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How many Canadians will need to get vaccinated against COVID-19? Officials aren't sure – Sicamous Eagle Valley News

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Although Canada has secured four contracts for more 190 million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines, health officials aren’t sure how many people will need to receive it.

Deputy public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Tuesday (Sept. 1) that the level of vaccination to achieve community, or herd, protection varies by the disease.

“That’s still to be determined because the science is not clear on that yet,” Njoo said.

“For a very contagious disease like measles the vaccine uptake needs to be much higher to determine that level of community protection. We don’t know that yet for COVID-19.”

There are currently at least 128,948 total test positive cases of the virus in Canada, with more than 9,100 deaths.

For measles, the Canadian government has a goal of 95 per cent vaccination by 2025. According to John Hopkins University, early estimates of the virus’s infectiousness point to at least 60 to 70 per cent of the population needing to be vaccinated to achieve herd protection. A recent poll suggests that about 14 per cent of Canadians will not get the vaccine altogether, while nearly one-third will adopt a “wait and see” approach.

It’s also unclear how effective an eventual vaccine will be.

“International consensus is that we should at least look at vaccines that are around the 50 per cent vaccine efficacy mark,” chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said, echoing similar statements from other public health researchers.

“This means that an individual who was vaccinated would be 50 per cent less likely to get COVID disease—or whatever the particular endpoint is that’s measured in the trial—than individuals that weren’t vaccinated,” said Dr. Ruth Karron, who leads the Center for Immunization Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

But Canadian health officials were sure on one point; going for a herd immunity approach by letting the disease run through the population was not effective. Tam called it an “extremely difficult strategy” because of the potential for exponential growth that could overwhelm health-care systems.

“What we do know that even in the most [COVID-19] affected parts of the world, the level of population immunity seems quite low, so getting high enough vaccine uptake is going to be quite important,” Tam said.

Currently, Canada has agreements with Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer and Moderna, if any of the four companies develop an effective vaccine. Any vaccine will have to be approved by Health Canada before Canadians can get it.

READ MORE: Canada signs deals with two suppliers for potential COVID-19 vaccines

READ MORE: 30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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Tam Concerned By Rising COVID-19 Cases Nationally – country94.ca

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Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer is concerned with the rising trend of COVID-19 case numbers.

Theresa Tam gave an update on national COVID-19 modelling, which shows the country is “at a crossroads” in its pandemic-response.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Tam said the rate of contact in the country needs to decrease in order to suppress the rise of new cases.

The Chief Public Health Officer cited other countries as evidence that a second surge of the virus can exceed the initial wave.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 145,000 cases of COVID-19 had been diagnosed, and at least 9,228 people have died since the pandemic was declared.

Last week, Ontario saw the reinstatement of stricter caps on indoor and outdoor gatherings, but Tam says they aren’t the only province seeing an uptick in instances of the virus.

“Although the pattern of epidemic curves varies by region, all provinces west of the Atlantic region are showing increasing incidents of COVID-19,” Tam said.

Tam says the current surge in cases hasn’t yet led to a big rise in COVID-related deaths, or hospitalizations, but those numbers often lag behind the discovery of new cases.

Since June, Canadians in their 20s have been the leading factor in rising case numbers across the country.

Tam says that while younger patients seem to be less at risk of fatal outcomes, the increase in carriers can lead to spread to other demographics.

“Ongoing circulation of the virus in younger, more mobile and socially-connected adults builds a reservoir for the virus,” Tam said. “Increasing the risk of spread to individuals and population at a higher risk of severe outcomes, and threatening our ability to maintain epidemic control.”

As society continues to await an effective COVID-19 vaccine, the goal of world governments continues to be to maintain the number of caseloads at a low enough volume so as not to overwhelm emergency room capacity.

Tam did say that the number of cases stemming from each outbreak appears to be in decline.

“A review of publicly-reported outbreaks in long-term care settings over the course of the epidemic suggests that the number of cases per outbreak has declined from over 30 cases per outbreak in April, to less than five cases per outbreak in August.”

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More flu vaccine being ordered by Ministry of Health – 620 CKRM.com

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With flu season right around the corner, the Ministry of Health is purchasing more over a third more  vaccine than last year to meet what is expected to be an increase in demand.
In a release from the Saskatchewan government Tuesday morning, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says it is always a good idea to receive the influenza vaccination but it is particularly important during the pandemic as receiving the vaccine will help prevent the spread of influenza.”
Another enhancement to the seasonal influenza immunization program is the addition of no cost access to the high dose vaccine for personal care home residents 65 years of age or older.  Long-term care residents in the same age bracket will receive the high dose vaccine at no cost again for the third year.
Flu shots are recommended for those at higher risk, including seniors, people with underlying chronic health conditions, children under five and pregnant women.  Seniors often have chronic health conditions (like heart or lung disease or diabetes) and weaker immune systems, which makes them particularly vulnerable to complications from influenza.
There will be modifications to where and how flu shots will be administered this year.  To accommodate public health precautions due to COVID-19, there will be increased physical distancing and sanitization procedures.  Details will be available when the fall immunization program gets underway in mid-October.

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Renfrew County and District Health Unit declares second wave of COVID-19 – OttawaMatters.com

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Renfrew County and District Health Unit’s acting Medical Officer of Heath, Dr. Robert Cushman, has declared the region has entered its second wave of COVID-19 infection.

Dr. Cushman says it is clear they are in the midst of the second wave, citing “COVID fatigue” as the main factor.

He also encourages residents to remain vigilant and continue to wear masks, physically distance, washing hands, and maintaining a social bubble to avoid returning to lockdown.

 

In the meantime, no additional students, staff or close contacts from Fellowes High School tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday or Monday.

This comes as Renfrew County saw 45 cases of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, including one death.

 

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