The Ontario government will largely defer to the expertise of local public health units when it comes to decisions around who should receive the COVID-19 vaccine first among priority groups like health-care workers and long-term care residents.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe made the comment during a press conference on Wednesday as the province released the ethical framework that will guide its decision making in distributing COVID-19 vaccines.
She said that while the province has prioritized health-care workers, long-term care residents, home care patients with chronic conditions and First Nation communities as part of the first phase of its vaccine rollout, it will be leaving it up to local officials to determine the different subgroups that are “most at risk” within those broader classifications.
That means that decisions about which long-term care homes get the vaccine first and how health-care workers will be prioritized will largely be made at the local level in coordination with provincial officials.
“The first distribution of the Pfizer vaccine has been through a select number of hospitals due to the requirement to keep it at an extremely low temperature, however the vast amount of immunization (going forward) will be planned and coordinated through the local health units because the local health units have a very good sense of what is going on in their community,” Yaffe said. “So they will within the framework set by the province for prioritization be directing vaccine to the most risky within the priority groups.”
The Ontario government has said that it expects to be able to complete the vaccination of the initial priority groups sometime in March, at which point it will begin vaccinating the broader population.
Dr. Dirk Huyer, who is part of Ontario’s vaccine task force, said during Wednesday’s press conference that discussions are now underway about which groups will be prioritized in subsequent phases of the rollout and that “further clarification” could be provided in “the coming weeks.”
He said that as part of those discussions officials will look to prioritize those groups at higher risk of exposure, as well as those in critical roles.
The ethical framework specifically identifies “biological, social, geographical, and occupational factors” among those that should be considered in assessing risk.
It also says that the province must “actively work to reduce disparities in illness and death related to COVID-19, including disparities in the social determinants of health.”
“We want to protect those populations that are most at risk but not just due to biological factors but also due to social factors, to geological factors and occupational factors,” bioethicist Dr. Maxwell Smith, who also sits on the vaccine task force, told reporters. “It is not terribly straight forward identifying the exact populations that those point to but absolutely those are the sorts of considerations that the ethical framework requires us to think through.”
These are the six overarching principals included in Ontario’s ethical framework:
- Minimize harms and maximize benefits, to reduce overall illness and death related to COVID-19, protect those at greatest risk of serious illness and death due to biological, social, geographical and occupational factors, protect critical infrastructure, and promote social and economic well-being;
- Equity in the distribution of vaccines without bias or discrimination, to reduce disparities in illness and death related to COVID-19, and ensuring benefits for groups experiencing greater burdens from the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Fairness, to ensure that every individual within equally prioritized groups has the same opportunity to be vaccinated, and to ensure inclusive, consistent processes that are tailored to unique needs of Ontario’s many and varied communities when making decisions about vaccine prioritization;
- Transparency, to ensure the principles and rationale, decision-making processes and plans for COVID-19 prioritization are clear, understandable and communicated to the public;
- Legitimacy, making decisions based on the best available scientific evidence, shared values and input from affected parties including those historically underrepresented, to ensure decisions have the intended impact, and to include participation of affected parties in the creation and review of decisions and decision-making processes; and
- Public trust, to ensure decisions and decision-making processes are informed by these principles to advance confidence and trust in Ontario’s COVID-19 immunization program.
Source:- CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
Ontario reports 3,422 new cases of COVID-19, 69 additional deaths – 680 News
Ontario is reporting 3,422 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday with another 69 people having died as a result of the virus.
It’s the third day out of the last four that the provincial case count has surpassed 3,000.
More than half of the new deaths, 36, are attributed to long-term care settings. The total number of people in the province who have died as a result of COVID-19 now sits at 5,409. More than 400 people have passed away since last Sunday from the virus.
Toronto reported 1,035 new cases of the virus – the first time in a week that the number of new cases has topped 1,000. Peel Region reported 585 new infections, while York Region reported 246 additional cases.
Provincial health officials conducted 60,183 tests in the last 24 hours, the first time in three days provincial labs failed to complete more than 70,000 tests. That leaves the backlog of tests to be processed at just over 30,000.
