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Eager parents crash vaccine-booking system – Winnipeg Free Press



A sense of relief and happiness washed over Trisha Klassen as she confirmed vaccination appointments for her two young boys after waiting months for the chance to offer them protection against COVID-19.

Klassen was one of more than 15,000 parents and guardians in Manitoba who reserved COVID-19 vaccine appointments for kids between the ages of five and 11 when bookings opened Monday at 6 a.m.

“It’s just the relief that we’re on the road, we’re on the way, there’s hope, and the appointments are booked,” she said. “I think a great thing, too, is that there are so many parents who are asking questions, that are trying to do this, and that they see the benefit to it, as well.”

Like thousands of others, Klassen was in front of her computer before 6 a.m, waiting and ready to secure the earliest-available appointments for her five- and 10-year-old children.


Jeff and Trisha Klassen and their sons Kajus, 5, and Otto, 10, who registered Monday to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Jeff and Trisha Klassen and their sons Kajus, 5, and Otto, 10, who registered Monday to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.

However, as soon as the online booking portal opened, the system crashed under the demand and was offline for about 30 minutes before it started to accept reservations.

Meanwhile, people calling into the province’s vaccine hotline were told their wait time would be two minutes, only to be placed on hold for nearly an hour. A provincial spokesperson said the longest callback time Monday was about two hours.

“It was frustrating because I thought it would have been anticipated that this would happen,” said parent Lindsay McDonald. “We’ve been waiting months, and for the system to be in place but not able to handle the volume was frustrating.”

However, with some persistence, but not without a bit of stress, McDonald was thrilled and relieved to book a time for her five-year-old son Jack Saturday at the vaccination clinic inside RBC Convention Centre.

“It’s just the relief that we’re on the road, we’re on the way, there’s hope, and the appointments are booked.”
— Trisha Klassen

She said the day is a significant step toward protecting her two-year-old toddler, who is not eligible for a shot, and ensuring Jack can continue to attend kindergarten uninterrupted.

“I’m so excited to take him myself and be there for what feels like such a momentous occasion,” McDonald said. “I’m looking forward to going on Saturday and seeing happy, relieved parents who feel the same way I do.”

<img src="" alt="Dr. Joss Reimer. (Kevin King / Pool)

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Dr. Joss Reimer. (Kevin King / Pool)

Provincial vaccine task force lead Dr. Joss Reimer said the first pediatric doses will be administered Thursday.

Approximately 126,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to arrive Tuesday and will be distributed across the province within a week. The Manitoba government estimates there are 125,000 kids between the ages of five and 11.

Pharmacists and physicians, meanwhile, have ordered 30,000 doses that are expected to be delivered between Thursday and Monday; the province’s vaccine finder map will be updated soon to show locations with pediatric doses.

Reimer said she’s “extremely encouraged” by the number of families who have so far booked appointments.

“That’s just wonderful to hear that more than 10 per cent of this whole population was already booked by the first half-day that they were able to book,” Reimer said. “Having so many people wanting to book at the same time is a problem that we’re really happy to have.”

“Having so many people wanting to book at the same time is a problem that we’re really happy to have.”
— Provincial vaccine task force lead Dr. Joss Reimer

Reimer encouraged parents and caregivers to talk to their health-care providers or review information provided by the government if they have questions about the vaccines and the risk of COVID-19 for kids.

“The benefits really do outweigh the risks,” she said. “So the decision to vaccinate a child provides more protection and fewer risks than the decision not to vaccinate a child.”

Meanwhile, she offered reassurances to rural and northern Manitobans that pediatric doses will be in their communities soon.

Reimer said each health region will be running pop-up clinics, with some opening later this week, and more information will be available in the coming days.

As of Monday, pediatric appointments were being offered only at provincial clinics in Winnipeg, Selkirk, Morden, Steinbach, Brandon, Dauphin and Thompson. Reimer said the province would also add more appointments in Steinbach after demand exceeded expectations.

“I would encourage parents in that area to check back because we do intend to adjust the appointments that are available depending on demand,” she said.

As for the Klassen family, as they await their turn at the clinic, their focus will turn to planning a fun and painless vaccination day for the kids. Klassen said she’s been talking about immunization regularly with her young ones and will likely celebrate the long-awaited occasion with some treats.

She hopes staff and volunteers at the clinic will also be allotted enough time to connect meaningfully with the children as they roll up their sleeves.

“They’re going to have a wide range of kids that are going to come in who are excited to do it, and then there’s kids that are nervous and there are kids who do not want to do it,” she said. “It’s going to take extra time and I know they’ve been running this for a while and they have a system, but you never know with kids.

“They’re going to need to be prepared.”

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WHO advises against using blood plasma of recovered patients as COVID-19 treatment –



The World Health Organization on Monday advised against using the blood plasma of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat those who are ill, saying current evidence shows it neither improves survival nor reduces the need for ventilators.

The hypothesis for using plasma is that the antibodies it contains could neutralize the novel coronavirus, stopping it from replicating and halting tissue damage.

