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Doctor who tested Covid-19 vaccines on a thousand volunteers finally gets his shot – CNN



“I work every day in a petri dish,” said Bradley, an internist in Savannah, Georgia, who’s treated more than a hundred coronavirus patients. “I am at great risk.”
Since his work places him in harm’s way, Bradley has been extremely careful in his personal life. He hasn’t set foot in a restaurant, gone to the gym or taken a trip since March. Even worse, he became a grandfather during the pandemic and hasn’t been able to hold his first two grandchildren, who were born in April and July.
On July 27, Bradley’s team made history when they administered the first shot in the first Phase 3 clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States.
That patient was Dawn Baker, a news anchor at CNN affiliate WTOC.
“He is really a remarkable human being,” Baker said. “You couldn’t find a more caring doctor.”
Bradley’s team went on to enroll more than a thousand volunteers in coronavirus vaccine clinical trials for Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax, but Bradley never got a coronavirus vaccine himself.
That all changed Wednesday when it was finally time for him to roll up his own sleeve and get the Pfizer vaccine, just a few days after it received emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.
“All this time, all this hard work later, I got it,” Bradely said.

Surprising texts from ‘doctor buddies’

The night before his vaccination, Bradley received surprising texts from some of his “doctor buddies.”
They wanted to know if he was sure he wanted the vaccine. They suggested that maybe he should wait for other people to take it to see how they did.
His answer was unequivocal.
“No, I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to wait. Every day is an opportunity to catch Covid and basically die. No, I do not want to wait,” Bradley said.
Over the years, Bradley has gotten used to fielding questions from vaccine-hesitant patients, but not from “highly-educated, practicing physicians.”
“This phobia or hesitancy, it’s not limited to uninformed, non-medical people,” he said.
“Am I worried (the vaccine) is going to change my DNA? Or that I won’t be able to get the chip out of me? No, I’m not,” he said.
Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines, the only two so far to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA, use the same scientific approach for activating the immune system. In their clinical trials, tens of thousands of participants received the companies’ vaccines and had no serious side effects.
But those participants were followed for months, not years, which makes some people worried about unknown long-term consequences of the shots.
While Bradley acknowledges the lack of long-term data, he jumped at the chance to get the vaccine for two reasons.
First, historically vaccines have not had long-term safety issues. When people have had bad reactions, it’s usually soon after they get the shot.
Second, whatever risk the coronavirus vaccine might pose, he says that risk is greatly — hugely, wildly — outweighed by the risk of what could happen if he caught Covid-19.
He’s known people who’ve died of Covid-19. He’s watched others survive after suffering for months in the intensive care unit.
Some of those have still not fully recovered months later.
“That’s why I keep telling people, ‘You don’t want this.’ Even if you get through it, there’s all sorts of things, like brain fog and blood clots. I had one poor guy, 45 years old, his coronary arteries clogged up and he needs bypass surgery,” Bradley said. “It’s scary out there.”
That’s why the decision to get vaccinated was easy.
“I see it as a no-brainer. I really do,” he said.

The big day

At 6 a.m. Wednesday, Bradley arrived at St. Joseph’s/Candler hospital to get his Covid-19 shot.
He brought with him a very special person: his daughter, Dr. Brooke Halpern, the mother of one of the grandchildren he’s never hugged.
His daughter joined his medical practice a few months ago, just as Covid-19 rates started skyrocketing.
The decision was easy for her, too.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be able to get the vaccine,” Halpern said. “We already are at risk every day with the patients, and now I can have a little more ease going to work and not bringing any of the virus back home to my family.”
Thirty minutes later, father and daughter received their vaccinations.
Both were elated.
“It’s just profound. It’s so simple, but it’s profound,” he said. “This is the hope to return to normalcy.”
When Baker learned the good news that her doctor had been vaccinated, she said she felt relief.
“It’s just a relief to me that with him going to work day-in and day-out and taking care of all of us, that he can be protected,” Baker said. “I’m very happy for him and all the health care workers who are being prioritized.”

‘The real heroes’

Now that Bradley is vaccinated, he said he’s “reaping the benefits” of “the real heroes” — the thousands of clinical trial volunteers who volunteered to test the two vaccines, both of which turned out to be about 95% effective.
“I told them all the time they were heroes, but now they look like geniuses,” he said.
As hopeful as he’s feeling, he says a return to normal is still going to take a lot more work, since the virus has exploded across the United States.
“I call it a plague — it’s a pandemic — but it’s a dang plague out of the Bible,” he said. “It is effecting all of us, and we need to beat this together.”
But doing that will require that the American public trust the vaccine, and Bradley worries that “crazy politics” has already sowed significant mistrust.
“It’s still going to be a challenge to get most people to get this vaccine,” he said.
He said he hopes people will come to understand that without the vaccine, people will keep on dying by the thousands each day in the United States, just as they are now.
“It literally is a matter of time before it gets each and every one of us, except now, we finally have a solution,” he said.
In about a month, when the full effects of the vaccine kick in, Bradley plans to make that restaurant reservation he’s been avoiding since March. He’ll be able to walk into an exam room without the fear of contracting the virus and dying.
And he’ll be able to do the thing he’s missed the most.
“I’ll be able to go hug (my) grandkids,” he said. “Be like a normal, real person again.”

