By John Hanna And Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press on December 20, 2020.
NEW YORK – A federal advisory panel recommended Sunday that people 75 and older and essential workers like firefighters, teachers and grocery store workers should be next in line for COVID-19 shots, while a second vaccine began rolling out to hospitals as the nation works to get the coronavirus pandemic under control.
The two developments came amid a vaccination program that began only in the last week and has given initial shots to about 556,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech already is being distributed, and regulators last week gave approval to the one from Moderna Inc. that began shipping Sunday.
Earlier this month, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said health care workers and nursing home residents – about 24 million people – should be at the very front of the line for the vaccines.
Sunday’s vote by the panel was who should be next in line, and by a vote of 13-1, it decided that it should be people 75 and older, who number about 20 million, as well as certain front-line workers, who total about 30 million.
The essential workers include firefighters and police; teachers and school staff; those working in food, agricultural and manufacturing sectors; corrections workers; U.S. Postal Service employees; public transit workers; and grocery store workers. They are considered at very high risk of infection because their jobs are critical and require them to be in regular contact with other people.
It’s not clear how long it will take to vaccinate those groups. Vaccine doses have come out slower than earlier projections. But at the same time, some experts noted that not everyone who is recommended to get vaccinated may choose to get a shot.
The committee also voted that behind those groups should be people aged 65 to 74, numbering about 30 million; those aged 16 to 64 with medical conditions like obesity and cancer who are at higher risk if they get COVID-19, numbering as many as 110 million; and a tier of other essential workers. This group of as many as 57 million includes a wide category of food service and utility workers but also those in legal and financial jobs and the media.
The expert panel’s recommendation next goes to the CDC director and to states as guidance to put together vaccination programs. CDC directors have almost always signed off on committee recommendations. No matter what the CDC says, there will be differences from state to state, because various health departments have different ideas about who should be closer to the front of the line.
Federal officials expect that vaccine doses will be limited for several months. CDC officials say up to 20 million are projected to start getting shots this month, another 30 million next month, and 50 million in February. That’s 100 million out of a population of more than 330 million.
Pfizer’s shots were first shipped out a week ago and started being used the next day, kicking off the nation’s biggest vaccination drive.
Public health experts say the shots – and others in the pipeline – are the only way to stop a virus that has been spreading wildly. Nationwide, more than 219,000 people per day on average test positive for the virus, which has killed over 316,000 in the U.S. and nearly 1.7 million worldwide.
Earlier Sunday, trucks left the Olive Branch, Mississippi, factory, near Memphis, Tennessee, with the vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health. The much-needed shots are expected to be given starting Monday, just three days after the Food and Drug Administration authorized their emergency rollout.
In Louisville, Kentucky, UPS driver Todd Elble said his vaccine shipment was the “most important load that I’ve hauled” in a 37-year career. His parents contracted COVID-19 in November, and his 78-year-old father died. He said the family speculates that his father got infected while travelling on a hunting trip with four other relatives to Wyoming, and some are still sick.
“I’m going to take the vaccine myself. I’m going to be first in line for my father – I’ll tell you that much – and any others that should follow,” he said. “I feel in my heart that everybody should, to help get this stopped.”
He added: “To bring this back, I feel Dad was in the truck with me today.”
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief science adviser to the federal government’s vaccine distribution effort, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that nearly 8 million doses will be distributed Monday, about 5.9 million of the Moderna vaccine and 2 million of the Pfizer vaccine.
Slaoui also predicted the U.S. will experience “a continuing surge,” with larger numbers of coronavirus cases possible from gatherings for Christmas.
“I think, unfortunately, it will get worse,” he said.
There won’t be enough shots for the general population until spring, so doses will be rationed at least for the next several months. President-elect Joe Biden pledged earlier this month to have 100 million doses distributed in his first 100 days in office, and his surgeon general nominee said Sunday that it’s still a realistic goal.
But Vivek Murthy told NBC’s “Meet the Press” it’s more realistic to think it may be midsummer or early fall before vaccines are available to the general public, rather than late spring. Murthy said Biden’s team is working toward having the shots available to lower-risk individuals by late spring but doing so requires “everything to go exactly on schedule.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s surgeon general, Jerome Adams, defended the administration’s handling of the Pfizer vaccine Sunday, a day after the Army general charge of getting COVID-19 vaccines across the U.S. apologized Saturday for “miscommunication” with states over the number of doses to be delivered in the early stages of distribution. At least a dozen states reported they would receive a smaller second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine than they had been told previously.
Gen. Gustave Perna told reporters in a telephone briefing that he made mistakes by citing numbers of doses that he believed would be ready. Slaoui said the mistake was assuming vaccines that had been produced were ready for shipment when there was a two-day delay.
“And unless it’s perfectly right, we will not release vaccine doses for usage,” he said. “And, sometimes, there could be small hiccups. There have been none, actually, in manufacturing now. The hiccup was more into the planning.”
