Canada’s top doctor says increasing awareness of the reliability of vaccination not only against the fast-approaching seasonal flu but also COVID-19 is a top priority for her team moving forward.
Dr. Theresa Tam was responding to a new survey by Statistics Canada that shows about one in seven Canadians are either somewhat unlikely or very unlikely to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s made available.
“Every concern is a valid concern and we do need to address them in more detail, especially as we are working very hard in the provision of a safe and effective vaccine or vaccines for Canadians,” she told reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday.
Tam said enhancing vaccine confidence is a key pillar of her team’s fall planning process and more information is needed to better understand Canadians’ reluctance to immunization.
“I think it’s important to recognize that we do need more information on who this group is, whether a heterogeneous group or it could be very specific populations in Canada, which needs specific engagement on this front.”
Tam and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo warned against misinformation about vaccine safety online and explained why social media giants have a role to play in sharing trusted material.
“This is the first pandemic in the age of the Internet and social media. This is an area of significant work because we have an overload of information through which many Canadians can’t sort out what is credible and what is not,” she said.
“I look towards different partners, government departments coming together to look at how we better address some of the myths and misinformation that is in that space. I think fundamentally it’s a massive challenge.”
The Statistics Canada report also shows that nearly 58 per cent of respondents said that they were very likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a majority being 65 and older.
Those who indicated vaccine hesitancy listed a lack of confidence in the safety of the vaccine and concerns about risks and side effects as the two major factors for their response.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), in consultation with the Canadian Immunization Committee and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, just recently published a fact sheet about how COVID-19 would impact the distribution of the seasonal influenza vaccine.
It lists a series of potential hurdles such as a lack of available health-care workers to administer the flu shot, concerns around enhanced exposure to COVID-19 for Canadians entering into health-care facilities, and limited access to personal protective equipment.
Among the solutions, PHAC suggests administering vaccines in non-traditional health-care settings such as pharmacies, congregate living facilities, and workplaces; holding extended clinic hours to avoid crowding; and enforcing mandatory screening, masks, and physical distancing.
“The seasonal influenza immunization campaign provides an opportunity to develop and practice approaches that may be used for the anticipated COVID-19 immunization program and to ensure consideration of the diverse needs of population groups,” reads the PHAC website.
Njoo said above all else, it’s important for Canadians to understand that speed doesn’t undermine safety when sourcing a vaccine to fight the virus.
“Canadians should be assured that the regimes we have in Canada in terms of our regulatory system is among the most stringent and the most respected throughout the world so in terms of safety and security, I think Canadians can be assured that if there is a vaccine that’s developed, it will go through all of the appropriate steps here in Canada.”
Three Foothills units placed under 'outbreak watch' as Alberta reports 153 new COVID-19 cases – Calgary Herald
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“A unit can be on watch without having any active patient or staff cases.”
AHS added that patients, families, staff and physicians are all notified when a unit is placed under watch.
The outbreaks at Foothills continued to grow Friday. One more patient tested positive for COVID-19, while five more hospital staff were infected. In total, positive cases in 17 patients and 18 health-care workers have been linked to the outbreaks.
More than a dozen more workers at Foothills have also been instructed to isolate, for a total of 136 staff members currently in quarantine. More than 300 staff have been tested for the novel coronavirus since the start of the outbreaks.
No new deaths at Foothills were reported Friday. Three patients have died due to the outbreaks.
AHS said all patients and almost all health-care workers linked to the outbreaks have been identified, with testing underway.
Though the Foothills outbreak continues to expand, Alberta reported Friday that a much smaller outbreak at another Calgary hospital has been declared over. An outbreak at the Peter Lougheed Centre resulted in infections of three people, all of whom have recovered.
153 new COVID-19 cases
Alberta reported 153 new cases of the coronavirus Friday, bringing the province’s total case count since March to 17,343.
The new cases came from 14,211 tests, about a 1.1 per cent positive rate. There are now 1,497 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta, an increase from Thursday. More than half of those cases (773) are in the AHS Edmonton zone.
Alberta reports more than 100 COVID-19 cases for 16th straight day – CTV Edmonton
Alberta reported 153 cases of COVID-19 Friday as active infections increased to 1,497.
The province has added more than 100 cases every day since Sept. 9, when it reported 98 new cases.
Fifty-six Albertans are being treated for the coronavirus in hospital, including the 14 patients who are in intensive care.
Alberta did not report new deaths Friday, keeping the total at 261.
The Edmonton zone continues to have more than half of Alberta’s count with 786 confirmed cases, while the Calgary zone has 518.
Alberta has reported 17,343 cases of COVID-19 to date.
Alberta reports 153 new cases of COVID-19, no new deaths – CBC.ca
Alberta reported 153 new cases of COVID-19 Friday bringing the number of active cases in the province to 1,497, up 35 from the day before.
A total of 56 people were being treated in Alberta hospitals for the illness, including 14 in intensive care.
No deaths were recorded leaving the number at 261.
Three more outbreaks at schools — Calgary’s Clarence Sansom and Glenmeadows schools and Elsie Yanik Catholic School in Fort McMurray — have been reported, bringing the number of schools with outbreaks to 35.
Outbreaks are declared when a school has two or more cases.
Five schools, with five or more cases, are on a provincial ‘watch’ list. Four of those schools are in Edmonton, with Centre High the most recent addition.
The regional breakdown of active cases was:
- Edmonton zone: 786 up 13 from the day before.
- Calgary zone: 518 up 23 from the day before.
- North zone: 129 down one from the day before.
- South zone: 41, up one from the day before.
- Central zone: 16, down three from the day before.
- Unknown: seven, up two from the day before.
To date 968,031 Albertans have been tested for the coronavirus. So far 15,585 have recovered from the disease.
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