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Additional steps Albertans can take as more cases of COVID-19 variants reported – Global News



Health officials say current public health measures around masking and distancing will protect Albertans against the new variants of the novel coronavirus, but there are some extra precautions that can be taken.

Alberta Health reported Monday that there were 20 cases of the UK variant and five cases of the South African variant in the province; while most were travel-related, there is one case that appears to be the result of community transmission.

READ MORE: U.K. variant of COVID-19 ‘may have entered the broader community’ in Alberta: Shandro

Infectious disease epidemiologist Zahid Butt of the University of Waterloo said people will need to be more vigilant now about following public health guidelines.

“We need to be more careful about distancing now. We need to be more careful about wearing masks. We should be more careful about hand sanitization and other measures,” Butt said.

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The variants can transmit faster between people because of changes to the spike proteins on the virus’s surface, which allows it to enter cells more easily. Higher transmission of the virus means there is the potential for more cases and, with that, the possibility there could be more hospitalizations.

Should people wear two masks?

While some Americans are wearing two masks, Butt said he wouldn’t recommend it.

READ MORE: Officials confirm Canada’s 1st case of South African variant of COVID-19 detected in Alberta

“Currently they just recommend one mask because…it has a better fit, it’s a more comfortable fit,” Butt said, adding he recommends wearing a mask everywhere, even outdoors.

Butt also said that three layers in a mask will protect a person more than a mask with just one layer.

RELATED: COVID-19: Triple-layer masks now recommended, what does that mean for Albertans?

“Additionally if you have a mask which you can actually put in a filter, in addition to your three layers, that will protect you better,” he said.

Infectious disease physician Dr. Stephane Smith agrees, saying she doesn’t think there’s any evidence to suggest wearing two masks is more protective than wearing one.

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Smith said N95 can filter small air particles but those are recommended for those working in hospital settings.

READ MORE: ‘Realistic possibility’ COVID-19 variant from U.K. could be deadlier, researchers say

“For most people in everyday settings, the surgical mask or its equivalent is effective in preventing transmission from larger droplets,” she said.

Smith said wearing masks indoors is very important and wearing masks outdoors is also important if you are going to be in close contact with someone, but she balks at wearing a mask at all times when outdoors.

“If you’re just out for a walk in your neighbourhood and you don’t actually interact with anyone then you probably don’t need to wear a mask at all,” she said.

Should people distance more than two metres?

Albertans have been told to distance two metres from people outside of their household, but Butt said people can take extra precautions and distance more than two metres to be safe.

Should people cut down the time they spend in indoor spaces?

Smith said, at this point, it isn’t clear how well established the new variants are in Alberta but she recommends curbing interactions.

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“If you need to go to the grocery store, go to the grocery store but limiting the amount of time you spend there is still the best suggestion,” she said.

Butt suggests only going out for essential tasks and he also recommends reducing the time spent in closed settings.

What about travel internationally, domestically and within Alberta?

Butt said people should avoid travelling right now, saying this is one way the variant can spread.

“No travelling across provinces and also, if you’re living in an area that’s designated a high-risk area, don’t travel from your high-risk area to a low-risk area,” he said.

READ MORE: Kenney clarifies he doesn’t encourage travel during pandemic despite thinking it’s safe, good for the economy

Smith said international travel right now is a “bad idea” and that the province should monitor what is happening in other provinces.

“If it does appear there are areas of the country that have widespread transmission of the new variant then I think we would have to look at some restrictions of people coming from that particular province,” she said.

READ MORE: Albertans angry over COVID-19 travel scandal, feel consequences came too late

“There have been outbreaks in Ontario related to the new variant. I think this data is emerging. I think we’ll have to keep a close eye on the information that we get from these other provinces to determine what we should be doing about restrictions within Alberta.”

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As for travel within Alberta, Smith said there is an increased risk any time you travel because there are more interactions with people that you wouldn’t normally interact with.

Smith suggests curtailing travel within the province unless it is essential.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Ontario reports 1740 new coronavirus cases, 63 more deaths –



Ontario is reporting 1,740 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 258,700.

Tuesday’s case count is lower than Monday’s which saw 1,958 new infections. On Sunday, 2,417 new cases were recorded and 2,359 on Saturday.

It is also the lowest increase in daily cases since Dec. 13 when 1,677 new cases were reported.

“Locally, there are 677 new cases in Toronto, 320 in Peel and 144 in York Region,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.

