Ontario asks Ottawa to work with WHO on ensuring mixed vaccines recognized abroad – CBC.ca
Ontario has asked the federal government to ensure Canadians who received mixed COVID-19 vaccines will be cleared for international travel as border measures lift.
Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones wrote to Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and other federal officials on Sunday about the issue.
“We ask the Government of Canada to work with the WHO to update its guidance to international partners that mixing vaccines should be internationally accepted as a complete vaccine regimen,” they wrote.
Ontario and other provinces have offered residents the option of taking one shot each of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines or an mRNA shot after a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Provinces offered the mixed option this year as the country grappled with a shifting incoming vaccine supply schedule and concerns about a rare but serious blood clot disorder linked to the AstraZeneca shot.
WATCH | COVID-19: What we know about mixing vaccines
The ministers wrote that it’s critical to “the integrity” of vaccination programs that people who “have done the right thing” by taking doses of two different vaccines are considered immunized abroad.
“As the federal government opens international travel, we believe these Ontarians should also be considered ‘fully immunized’ by other countries both at international borders and in their activities within those jurisdictions,” they said.
They argue that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not approved by the U.S. federal drug authority, should be seen as valid internationally “on any certificate or passport.”
The letter notes that some European Union countries are using a similar mixed-dose approach to vaccination and said Ontario is looking forward to the outcome of conversations with those countries and with the United States.
Concerns have been raised in recent weeks about potential barriers facing people who mixed their COVID-19 shots.
The U.S. has been reluctant to sanction the practice of following a Moderna shot with a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or vice versa, while many European countries don’t recognize the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot made at the Serum Institute of India — which may affect Canadians who received it.
Several cruise lines also have said they won’t accept customers who have received different types of vaccine, or mixed brands at all.
WATCH | The Public Health Agency of Canada is set to work with international partners to ensure ease of travel for Canadians with mixed vaccine doses
In their Sunday letter, the Ontario ministers also raised the issue of border measures for international travellers as Canada plans to loosen some travel restrictions aimed at limiting COVID-19’s spread.
Ottawa announced last week that fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed into Canada without a 14-day quarantine as of Aug. 9. Eligible travellers in other parts of the world will be permitted to enter without quarantine on Sept. 7.
The rules apply to people who have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.
Jones and Elliott wrote to Ottawa on “the importance of ensuring effective measures at the border for those who are not yet fully immunized,” and asked for “enforced and effective” quarantine rules for non-vaccinated travellers coming into the country.
They also asked for a consistent approach to international travel across land, air and water borders and at all points of entry.
Ford says provincial certification not needed
Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said again on Monday that he doesn’t believe Ontario needs a vaccine certification system.
“It’s just not needed,” Ford said, speaking in Ottawa. “So we’re going to have people 80 per cent — hopefully — fully vaccinated and we just don’t need it.”
He said it’s up to the federal government to decide whether to create a vaccine passport for international travel, and if it does, he’s “not going to balk at that.”
A group of experts advising the Ford government on the pandemic last week said a domestic proof-of-vaccination system would help speed up reopening and help prepare for a potential resurgence in cases — something Ontario’s top doctor has said will likely happen in the fall.
Ford also repeated Monday that he doesn’t support mandatory vaccinations of health workers, noting that they already have high vaccination rates.
Professional groups representing doctors and registered nurses in Ontario have publicly supported mandatory vaccination for health care workers.
The provincial Liberals joined those calls on Monday, with their leader, Steven Del Duca, calling for mandatory shots for education and health workers and for provincial proof of vaccination.
Ford is “jeopardizing Ontario’s reopening by not planning ahead to prevent a fourth wave,” Del Duca said in a statement.
Ontario reported 119 COVID-19 cases on Monday and three deaths from the virus.
Eighty per cent of adults in Ontario have at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 67 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Women More Likely to Suffer Adverse Mental Health Effects After Stroke: Report
A new report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation shows that women are more likely to suffer adverse mental health effects after a stroke, and that services and supports are lacking.
The report, Stroke and Mental Health: The Invisible and Inequitable Effects on Women, was released on Thursday.
Dr. Clair Barefoot, clinical psychologist at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, says recovering from a stroke can take a big toll on people.
That, coupled with the additional roles women often take on—such as caring for children, can cause additional strain and force them to leave rehab early.
Barefoot says supports and services are generally lacking across Canada.
