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Ottawa researchers receive $8 million to find answers on COVID vaccines, cancer – Ottawa Citizen

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“These new studies will help us protect some of the most vulnerable populations and advance vaccine science.”

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Ottawa researchers have been awarded more than $8 million to lead four national studies in pursuit of answers about how well COVID-19 vaccines work in people with cancer and other health conditions.

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The federal government is funding the work through its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group.

“These new studies will help us protect some of the most vulnerable populations and advance vaccine science,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, executive vice-president of research at The Ottawa Hospital.

Health conditions such as cancer, diabetes and lupus can contribute to weakened immune systems, which make people more vulnerable to viral infections, including COVID-19. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments can also weaken a patient’s immune system.

A weakened system can result in a less robust response to vaccines.

Ottawa researchers will attempt to understand how people with cancer and immune conditions have responded to COVID-19 vaccines.

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Three projects will examine how well COVID-19 vaccines work in people with blood, lung, breast, prostate and colon cancers, along with inherited and medication-related immune deficiencies. A fourth project will seek to understand how long immunity lasts once acquired through a COVID-19 vaccine or through infection by the virus.

The principal researchers include:

• Dr. Arianne Buchan, an infectious disease specialist and researcher at The Ottawa Hospital, will lead a $2.1 million national study to determine how well COVID-19 vaccines work in people with blood cancer.

Buchan is recruiting people with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancers who have undergone stem cell transplants.

“Our study will provide data to help understand how our patients respond to COVID-19 vaccines and will help us protect them from infection,” said Buchan, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

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• Dr. Glenwood Goss, an oncologist and researcher at The Ottawa Hospital, will lead a $1.9 million study that will enrol 300 cancer patients in Ottawa and Vancouver, along with 150 healthy adults as a control group.

The study, Goss said, will examine whether cancer patients — people with lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer — can mount a sufficient immune response following a COVID-19 vaccination.

More than two million Canadians are currently living with cancer.

As part of the study, blood samples will be collected from participants to measure vaccine-induced immune responses and antibody production.

• Dr. Juthaporn Cowan, an infectious disease physician and researcher at The Ottawa Hospital, is leading a $2.5 million national study to investigate how people with inherited and medication-induced immune deficiencies respond to the COVID-19 vaccine.

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As part of the study, researchers will seek to recruit 460 patients at 12 sites, including Ottawa, with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

Cowan, an assistant professor at uOttawa, said she hopes the study will allow researchers to better understand which parts of the immune system are essential in generating an immune response to COVID-19 vaccines. Such information, she said, could help in the design of future vaccines.

• Dr. Angela Crawley, a scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and an assistant professor at uOttawa, is leading a $1.7 million project to expand an earlier study, known as Stop The Spread Ottawa. Launched in October 2020, that study has already recruited more than 1,000 people who tested positive for COVID-19 or faced a high risk of exposure.

The new funding will allow researchers to expand the study and follow participants into 2022 to understand their ongoing immune system reactions to COVID-19 and to vaccines. The study will examine the impact of age and of “long-haul” COVID-19.

As part of the study, blood and saliva samples have been collected from participants each month since October 2020. Many of those involved in the study are front-line workers.

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Ottawa Public Health will take vaccines to businesses and groups to increase coverage – Ottawa Citizen

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Community organizations, faith leaders and employers who have a group of people who may benefit from a mobile clinic are asked to contact OPH at 613-691-5505.

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In an effort to reach people who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, Ottawa Public Health is preparing to send mobile vaccination teams to workplaces, places of worship and community groups on request.

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The program is intended to help reduce barriers for people who have not yet received the vaccine “by working with community leaders to provide comfortable, convenient and easily accessible options for vaccination,” the city said in a release. “This is just one more initiative to help ensure that anyone 12 years of age and older in Ottawa who wants the COVID-19 vaccine can get vaccinated.”

Sixty-six per cent of Ottawa residents over the age of 12 are now fully vaccinated and 83 per cent have received at least one dose.

But the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said this week that the more transmissible Delta variant will continue to threaten the province until 90 per cent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.

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While Ottawa leads the province when it comes to vaccination rates of teens between 12 and 17, many health experts have said the final 10-20 per cent of the population will be the hardest to vaccinate because of barriers and hesitancy.

The Ottawa mobile vaccination program announced Thursday aims to address that.

Community organizations, faith leaders and employers who have a group of people who may benefit from a mobile clinic are asked to contact OPH at 613-691-5505.

There are still many appointments available through the provincial booking site (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/ ) for anyone who wants a vaccine. Many pharmacies and family physicians also have vaccines available.

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B.C. sees highest number of COVID-19 cases in a month – The Globe and Mail

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British Columbia’s COVID-19 cases are creeping up again with the province reporting the highest numbers in a month.

Health officials reported 89 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, figures last seen in mid-June.

In a news release, officials say the total number of active infections in B.C. is 781 and there have been no new deaths.

There are 53 people are in hospital with 15 in intensive care.

Health officials say there are two outbreaks in the Fraser Health region, in an acute care facility and a long-term home.

Officials say more than 80 per cent of those eligible have received their first vaccine dose, while 57 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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Vancouver Islands adds 3 new COVID-19 cases | CTV News – CTV News VI

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VICTORIA —
B.C. health officials have identified three new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Thursday.

The cases were among 89 new cases found across the province over the past 24 hours.

There are currently 781 active cases of COVID-19 across the province, including 18 active cases in the Island Health region, according to the Ministry of Health.

Island Health identified the locations of 17 active cases Thursday, including 12 in the South Island, three in the Central Island and two in the North Island.

Since the pandemic began, 148,730 cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the province, including 5,203 found in the Vancouver Island region.

No new deaths related to the disease were reported in B.C. over the past 24 hours.

Since the pandemic began, 1,763 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C., including 41 people in the Island Health region.

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, there are currently two people in hospital for treatment of the disease in the Island Health region, but no one in critical care.

As of Thursday, 80.2 per cent of people aged 12 and older had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C., while 56.9 per cent of eligible people had received two doses.

In total, B.C. has administered 6,361,627 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier Thursday, Island Health announced that a new “Vax Van” would be making stops across the island to offer first-dose vaccinations.

Details on the Vax Van, including its upcoming schedule, can be found here.

Backstory:

CTV News Vancouver Island reports the daily COVID-19 case counts as reported by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, which are based on BCCDC data. There may be a discrepancy between the daily case counts reported by the BCCDC and Island Health.

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