The death toll in the province has risen to 5,909 after 63 more deaths were reported.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Toronto hospital nurse who died by suicide remembered as caring, dedicated

Meanwhile, 229,755 Ontarians have recovered from COVID-19 which is about 89 per cent of known cases. Resolved cases increased by 2,261 from the previous day.

There were more resolved cases than new cases on Tuesday.

Active cases in Ontario now stand at 23,036 — down from the previous day when it was 23,620, and down from last Tuesday at 27,615.

The seven-day average has now reached 2,346, down from yesterday at 2,371 and down from last week at 2,893 — showing a downward trend in new cases.

Ontario reported 1,466 people hospitalized with COVID-19 (up by 68 from the previous day), with 383 patients in an intensive care unit (down by 14) and 298 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (up by 15).

The government said 30,717 tests were processed in the last 24 hours. There is currently a backlog of 36,405 tests awaiting results. A total of 9,375,676 tests have been completed since the start of the pandemic.

Test positivity — the percentage of tests that come back positive — for Tuesday was 5.9 per cent, up from Monday at 5.5 per cent, and down from one week ago when it was 6.8 per cent.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, the province has administered 295,817 COVID-19 vaccine doses. There are 83,285 people fully vaccinated with two doses. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the only two vaccines currently approved in Canada, require two shots.

Here is a breakdown of the total cases in Ontario by gender and age:

  • 126,519 people are male — an increase of 874 cases.
  • 130,723 people are female — an increase of 875 cases.
  • 33,791 people are 19 and under — an increase of 243 cases.
  • 94,667 people are 20 to 39 — an increase of 636 cases.
  • 74,605 people are 40 to 59 — an increase of 497 cases.
  • 37,300 people are 60 to 79 — an increase of 252 cases.
  • 18,288 people are 80 and over — an increase of 110 cases.
  • The province notes that not all cases have a reported age or gender.

The province notes that the number of cases publicly reported each day may not align with case counts reported by the local public health unit on a given day. Local public health units report when they were first notified of a case, which can be updated and changed as information becomes available. Data may also be pulled at different times.

Here is a breakdown of the total deaths related to COVID-19 by age:

  • Deaths reported in ages 19 and under: 2
  • Deaths reported in ages 20 to 39: 22
  • Deaths reported in ages 40 to 59: 222
  • Deaths reported in ages 60 to 79: 1,594
  • Deaths reported in ages 80 and older: 4,068
  • The province notes there may be a reporting delay for deaths.

Read more:
Provinces sitting on millions in COVID-19 funds for long-term care homes: CCPA

Ontario long-term care homes

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,389 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which is an increase of 24 deaths. Eleven virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

There are 246 current outbreaks in homes, which is a decrease of 10 from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 1,164 active cases among long-term care residents and 1,905 active cases among staff — down by 102 cases and down by 105 cases, respectively, in the last day.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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5 more deaths, 94 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Manitoba today –



Five more deaths and 94 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Manitoba on Tuesday.

This is the first time the daily caseload has been below 100 since Jan. 12, when there were 92 new cases. Prior to that, the province last saw a sub-100 daily count in mid-October.

One of the province’s health regions — Interlake-Eastern — reported zero new cases.

The Winnipeg area has the most new cases of any single health region with 41. The northern region has 36 new cases, while the Prairie Mountain Health region has 15 and the Southern Health region has two.

The total number of deaths in Manitoba due to COVID-19 is now 809.

One of the five new deaths is a woman in her 90s from the Prairie Mountain Health region, who is linked to the outbreak at Fairview Personal Care Home.

The other four deaths are from the Winnipeg area — a man in his 70s, a man in his 80s, a woman in her 80s who is linked to the outbreak at Seven Oaks General Hospital 5U1-3, and a man in his 90s who is linked to the outbreak at Fred Douglas Lodge.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, said today’s low number of new cases — compared to the seven-day average of 170 — “is trending the right way, but we still have a number of people in hospital.”

There are currently 277 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 38 ICU patients.

That shows there “still is a burden on the acute care system,” Atwal said.

While the province is seeing benefits from its aggressive contact tracing, it is unrealistic to think the daily case totals will drop to zero any time soon, he said, but tipped his hat to the Interlake–Eastern region.

“This is a pandemic. This isn’t going away quick,” Atwal said. “We need to do what’s being asked of people to do by public health … to keep our case counts low.

“Every interaction we have has a risk of propagating an infection. The more interactions we have, with the more people, that risk has a multiple on it. That’s where you get that exponential growth.”

The vaccination program will eventually help reduce that exponential risk “but we are still early on, on that vaccine side,” he said.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 10.3 per cent provincially and 6.4 per cent in Winnipeg after 1,118 tests were completed on Monday.

The province on Tuesday declared outbreaks over at the Boyne Lodge Personal Care Home in Carman and Health Sciences Centre unit GA4 in Winnipeg.

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