusive. Though protection against mild illness and infection from Delta may be reduced, the vaccines are still highly effective at their primary task: preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death from Covid-19.
55.7%. That’s the percentage of the total U.S. population that’s received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as of Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The country fell short of President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% of adults receiving at least a first dose by July 4 (67.8% have now been inoculated), and there are still 18 states where less than 50% of residents are even partially vaccinated.
What To Watch For
Over the course of around two months, the Delta variant has gone from causing practically no U.S. cases to being the country’s dominant virus strain, accounting for nearly 90% of cases in some areas. It is more infectious than the previous dominant strain—between 40-60%—though it is not yet clear whether it is capable of causing more serious illness. Covid-19 cases in the U.S. are now on the rise after declining in light of rising vaccinations, and public health officials have warned unvaccinated Americans and areas with lower vaccination rates are at particular risk of the variant’s spread. More states and localities are starting to reimpose restrictions or recommend people take increased caution as the variant gains steam, and the World Health Organization has encouraged even fully vaccinated people to wear masks and social distance. The CDC has maintained it will not change its mask guidance in light of the Delta variant, however, believing fully vaccinated people are still protected against Covid-19 and do not need to wear a mask indoors.
Declining vaccine efficacy and a highly contagious variant has prompted countries around the world to consider ways of elevating waning immunity against the coronavirus. Some, including Vietnam and Thailand, are mixing shots made with different technologies in the hopes of provoking a stronger immune response. Others, such as Israel, are administering a third vaccine shot to immunocompromised individuals as a booster. Though manufacturers are working on booster shots for fully vaccinated people in general—going so far as to publicly urge U.S. regulators to authorize them—senior public health officials say there is no data to support their use at the moment.
Canada and Zimbabwe: Two Very Different Vaccination Campaigns – The Saxon
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – When Amanda Wood, a mother of three, learned that hundreds of coronavirus vaccines were available to teens in Toronto, one thing stopped her from rushing to the vaccination site at a local high school: her 13-year-old daughter is afraid of injections. Wood then told Lola: if you get vaccinated, you can see your friends again, you can play sports. Tempted by the promise of regaining a normal teenage life, Lola accepted.
In Zimbabwe, a world away from Canada – more than 13,000 kilometers (8,000 miles) – the challenges go much further in the fight to achieve herd immunity.
Andrew Ngwenya was recently sitting outside his home in a working-class township in Harare, the capital, reflecting on how he and his family could be saved from COVID-19. Ngwenya and his wife, De-egma, had gone to a hospital that sometimes had doses to spare. Hours later, fewer than 30 people had been inoculated. The Ngwenya, parents of four children, returned home, desperate to get vaccinated.
“We are willing to receive it, but we cannot have access to it,” said the father of the family. “We need it, where can we get it?”
The stories of the Wood and Ngwenya families reflect a totally inequitable world, divided between those who have vaccines and those who do not, between those who can imagine a world beyond the pandemic and those who can only anticipate months and perhaps years of disease and death.
In one country, initial stumbling blocks in the fight against COVID-19 were overcome thanks to money and a strong public health infrastructure. In the other, poor planning, lack of resources, and the failure of a global mechanism intended to share the few doses available have led to a desperate shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as oxygen tanks and protective equipment.
With 70% of its adult population on at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and now continues to immunize minors, who have much less risk of having complications and dying from the coronavirus.
In contrast, in Zimbabwe, only 9% of the population have received a dose of vaccines as the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus advances, which was first detected in India. Several million people vulnerable to COVID-19, including older adults and those with underlying medical problems, face problems being immunized as public officials implement more restrictive measures.
Ngwenya said the crowd of people trying to get vaccinated is daunting. “The line is about 5 kilometers (3 miles). Even if you are interested in getting vaccinated, you cannot bear that. Once you see the line, you don’t try again, ”he said.