Hospitalizations sit at more than 1,500, however, as is the case on the weekend a number of hospitals have not provided data to provincial officials. There are 395 COVID-19 patients in the ICU with 293 currently on a ventilator.
Ontario administered just over 11,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, bringing the provincial total to over 200,000.
Potential COVID exposure on two flights – HalifaxToday.ca
NOVA SCOTIA HEALTH
Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 on two flights from Toronto to Halifax. In addition to media releases, all potential exposure notifications are listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.
Anyone who was on the following flights in the specified rows and seats is asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.
- Air Canada flight 604 travelling on Jan. 5 from Toronto (8:00 a.m.) to Halifax (11:00 a.m.). Passengers in rows 22-28 seats C, D, E and F are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 19.
- Swoop flight 408 travelling on Jan. 8 from Toronto (5:30 p.m.) to Halifax (8:30 p.m.). Passengers in rows 16-22 seats A, B, C and D are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 22.
Do not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so. Please book an appointment online and do not go to a pop-up rapid testing location.
Currently, anyone who traveled outside Nova Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to self-isolate alone for 14 days after arriving. If a person returning from non-essential travel outside Nova Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland and Labrador is unable to isolate alone, then everyone in the home where they are self-isolating will have to self-isolate as well.
When Nova Scotia Health Public Health makes a public notification it is not in any way a reflection on the behaviour or activities of those named in the notification.
All Nova Scotians are advised to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and are urged to follow Public Health guidelines on how to access care. Up to date information about COVID-19 is available at novascotia.ca/coronavirus
Ontario wants everyone vaccinated by early August, general says – CBC.ca
Ontario wants to have everyone vaccinated by late July or early August, the head of its vaccine distribution plan told CBC News Sunday.
The updated timeline came as the province saw 3,422 new COVID-19 cases and 69 more deaths, with Toronto alone recording more than 1,000 new infections.
Retired general Rick Hillier said while accomplishing the summer goal hinges on Ontario getting a steady supply of vaccine, there’s a plan to get them in arms.
“When they come, we’re going to be able to use them all,” Hillier told the CBC’s Rosemary Barton.
“I’d love to see the province of Ontario done by the end of July or early August with all those who want to have a vaccine and who are eligible to receive it. But until we get the vaccine allocation, until we know what’s coming, we just can’t do it.”
WATCH | Hillier’s full interview on Rosemary Barton Live:
Ontario has distributed the most COVID-19 vaccines of any province, but has administered only 72 per cent of the doses it has received. You can get the latest details by using the CBC News vaccine tracker.
For now, a provincewide stay-at-home order remains in place as Ontario tries to limit the spread of the virus.
GTA continues to see bulk of province’s new cases
Toronto reported 1,035 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking another day that the province’s biggest city also had the most infections.
In addition to Toronto’s cases, there were 585 new cases in Peel, 254 in Windsor-Essex, 246 in York and 186 in the Niagara area. The new cases drive the seven-day average, a key figure that reduces noise in the data, to 3,143 new cases per day.
A further 69 more people with the illness died, bringing the province’s official death toll to 5,409.
At least 1,570 people are in hospital, and there are now 293 patients on ventilators. Just over 3,078 cases were marked resolved.
There were 60,183 tests completed, and the province’s positivity rate is now 5.2 per cent.
Ford, Tory touring future mass vaccination site
Ontario has now administered 200,097 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and remains in the first phase of its rollout plan.
Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory toured the city’s first mass vaccination site, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, on Sunday.
Mass vaccinations haven’t started yet (long-term care and health-care settings are being prioritized) but the Toronto facility is set to serve as a blueprint for what could be coming to other locations in the coming months. The city provided these details about the mass vaccination site, which it’s calling a “proof-of-concept clinic”:
- Opens Monday, but not to the general public.
- Will start with 250 vaccinations per day.
- Will use the Moderna vaccine.
Tory said he hopes the test site will provide some hope during the grey winter months.
“Vaccination is soon to come and we’re just working away at being ready to do that,” Tory said.
Ford said the province will be ready when it’s time to ramp up vaccinations in April, May and June.
“Our goal is to get as many needles in people’s arms as possible,” he said.
The two leaders didn’t take questions from reporters.
When will you get a COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s a look at how the province is prioritizing its rollout plan
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