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Interior Health administers first COVID-19 vaccines in Kelowna – Kelowna News – Castanet.net

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Earlier on Tuesday, we saw Dr. Bonnie Henry getting a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, turns out that was about the same time that the first vaccine was administered in Kelowna as well.

“Interior Health is celebrating a milestone in the fight against COVID-19, as the first vaccinations have occurred in Kelowna and Kamloops,” states a news release from Interior Health.

“You have no idea what this means to me,” said Charmane Lazzarotto, first vaccine recipient in Kelowna. “As a health care aide, I care for vulnerable people every day and knowing I can protect them by preventing the spread of COVID-19 is an incredible feeling. I am so happy to be safer, feel safer, and be part of history as we fight COVID-19.”

“As vaccine arrives each week, Interior Health looks forward to expanding staff clinics throughout IH,” said Interior Health, adding the roll-out will be a gradual process and it is important to stay focused on observing all of the public health guidance that helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Everyone in all communities should remain vigilant in following COVID-19 precautions:

  • Keep to your household bubbles and avoid social gatherings.
  • Stay home when you are sick, and get tested if you have any symptoms consistent with COVID (see below).
  • Practice physical distancing and use a mask if you cannot.
  • Wash your hands often.

Testing is available for people with new or worsening COVID-19 symptoms. Seek a test immediately if you have one or more of these key symptoms:

  • Fever and chills
  • Cough
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Seek a test if you have two or more of the following symptoms for more than 24 hours, and they are not related to any other pre-existing conditions:

  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness
  • Headache
  • Body aches (muscles and joints aching)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

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In pandemic politics, timing is everything – Winnipeg Free Press

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Premier Brian Pallister said a disruption in the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a good example of why Manitoba has been slow and cautious in its COVID-19 immunization rollout.

Government was prepared for this kind of bump in the road, he said.

However, according to the province’s own figures, Manitoba was falling behind its own vaccine schedule long before the Pfizer vaccine slowdown was announced.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks at a press conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Friday.

Pfizer-BioNTech confirmed Friday it plans to delay some vaccine shipments (including to Canada) in the coming weeks to retool its manufacturing plants. Company officials said they expect to catch up by the end of March.

There are no details on how it will affect shipments to the provinces. But there will be a temporary reduction in doses.

Given how far behind Manitoba is in its immunization program, that slowdown may not make much of a difference.

But it does give the Pallister government political cover; the slower the shipments over the next few weeks, the easier it will be to catch up.

“I think this backs up our strategy,” Pallister said Friday. “Our vaccination team has focused a little less on trying to get good, short-term stats by rushing everything out and a little more on better, long-term protections by holding something back.”

Not exactly. The provincial government expressed confidence in the supply chain two weeks ago, announcing there was no longer any need to hold back 50 per cent of doses for followup booster shots.

“I think this backs up our strategy. Our vaccination team has focused a little less on trying to get good, short-term stats by rushing everything out and a little more on better, long-term protections by holding something back.”
— Premier Brian Pallister

Officials argued, rightly, there was enough certainty in the supply chain to rely on future shipments for second doses. They said they would maintain enough supply to meet demand for the following week. Beyond that, there was no plan to build up large inventories.

The province has fallen behind since then. The Pfizer delay buys time to catch up, while claiming plans were always in place for this. That’s why, late Friday, there was an announcement of a pause in new vaccination appointments (even though Pfizer shipments are still coming; there are just going to be fewer of them).

Pallister’s comments make for great political rhetoric, but they collide with the facts.

Manitoba has administered 13,539 doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines since the immunization program began in December. The total number of vaccines received to date is 38,890. If all 5,300 doses sent to First Nations earlier this month have been used, it means only 48 per cent of doses have been injected so far. Manitoba was scheduled to receive 7,400 doses of Moderna this week. If those doses have arrived (the province refuses to confirm when it receives shipments), only 41 per cent of doses have been administered. The rest are sitting in freezers.

Manitoba chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Manitoba chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin.

Nowhere in the Pallister government’s vaccine rollout plan did it say the province planned to stockpile that much inventory in case of a supply disruption.

Part of the reason for Manitoba’s slow rollout is the delay in getting vaccines to residents of personal-care homes. The province had enough inventory to start that program in early January, but didn’t begin until Monday. In a pandemic, every day matters.

The plan is to immunize an estimated 9,834 care-home residents over 28 days. The target for the first week was 1,157, but the number has fallen well short. As of Thursday, only 281 residents had received injections.

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin would not provide any explanation for the low number Friday, other than to say there will be more updates next week.

To meet the federal government’s original shipment estimates for January and February (which will now change), Manitoba would have to administer almost 2,400 doses a day.

But just 1,130 people, including care-home residents, were vaccinated between Wednesday and Friday.

The province just can’t seem to get this program off the ground. But now there’s an excuse.

It remains unclear when the Pfizer doses will be delayed, or by how much. But politically, this could be a blessing in disguise for the Pallister government.

tom.brodbeck@freepress.mb.ca

Tom Brodbeck

Tom Brodbeck
Columnist

Tom has been covering Manitoba politics since the early 1990s and joined the Winnipeg Free Press news team in 2019.

   Read full biography

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Province claims residents seeing light at end of the COVID-19 tunnel – Nanaimo News NOW

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The optimistic statement from the province comes as the vaccine rollout suffered a blow.

Pfizer ran into production trouble while upgrading their facility, which the province admitted will create a short-term delay in the delivery of some vaccines.

Earlier on Friday, health minister Adrian Dix said the shortage will have a significant effect in February and March when only half of the 50,000 doses expected will be delivered.

Dix said this may mean public health officials will revisit leaving 35 days between the first and second dose of the vaccine, instead of the 21 to 28 days recommended by the World Health Organization. The gap was extended in an effort to provide more of the first dose to more people.

There was good news in Dr. Henry’s statement, which confirmed 509 new COVID-19 cases with 4,604 considered active. This is a decrease of roughly two hundred in two days.

Hospitalizations dipped to 349 with the number of people in critical care at its lowest point since November.

Island Health saw 13 new cases, with 175 considered active. This is a drop of more than 20 cases in two days. Ten people are in hospital for their symptoms including two receiving critical care.

The central Vancouver Island area remains the most affected in the health authority, with roughly two thirds of all active cases.

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COVID-19: B.C. health officials report 509 new cases, nine additional deaths – Vancouver Sun

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Article content continued

Henry and Dix confirmed a new outbreak at Hilltop House, a residential care facility in Squamish.

Total outbreaks in B.C.’s health-care system remain unchanged, however, as the outbreak at Villa Cathay, a downtown Vancouver nursing home, has been declared over.

The outbreak at Wingtat Game Bird Packers, a Surrey poultry plant where at least 30 workers tested positive for the coronavirus in December, has been declared over as well.

“People throughout British Columbia are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” Henry and Dix said. “As of today, thousands of people working and living in long-term care homes, health-care workers and those in remote or at-risk Indigenous communities have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As well, health officials confirmed a short-term delay in the delivery of some Pfizer vaccines, due to upgrades at the pharmaceutical company’s 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,” they said.


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