In Canada, vaccines were not always abundant. Without a national production of the COVID-19 vaccine, the country started slow, with a vaccination rate lagging behind those of Hungary, Greece and Chile. Canada was also the only G7 country to secure vaccines in the first round of COVAX deliveries, the UN-backed effort to distribute doses primarily to poor countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada’s intention was always to secure vaccines through COVAX, after investing more than $ 400 million in the project. The Gavi vaccine alliance said COVAX also intended to provide rich countries with an “insurance policy” in case they did not have enough doses.
The most recent shipment of COVAX to Canada – roughly 655,000 vaccines from AstraZeneca – arrived in May, shortly after some 60 countries were sidelined when supplies from the initiative were cut to a minimum. Bangladesh, for example, had been waiting for a COVAX delivery of approximately 130,000 vaccines for its Rohingya refugee population; the doses never arrived after the Indian supplier stopped exporting them.
Canada’s decision to secure vaccines through the UN-backed effort was “morally reprehensible,” said Dr. Prahbat Jha, president of global health and epidemiology at the University of Toronto. He said Canada’s first response to COVID-19 miscalculated the need for control measures, including aggressive contact tracing and border restrictions.
“If it weren’t for Canada’s purchasing power to procure vaccines, we would be in bad shape right now,” he said.
Weeks after COVAX vaccines arrived, more than 33,000 doses were still in warehouses in Ottawa after health officials advised Canadians to better opt for Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, of which they bought hundreds of millions. dose.
The Wood children received the Pfizer vaccine. When Canada began immunizing children 12 and older, Wood – who works with children in the entertainment industry – and her architect husband did not hesitate.
Wood said his sons, who are avid athletes, hadn’t been able to play much hockey, soccer or rugby during lockdowns. Lola missed baking lemon bread and chocolate chip cookies with her grandmother, who lives just three blocks away.
“We felt we had to do our part to keep everyone safe, to keep older adults safe and for the economy to resume and children to go back to school,” he said.
In Zimbabwe, there is no expectation of a return to normalcy soon and the situation is likely to get worse first. Ngwenya is concerned about the government’s threats to ban public services to unvaccinated people, including transportation.
Although Zimbabwe was assigned nearly a million COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX, none have been delivered. Their combination of purchased and donated doses – 4.2 million – consists of Chinese, Russian and Indian vaccines.
Official figures show that 4% of the 15 million inhabitants of the country are currently fully vaccinated.
And yet the numbers make Zimbabwe a relative success story in Africa, where less than 2% of the continent’s 1.3 billion people are now fully immunized, according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, the virus spreads to rural areas, where the majority live and health facilities are poor.
Ngwenya, a part-time pastor at a Pentecostal church, said he and his parishioners turn to faith to fight the coronavirus, but admitted that many people would prefer to get vaccinated first and then pray.
“All men are afraid of death,” he said. “People die and we see people die. This is real”.
Cheng reported from London. Lori Hinnant, a journalist for The Associated Press in Paris, contributed to this report.
Andrew Ngwenya, center, his wife De-egma, left, and their daughter in a working-class township in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, on Monday, July 12, 2021. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Amanda and David Wood stand with their daughters, twins Ruby and Lola, and their son Ethan sitting on the porch of their home in Toronto, Canada, on Monday, July 12, 2021. (AP Photo / Kamran Jebreili)
FILE – In this Thursday, March 4, 2021 file photo, women washing clothes with signs urging the use of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 outside Harare, Zimbabwe. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)
People walk past a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in downtown Toronto, Canada, Sunday, July 18, 2021. (AP Photo / Kamran Jebreili)
COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Waterloo Region may begin closing soon – Global News
With COVID-19 vaccination rates slowly declining locally, the head of Waterloo Region’s vaccination task force says it may be soon to follow other Ontario municipalities in closing mass vaccinations sites.
Mass sites have closed in the Ottawa area and in Grey Bruce and will be closing soon in Mississauga and Kingston.
