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Ontario expects to receive Moderna COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow: Hillier



TORONTO — Residents in long-term care will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines within days, and more than half of Ontarians – including some in the general population – are slated to be immunized by mid-summer, the head of the province’s inoculation campaign said Tuesday.

In an update on Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, retired Gen. Rick Hillier said the province expects to receive roughly 50,000 doses of the Moderna shot on Wednesday, and distribute them to long-term care and retirement homes.

Immunizations should begin at those sites within 48 to 72 hours after the vaccine is received, he said as the province marked another record high in new daily COVID-19 infections.

Another 50,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive in Ontario next month, largely earmarked for remote northern and Indigenous communities, he said.

The province hopes to have inoculated more than a million health-care workers and people in other vulnerable groups by the end of the first phase of its vaccine rollout, which will last through the winter, he said.

Some 15 million vaccines are set to arrive in Ontario during the spring, and while it has not yet been determined where or to whom they will be administered during the second phase of the rollout, about 8.5 million Ontarians should be able to get the shot by mid-summer, Hillier said.

“I think we can get to a lot of mainstream Ontario by late July,” he said.

“Certainly in Phase 2, we will get at a lot of the people in Ontario who don’t have underlying conditions, who are not the most vulnerable, who are not most at risk.”

Meanwhile,  Ontario’s finance minister remains out of the country after leaving for a “planned personal trip” earlier this month, according to his office.

Rod Phillips said in a statement that he and his wife left the country after the end of the provincial legislative session on Dec. 8.

He said had he known Ontario would be placed under a provincewide lockdown on Boxing Day, he would have cancelled the trip, and he plans to abide by health guidelines such as self-isolation upon his return.

Phillips has posted photos on social media in recent weeks that show him at locations in Ontario, but his office said Tuesday the photos had been taken before his departure.

The province continues to urge people to refrain from non-essential travel, and Phillips came under fire Tuesday for contravening those guidelines.

Opposition legislators said the minister should face consequences for going on an international trip when Ontarians are being told to stay home.

“These guys just think the rules don’t apply to them,” NDP legislator Sara Singh said in a statement.

News of the minister’s travel came as Ontario reported nearly 4,500 new cases of COVID-19 over two days and a total of 78 new deaths.

The province said 2,553 new infections were recorded Tuesday – a new daily peak – and 1,939 on Monday. Ontario also reported 37 new deaths on Sunday and 41 more on Monday.

Of Tuesday’s case tally, 895 were in Toronto, 496 in Peel Region, 147 in Windsor-Essex, 144 in Hamilton and 142 in York Region. Provincial COVID-19 data were not released Monday due to the holiday.

Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, said the province also hit a new high Tuesday for the proportion of COVID-19 tests coming back positive, with a positivity rate of 9.7 per cent.

While it’s too early for the spike in new infections to stem from Christmas celebrations, it’s likely connected to preparations for the holidays, she said.

Vaccinations in Ontario were also expected to return to full operations Tuesday after being scaled down over the holidays.

The province has said five vaccination clinics were open on Sunday, 10 were back in action Monday and all of them were set to resume immunizations Tuesday.

Hillier said the call to close clinics over Christmas Day and Boxing Day was the “wrong decision.”

“We’ve heard the voices of the people of Ontario, saying ‘get on with this,’ and that’s what we are going to do,” he said Tuesday.

More than 14,000 people in the province have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot as of Tuesday morning, he said.

The storage requirement for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine means it will be used primarily in hospitals, while the more recently approved Moderna vaccine will go to long-term care homes, congregate settings and more rural communities.

Hillier said he has also asked Health Canada to look into the possibility of administering only a single dose of the Moderna shot, rather than two, saying it would allow vaccinations to proceed much faster.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2020.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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Jordan to vaccinate children aged 12 years and older against COVID-19 – WNWN-FM



Jordan to vaccinate children aged 12 years and older against COVID-19 | WIN 98.5 Your Country | WNWN-FM | Battle Creek, MI

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COVID spread continues to slow in Waterloo Region –



WATERLOO REGION — The incidence rate of COVID-19 in the region continued a slow decline over the weekend, and has now reached the lowest level since last October.

According to the latest numbers released Sunday by Waterloo Region Public Health, the seven-day moving average rate of cases per 100,000 population fell to 2.5 cases per 100,000.

Although the incidence of COVID in the region is still three times higher than the provincial rate of 0.8 cases per 100,000, it’s a considerable improvement over early July, when new infections in the region were being reported at six times the provincial rate.

Sunday’s incidence rate is the lowest the region has seen since Halloween.

Part of that decline is attributable to vaccination, as more people get shots in arms.

As of Saturday, 81.36 per cent of the region’s residents over age 12 have received at least one dose, while 64.63 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

But it’s clear that it’s becoming more challenging to reach the remaining residents who haven’t yet been vaccinated.

The pace of daily vaccinations has dropped by almost half since peaking July 11. This mirrors a provincial decline as those eager to get immunized have done so.

The vast majority of shots given in July have been second doses to complete full vaccinations. Only 510 first doses were administered Saturday out of 4,969 given to regional residents, some of them from a new mobile vaccination bus that visited the St. Jacobs market.

The number of positive cases in the region increased by nine, for a total of 18,280 since the pandemic began. It’s the first time since Oct. 26 that the daily increase in cases has been in single digits.

Other indicators also showed positive trends.

The number of active cases dropped overnight by 10 to 124.

The number of outbreaks decreased by one, for a total of eight outbreaks.

The number being treated for COVID in hospital remained steady at 13, while the number of those who have died from the virus was also unchanged at 282. Thirteen people were being treated in intensive care, unchanged from Saturday.

The number of variants of concern remained steady at 4,579.

A total of 537,724 test have been carried out in the region.

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Jordan to vaccinate children aged 12 years and older against COVID-19 – Egypt Independent



BEIRUT, July 24 (Reuters) – Jordan will start vaccinating children aged 12 years and older against COVID-19 from Sunday, the state news agency said on Saturday.

Children can be given the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine with the approval of a guardian with no prior appointment necessary, the agency quoted the health ministry as saying.

The decision comes as Jordan lifted most restrictions at the start of July, reopening gyms, pools and night clubs at hotels after cases dropped from a peak in March when several thousands of new cases were recorded daily.

Total active cases reached 7,489 on Friday with 331 new cases and four deaths.

Since the start of the pandemic, Jordan has recorded a total of 763,437 cases and 9,933 deaths.

Several other countries in the region are vaccinating children, including Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Reporting By Maha El Dahan Editing by Clelia Oziel

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