Editor’s Note: With a coronavirus vaccination effort now underway, you might have questions about what this means for you and your family. If you do, send them to The Conversation, and we will find a physician or researcher to answer them. Here, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a public health pediatrician whose research exposed the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, answers questions about the vaccine and allergies, and when kids might be able to get the vaccine.
If I have allergies, should I still get the vaccine?
If you have a history of allergies to food, pets, insects or other things, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you proceed with vaccination, with an observation period. If you have a history of severe allergic reaction, or what is called anaphylaxis, to another vaccine or injectable therapy, your doctor can do a risk assessment, defer your vaccination, or proceed and then observe you after vaccination. The only reason to avoid vaccination is a severe allergic reaction to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC has specific recommendations for post-vaccine observation.
As the vaccine goes out to a broader population, how will adverse events be tracked?
The CDC and Food and Drug Administration encourage the public to report possible adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS. This national system collects these data to look for adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected or have unusual patterns of occurrence. Anyone who has experienced an adverse event should report it to the system.
Reporting an adverse event is a crucial step to ensuring safety and to help the CDC monitor the vaccines. Safety is a top priority, and scientists and public health officials need to know about adverse reactions.
An adverse event is different in most cases from a typical vaccine side effect. Vaccines may cause a side effect, such as soreness at the injection site or redness. Adverse events are more serious and can sometimes be life-threatening. If you are unsure whether you have experienced a side effect or adverse event, you can still report the event.
Participants are given a fact sheet when they are vaccinated. Health care providers who vaccinate people will be required to report to VAERS certain adverse events following vaccination. In addition, under the terms of the emergency use authorization, health care providers also must follow any revised safety reporting requirements that may arise.
The CDC is also implementing a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you should also receive an information sheet telling you how to enroll in v-safe. If you enroll, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
When might kids younger than 16 be vaccinated?
It is likely to be several months. The currently authorized Pfizer and soon-to-be-authorized Moderna vaccine are not applicable for children. More research and clinical trials need to be done to include younger children in COVID-19 vaccine trials.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pfizer has enrolled children down to age 12 and submitted a request for emergency use authorization for vaccination down to age 16. Moderna, whose vaccine is expected to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA any day, is about to start a similar study.
In the United Kingdom, AstraZeneca has approval to enroll children ages 5 to 12 in clinical trials, but the pharmaceutical company has not yet enrolled any children in trials in the U.S.
Vaccine arriving in Ottawa on Tuesday will go to those who have had first dose – Ottawa Citizen
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the delay would not affect plans to have enough vaccines available for every Canadian who wanted to be vaccinated by fall.
Meanwhile, all residents in Ottawa’s long-term care homes have had the opportunity to be vaccinated — and that is cause for celebration, Etches said.
According to data from 24 of Ottawa’s 28 LTC homes, about 96 per cent of LTC residents have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with data from the other four homes expected to follow.
“We are so pleased to have reached this milestone,” Etches said. “We still need the protection of staying two metres apart. That is what this lockdown is all about.”
Next on the priority list are residents of retirement homes and other older adults in congregate settings, older adults in Indigenous communities and people with chronic conditions receiving home care.
Etches says Ottawa’ is ready to get vaccines to people as soon as the doses are available. Retirement homes have already been preparing for the arrival of the vaccine by ensuring that consent forms have been signed, she said.
So far, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been available in Ottawa.
Etches said she has not received word on if or when the Moderna vaccine would be available in Ottawa. Moderna’s rollout has so far been prioritized for northern communities that do not have access to the specialized freezers needed to keep the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at -70 C. The Moderna vaccine is shipped at -20 C.
132 new COVID-19 cases reported in Waterloo, total number climbs past 8,000 – Global News
Waterloo Public Health reported 132 new positive tests for the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total number of cases in the area to 8,088.
This is the lowest number of new cases that the agency has announced since Jan. 3.
On the flip side, another 182 people were cleared of the virus, lifting the total number of resolved cases to 6,862.
There have been no new COVID-19-related deaths reported in four days leaving the death toll in Waterloo Region sitting at 179.
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The number of active cases drops to 1,045 but there are now 37 people in area hospitals as a result of COVID-19, including 20 people who are in intensive care.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been administered in Waterloo Region 10,068 times, with 1,009 of those coming on Thursday.
There were no new COVID-19 outbreaks announced for Waterloo Region, however, there are still 42 remaining which continues to be a record number.
Elsewhere, Ontario reported 2,998 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the provincial total to 231,308.
Friday’s case count is lower than Thursday’s, which saw 3,326 new infections. On Wednesday, 2,961 new cases were recorded and 2,903 on Tuesday.
“Locally, there are 800 new cases in Toronto, 618 in Peel, 250 in York Region, 161 in Waterloo and 153 in Niagara,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.
The death toll in the province has risen to 5,289, after 100 more deaths were reported — marking the highest daily number of deaths.
However, the Ontario government noted some of the deaths included in Friday’s report are from one public health unit and are also from earlier in the pandemic that the provincial database had missed.
–With files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Pandemic claims another life in northern BC – Prince George Citizen
The COVID-19 pandemic claimed another life in the Northern Health region, according to statistics released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control on Friday.
The death brings the pandemic’s death toll in the region to 48. In a joint statement issued on Friday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix reported a total of nine new COVID-related deaths in the province. COVID-19 had claimed a total of 1,047 lives in B.C. as of Friday.
“We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Henry and Dix said.
There were 49 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the Northern Health region on Friday. The number of active cases in the region went up to 497, from 486 on Thursday, according to the B.C. CDC.
There were 44 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Northern Health region, including 13 in intensive care. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been 2,745 cases of COVID-19 in the region, of which 2,182 have recovered.
In their joint statement, Henry and Dix said there were a total of 509 new cases of COVID-19 in the province.
“There are 4,604 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 349 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 68 of whom are in intensive care,” they said. “Since we last reported, we have had 101 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 260 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 13 in the Island Health region, 86 in the Interior Health region, 49 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.”
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 60,117 cases in the province.
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“Currently, 7,132 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 53,115 people who tested positive have recovered,” Henry and Dix said. “To date, 75,914 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C. We are disappointed to hear today there will be a short-term delay in the delivery of some of the Pfizer vaccines to British Columbia in the coming weeks as the company upgrades its production facility. We are working closely with the federal government to determine how this might impact our immunization rollout in the immediate term, and we will have more to share in the coming days.”
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