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India could ship vaccines to COVAX in a few weeks, say sources

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India could resume deliveries of COVID-19 shots to global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX in a few weeks for the first time since April, two health industry sources said, ending a suspension of supplies that has hurt poor countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which co-leads COVAX, has been urging India to restart supplies for the programme, especially after it sent about 4 million doses to its neighbours and partners in October.

Based on an informal approval from India, COVAX officials have started planning allocations of the Covishield shot for various countries, said one of the sources, both of whom declining to be identified pending a final agreement.

Covishield is a licensed version of the AstraZeneca shot made by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine maker.

SII has nearly quadrupled its output of Covishield to up to 240 million doses a month since April, when India stopped all exports in order to inoculate its own people during a surge of cases.

“There will need to be purchase orders confirmed to SII, labelling and packing, export authorisation granted for each of these shipments,” said the source. “So the first deliveries, assuming the Indian government grants export authorisation, won’t happen until a few weeks from now.”

SII, the health ministry and the WHO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The ministry said in a statement earlier in the day that Indian states had more than 159 million unutilised doses of various vaccines, as inoculations have slowed after 79% of the country’s 944 million adults got one dose and 37% got two doses.

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla told Reuters last month that the company could send 20 million to 30 million doses a month to COVAX in November and December, which would increase to “large volumes” from January once India’s own needs were met.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that COVAX had the money and the contracts to buy vaccines for low-income countries but “manufacturers have not played their part”.

COVAX in September cut its 2021 delivery target by nearly 30% to 1.425 billion doses.

 

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Health

KFL&A reports 34 new COVID-19 cases, 304 active – Globalnews.ca

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The Kingston region is once again over the 300 active cases mark, as Wednesday’s 34 new cases bring the daily active case count to 304.

Of the new cases, 10 are in the five-to-11 age group.

Nineteen people remain in hospital, with 11 of those cases are in the intensive care unit. Six people are on ventilators.

Read more:

COVID-19 — Influx of cases causing strain on Kingston hospitals

The cases per 100,000 over the past week is up slightly to 104.7, from 102.8 Tuesday.

The rise in cases locally has also forced the postponing of at least one local event. The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was scheduled to have its grand opening on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have significant impacts throughout our communities, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is committed to supporting the community through this time of heightened risk and uncertainty,” the Marine Museum said in a statement Wednesday.

“We consider the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors paramount.”


Click to play video: 'As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts'



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As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts


As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts

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

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Roussin takes aim at HIV stigma – Brandon Sun

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Wednesday was World AIDS Day and the province is getting behind the message to end the stigma of the disease.

There were 117 new cases of HIV identified in the province in 2020, slightly fewer than in 2019.

“Even though there are fewer cases, there was also significantly less testing,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday.

“Around 25 per cent of people with HIV are unaware they have it, and that can contribute to the spread.”

The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to be a significant public health issue in the province. Roussin said the populations most at risk are also facing problems of accessibility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roussin urged people who may be at risk to get regular testing and speak to their health-care providers regarding prevention, testing and treatment options.

All these services are confidential and free of charge.

Those living with HIV are also encouraged to stay connected to care and treatments.

Roussin said it is considered a chronic infection and there are effective treatments for HIV, with many being able to get the virus level down to undetectable levels and minimizing risk of transmitting it to other people.

» The Brandon Sun

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COVID-19 vaccines: 18% of Ottawa kids 5-11 have 1st doses – Globalnews.ca

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Nearly 14,000 Ottawa kids have gotten their first COVID-19 vaccine shots in their first week of eligibility, according to the local health unit.

Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that 13,887 kids aged five to 11, representing 18 per cent of the total age group in the city, have their initial shots as of Wednesday morning.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said earlier this week that 40 per cent of local kids in this youngest eligible demographic have appointments booked through the provincial vaccination system. This doesn’t account for shots booked at pharmacies or doctors’ offices.

Read more:

No need for new restrictions yet in Ottawa amid Omicron cases, Dr. Etches says

City-wide, 86 per cent of the population aged five and older now have at least one dose.

Meanwhile, OPH reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, surpassing the 32,000-case mark since the start of the pandemic.

The number of active infections held relatively steady at 329 in the latest report.

There are now 11 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa, two of whom are in the intensive care unit.


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COVID-19: Proof of vaccine now needed to fly in Canada


COVID-19: Proof of vaccine now needed to fly in Canada

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

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