“As always, we’re assessing the clinics,” Waterloo Regional Police Deputy Chief Shirley Hilton explained.
“We’re assessing the capacity at the clinics and then the uptake on appointments and then people now with the ability to walk in for a second doses.”
She says they just allowed all clinics to accept walk-ins for first- and second- dose appointments which is something which needs to be accounted for.
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“So we will have to now, because we’ve just opened up second dose walk-in appointments, look at what is that uptake in people walking in and dropping in for their vaccine,” Hilton said.
Over the past week, just under 36,000 vaccinations in the area whereas there were around 64,000 done in the region a week earlier.
“I think as next week rolls around, we will have a better idea of what is happening within our clinics and then start making some strategic decisions around when and we will be closing some of those areas,” Hilton said.
She noted closing the clinics will allow for other options which may reach people who have yet to be vaccinated.
“During our assessment and reassessment, we will be looking at scaling back our clinics and then re-energizing some of our mobile availability and opportunities within the community as well,” the officer explained.
Hilton encouraged people who have second dose appointments coming in the fall to move them up to an earlier date.
“As long as there has been 28 days since the first dose of your Moderna or Pfizer vaccine,” she noted
“Let’s maximize clinic capacity over the summer so that we can achieve the highest vaccination possible.”
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
COVID-19: Middlesex-London Health Unit adds 10 cases Friday – Global News
The Middlesex-London Health Unit added another 10 COVID-19 cases to end the week, though the total case count increased by nine, likely due to data cleanup. Six recoveries were also added to the tally.
As of Friday, the total case count is 12,729 with 54 active cases, 12,446 recoveries and 229 deaths locally.
The most recent death involved a partially vaccinated woman in her 80s reported July 15.
The total number of cases involving a variant of concern sits at 3,563, unchanged from Thursday.
The breakdown of known variant cases is as follows:
- 3,379 cases of the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), first identified in the U.K.
- 105 cases of the Gamma (P.1) variant, first identified in Brazil
- 73 cases of the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, first identified in India
- two cases of the Beta (B.1.351) variant, first identified in South Africa
- one case of the Kappa (B.1.617.1) variant, first identified in India
- one case of the Zeta (P.2) variant, first identified in Brazil
There is also one case listed only as B.1.617 and one case listed as B.1.617.3.
A total of 11,510 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in London since the pandemic began, while 373 have been in Middlesex Centre and 334 in Strathroy-Caradoc.
Further information can be found on the health unit’s Summary of COVID-19 Cases in Middlesex-London page.
The London Health Sciences Centre says it is caring for five or fewer inpatients with COVID-19, with five or fewer of those patients in the intensive care unit, as of Thursday.
In an effort to protect the privacy of patients, LHSC only provides specific numbers when there are more than five.
LHSC is not reporting any patients from outside of the region.
There are currently zero LHSC employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.
At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, the organization is reporting no cases involving patients, residents or health-care workers.
The MLHU is not reporting any institutional outbreaks.
On Thursday, the health unit said an outbreak tied to indoor gatherings at Christ Embassy Church at 1472 Dundas St., in London that involved six cases was now “under control.”
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Vaccinations and testing
The MLHU provided updated vaccination data on Tuesday, showing that as of the end of day July 17, 79.0 per cent of residents aged 12 and older have had at least one dose, while 56.6 per cent are fully vaccinated.
The health unit is also now accepting walk-ins for first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine at its mass vaccination clinics from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Hours and days of operation at many of the mass clinics will reduce starting next month. Full details can be found on our website.
Information on how to book and cancel appointments can be found on the health unit’s website.
Information on local pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccines can be found on the province’s website.
Several pop-up walk-in clinics are scheduled throughout the region. A full list can be found on the health unit’s website.
Anyone looking to be tested for COVID-19 can find information about locations of testing sites on the health unit’s website.
The test positivity rate in the region was 1.1 per cent for the week of July 11, up from 1.0 per cent for the week of July 4.