She says it is quite difficult and expensive for people to find personalized care, so she would like to see more psychologists in hospitals and more funding for the private sector so that people can access more of those services after they’re discharged.
Grail says over 400 patients incorrectly informed they may have cancer
Cancer test maker Grail Inc said on Friday that its telemedicine vendor erroneously sent letters to about 400 patients suggesting they may have developed cancer.
Grail’s flagship cancer detection blood test Galleri is designed to detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear.
The company, owned by Illumina Inc, ILMN-Q said the letters were mistakenly sent by PWNHealth due to a software issue and that it “was in no way related to or caused by an incorrect Galleri test result”.
Grail said it had reached out to the patients immediately after the issue, adding that no patient health information has been disclosed or breached due to this.
The software issue being faced by PWNHealth has now been resolved, it said.
Illumina is currently appealing regulatory orders in the U.S. and EU, which are asking the gene sequencing company to divest Grail after it jumped regulators to close its acquisition of the cancer test maker.
Rates of infectious sexual diseases on the decline in region – CambridgeToday
Unprotected sex with more than one partner in a six month period is the biggest risk factor behind a recent rise in syphilis cases in Waterloo region, according to a report on infectious disease trends from Region of Waterloo Public Health.
The annual infectious diseases surveillance report gathers and analyzes information on the infectious diseases that physicians, laboratories and hospitals are required to report to the region’s public health unit in line with Ontario Public Health Standards.
Infectious diseases are illnesses caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that have the potential to cause serious illness and outbreaks.
There were 116 reports of infectious syphilis in the region last year, a rate of 17.8 per 100,000 population compared to 23.1 across the province. The number is down from a high of 143 reported cases in 2021, and a rate of 22.2 per 100,000 that was higher than the provincial average of 20.6.
The report says rates of syphilis, while lower than the province, have increased substantially in recent years, especially among females. This trend has also been observed in the province, which suggests a shift in epidemiology and sexual health practices.
The most common sexually transmitted infections in Waterloo Region continue to be chlamydia and gonorrhea.
There were 1,388 cases of chlamydia reported across the region last year, a rate of 192.8 per 100,000 population compared to 255.9 provincially. That’s down slightly from the age-standardized rate of 196.9 per 100,000 reported in 2021.
Gonorrhea case counts continued to spike across the province in 2022, while experiencing a slight decline in the rate of infection in Waterloo region.
Waterloo region reported 266 cases last year, a rate of 38.2 per 100,000. That’s compared to 77.5 per 100,000 province-wide.
Across the board, the demographic with the highest number of cases of sexually transmitted infections locally and across the province is the 20 to 29 age group.
Mpox, previously known as monkeypox, was declared a disease of global public health concern and became a newly reportable disease in Ontario in 2022.
There were only four local cases of mpox last year. Public Health says it has been monitoring the situation, working with health care providers to provide up-todate treatment guidance, and providing mpox vaccines to high-risk individuals.
The mpox virus is most commonly spread to people through close, physical contact with an infected person.
Campylobacter enteritis and salmonellosis were the most common enteric diseases in Waterloo Region in 2022. The local rates for enteric diseases were similar to or lower than those of the province.
Risk factors for enteric illnesses such as Campylobacter enteritis and salmonellosis include consuming undercooked meats and unpasteurized dairy products, ingesting contaminated food or water, and contact with infected persons.
Rates of vaccine preventable diseases in Waterloo Region were similar to those of the province. The most common vaccine preventable diseases in Waterloo Region were pneumococcal disease and pertussis (whooping cough).
In 2022, as we returned to normal activities, we saw a return of circulating respiratory viruses including pertussis with rates higher than had been seen during the first two years of the pandemic.
Public Health says immunization is the best way to prevent whooping cough. Pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for infants, older adults 65 years and older, and those at high risk from the infection.
Region of Waterloo Public Health undertakes a number of activities to prevent or reduce the burden of infectious diseases in the community.
Programs and services include case management, contacts and exposures for diseases of public health significance; inspections, investigations and outbreak management, including community outbreaks and those in institutions; health promotion activities and services for primary care providers, emergency service workers, childcare providers, and other community groups; and clinic-based services for sexual health, immunization, and tuberculosis screening and management.
Region of Waterloo Public Health says it will provide highlights of respiratory disease trends, including influenza, in a report to council this fall.
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