Several studies testing convalescent blood plasma have shown no apparent benefit for treating COVID-19 patients who are severely ill. A U.S.-based trial was halted in March after it was found that plasma was unlikely to help mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients.

The method is also costly and time-consuming to administer, the WHO said in a statement Monday.

A panel of international experts made a strong recommendation against the use of convalescent plasma in patients with non-severe illness, the WHO said. They also advised against its use in patients with severe and critical illness, except in the context of a randomized controlled trial.

The recommendation, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is based on evidence from 16 trials involving 16,236 patients with non-severe, severe and critical COVID-19 infection.

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COVID vaccine clinics available this week – The North Bay Nugget



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A number of appointments for COVID-19 vaccine clinics – including some for children five to 11 years of age – are available across the region this week.

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Only individuals five to 11 years of age will be able to secure an appointment at a child and youth Clinic, although older siblings or parents will be able to receive an adult dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at these clinics if they are accompanying a child to their appointment.

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in five to 11-year-olds is not yet available at regular clinics. However, it is available at participating pharmacies throughout the district. Parents and guardians are encouraged to book an appointment at one of the participating pharmacies if they would like their child immunized this week and cannot secure an appointment at a clinic hosted by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit.

Individuals are encouraged to bring a health card or another form of identification, if possible, as well as any required documentation for those with underlying health conditions eligible for a third dose. Eligible individuals who received their last dose before June 21 will be able to book and receive their booster dose this week.

Flu shots will also be available for those with COVID-19 appointments at the adult clinics this week.

Appointments are still available at the following clinics this week:

Parry Sound,  Wednesday, child and youth clinic at Parry Sound High School (111 Isabella St., Parry Sound) from 4 to 8 p.m.

South River,  Thursday, child and youth clinic at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School (21 Mountain View Rd., South River) from 4 to 8 p.m.

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Mattawa, Friday, child and youth clinic at Élisabeth Bruyère Catholic Secondary School (359 Brydges St., Mattawa) from 4 to 8 p.m.;

North Bay,  Saturday, child and youth clinic at Northgate Shopping Centre (1500 Fisher Street, North Bay), former Gap location, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sturgeon Falls,  Tuesday, child and youth clinic at West Nipissing Public Secondary School (175 Ethel St., Sturgeon Falls) from 4 to 8 p.m. and  Wednesday, at Marcel Noel Hall (219 O’Hara St., Sturgeon Falls) from 4 to 7 p.m.

To book an appointment or for more information, visit or call the health unit call centre at 1-844-478-1400 or 705-995-3810.

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More than 12500 Waterloo Region kids aged 5-11 have had 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine –



More than 12,500 Waterloo Region children aged five to 11 have had their first jab of a COVID-19 vaccine since they were first handed out 11 days ago.

Waterloo Public Health says 26.62 per cent of area residents of that age group’s estimated 48,000 have had their initial dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more:

Waterloo Region has special plans in store for Every Dose Counts weekend

This number increased by 8.5 per cent from Friday, with Waterloo Public Health no longer updating its totals over the weekend.

The agency says there have now been 941,742 vaccinations done in the area, which is 7,303 more than it reported on Friday.

However, the number of those getting their second dose continues to climb at a slow pace as that total now stands at 455,372, 569 more than was announced 72 hours prior.

This means that 75.24 per cent of all residents in the region have now had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The youth vaccinations could not come at a more prudent time as there were a host of COVID-19 outbreaks announced at schools across Waterloo Region over the past few days.

There were five new outbreaks announced over the weekend with four of those coming at schools including Mary Johnston Public School in Waterloo, Sir Adam Beck Public School in Baden, Saint John Paul II School in Kitchener and Forest Glen Public School in New Hamburg. The fifth new outbreak was at an unnamed auto sales location.

In addition, Waterloo Public Health reported another 125 positive tests for the coronavirus on Monday, lifting the total number of COVID-19 cases in the area to 21,145.

This lifts the rolling seven-day average number of new daily cases up to 34.6. A week ago, that number was 24.7.

Another 70 people were also cleared of the virus, lifting the total number of resolved cases in the area to 20,549.

There have been no new deaths reported in the area in five days, leaving the death toll at 308, including one victim in December.

The region now has 282 active COVID-19 cases, the highest number that has been reported since July 12.

There are also 12 people in area hospitals, including two patients in need of intensive care.

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Ontario reports 887 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

Elsewhere, Ontario reported 887 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total case count in the province to 624,384.

Of the 887 new cases recorded, the data showed 373 were unvaccinated people, 24 were partially vaccinated people, 426 were fully vaccinated people and for 64 people the vaccination status was unknown.

According to Monday’s report, 139 cases were recorded in Toronto, 73 in Simcoe Muskoka, 60 in York Region, 60 in Peel Region and 55 in Ottawa. All other local public health units reported fewer than 50 new cases in the provincial report.

The death toll in the province now stands at 10,027 as three more deaths were reported.

—with files from Global News’ Jessica Patton

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

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