Ontario reported 192 COVID-19 cases Friday and one new death, for a total of 548,986 cases with 9,308 deaths.
According to Friday’s report, 43 cases were recorded in Toronto, 25 in Peel Region, 18 York Region and Waterloo and 11 in Hamilton and Durham Region.
Ontario reports 192 COVID-19 cases, 1 death
All other local public health units reported 10 or fewer new cases in the provincial report.
The province says 66.0 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated while 80.5 per cent have had at least one dose.
Elgin and Oxford
Southwestern Public Health reported no new COVID-19 cases on Friday.
The total case count stands at 3,932 with 17 active cases, 3,831 recoveries and 84 deaths.
Of the 17 active cases, nine are in Woodstock and four are in St. Thomas. Per-municipality case counts can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.
One person is currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to SWPH, but is not in the ICU.
The number of variant of concern cases is unchanged at 863, with 762 of those listed as the Alpha variant, 51 the Beta variant and 50 the Delta variant.
There are no active institutional outbreaks reported in the region.
The region’s test positivity rate was 1.1 per cent for the week of July 11, down slightly from 1.2 per cent for the week of July 4.
As of July 22, SWPH says 77.8 per cent of its residents aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 57.6 per cent have had two doses.
As of July 19, walk-in appointments are available at all of SWPH’s mass vaccination clinics.
Appointments can be booked or re-booked through the online booking portal or by phone at 1-800-922-0096 ext. 9.
The health unit is also still encouraging people to add their names to a same-day vaccination list.
Several pharmacies in the region are also continuing to offer COVID-19 vaccine shots.
Huron and Perth
Huron Perth Public Health reported one new COVID-19 case and two recoveries on Friday.
The total number of cases in the region is now 1,936 with 14 active cases, 1,865 recoveries, and 57 deaths. There are 345 cases confirmed to involve a variant of concern.
Of the 14 active cases, eight are in Stratford. Case counts by municipality can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.
HPPH reports that one person is hospitalized with COVID-19.
There are no active institutional outbreaks reported in the region but one unidentified workplace outbreak is ongoing.
The region’s test positivity rate was 0.9 per cent for the week of July 11, up from 0.6 per cent for the week of July 4.
HPPH’s vaccine dashboard reported that 76.8 per cent of those aged 12 and older have had at least one vaccine dose, while 59.6 per cent are fully vaccinated, as of Friday.
Information on vaccine eligibility and booking an appointment can be found on HPPH’s website.
COVID-19: Previously known hot spots in Toronto reporting 0 cases
Sarnia and Lambton
Lambton Public Health reported no new cases on Friday, bringing the total to 3,633 with four active cases, 3,562 recoveries and 67 total deaths.
The most recent death was reported Wednesday and involved someone in their 80s who died in hospital.
The number of confirmed variant of concern cases is again unchanged at 675.
According to Bluewater Health, there are currently no patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Lambton Public Health is not reporting any active outbreaks in the region.
The region’s test positivity rate was just 0.34 per cent for the week of July 11, down from 0.95 per cent for the week of July 4.
As of Friday, 75.1 per cent of adults have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine while 63.0 per cent are fully vaccinated.
A walk-in clinic for anyone age 12-plus in need of a first dose will be held Saturday, July 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dow Centre for Youth in Sarnia. More information can be found on the health unit’s website.
LPH is also asking everyone who has already received a first dose to book their second dose appointment as soon as possible as the region prepares to wind down mass immunization clinics next month.
Residents who are able to get vaccinated on short notice are encouraged to sign up for Lambton Public Health’s daily Vaccine Standby List.
Residents can book and re-book COVID-19 vaccine appointments using the health unit’s registration page. People can also call the vaccine call centre at 226-254-8222.
Some pharmacies are also continuing to offer Pfizer or Moderna shots.
—With files from Global News’ Jessica Patton
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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