But Adams told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “the numbers are going to go up and down.”
“It absolutely was not poor planning,” he said. “There’s what we plan. There’s what we actually allocate. There’s what’s delivered, and then there’s what’s actually put in people’s arms.”
Adams, who is Black, said he understands that mistrust of the medical community and the vaccine among Blacks “comes from a real place,” the mistreatment of communities of colour. He cited the decades-long Tuskegee experiment in Alabama, where Black men with syphilis were not treated so the disease could be studied.
He also said immigrants in the U.S. illegally should not be denied the vaccine because of their legal status because “it’s not ethically right to deny those individuals.”
“I want to reassure people that your information when collected to get your second shot, if you get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, will not be used in any way, shape or form to harm you legally,” Adams said. “That is something that I have been assured of.”
Both the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech shot require two doses several weeks apart. The second dose must be from the same company as the first. Both vaccines appeared safe and strongly protective in large, still unfinished studies.
Hanna reported from Topeka, Kansas. Also contributing was AP Radio correspondent Julie Walker in New York.
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COVID: Less than 200 cases, 2 deaths in Manitoba Saturday – CHVN Radio
According to Public health officials, there have been 180 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths in the province.
The deaths include a male in his 70s from the Rural East District in Southern Health-Santé Sud, and a male in his 80s from the Winnipeg Health Region.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 10.2%. As of 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 180 new cases of the virus have been identified bringing the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba to 27,322.
Of the 180 new cases announced Saturday, 10 are in Southern Health. One of those is in Steinbach and four are in the Niverville/Ritchot Health District.
Today’s COVID-19 data shows:
- 10 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region.
- 69 cases in the Northern health region.
- Eight cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
- 10 cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region.
- 83 cases in the Winnipeg health region.
The data also shows:
- 2,986 active cases and 23,575 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
- There are 122 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 161 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 283 hospitalizations.
- There are 19 people in intensive care units with active COVID-19 as well as 17 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care for a total of 36 ICU patients.
- The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 761. Due to a data error, one death that had been reported earlier has been removed.
Laboratory testing numbers show 2,043 tests were completed yesterday bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 450,104. Case investigations continue and if a public health risk is identified, the public will be notified.
The chief provincial public health officer reminds Manitobans to self-isolate immediately at the onset of possible COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild. This means staying home from work, school, or other daily activities. Testing should be done as soon as possible once symptoms appear.
Manitobans should only leave their homes for essential purposes. When leaving the house to obtain essentials, be sure to physically distance, wear a mask in indoor public places, and avoid crowded spaces. Do not leave the home if you are sick, or when any member of your family is sick. Further, do not socialize with anyone from outside your household.
2 deaths, 180 COVID-19 cases announced in Manitoba Saturday – Global News
Manitoba public health officials confirm two additional deaths in people with COVID-19 have been reported.
The deaths are a man in his 70s from Southern Health-Santé Sud and a man in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 10.2 per cent provincially and 7 per cent in Winnipeg.
As of 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 180 new cases of the virus have been identified and the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba has risen to 27,322.
The new cases are in the following regions:
- 10 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region
- 69 cases in the Northern health region
- eight cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
- 10 cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region
- 83 cases in the Winnipeg health region.
The data also shows there are 2,986 active cases and 23,575 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
There are 122 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 161 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 283 hospitalizations.
COVID-19 cases rising in the north
There are 19 people being treated for COVID-19 in intensive care units, as well as 17 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care, for a total of 36 ICU patients.
The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 761. Due to a data error, one death that had been reported earlier has been removed.
Laboratory testing numbers show 2,043 tests were completed Friday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 450,104.
An outbreak has been declared at Lynn Lake Hospital in northwestern Manitoba. The site has been moved to Critical (red) on the Pandemic Response System.
The outbreak at Seven Oaks General Hospital, 4U4-7 in Winnipeg is now declared over.
Coronavirus: Over half of Canadians think vaccine should be mandatory, Ipsos poll shows
Local epidemiologist Cynthia Carr says while it has been challenging to follow health restrictions, it has made a difference.
“These restrictions and the work we have done together really does matter on the serious of levels. working together we have saved almost 2,000 lives. It might have been 1,700, 1,800 or 1,600 but the reality is it mattered,” she said.
And while our numbers remain steady for now, there are still obstacles in certain regions — particularly the North.
Carr says if the pandemic hasn’t ripped the issue of housing wide open in other areas, she doesn’t know what will.
“This is an ongoing challenge. When I go to a community and do community health assessments and I talk to leadership about health, they won’t say we need a fancy hospital, X-ray machines, etc., one of the first things will be the foundation of housing.”
She says infrastructure is absolutely related to health, and it hasn’t been attended to in our northern communities.
–With files from Anya Nazeravich
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
One of Canada's oldest seniors, at 110 years old, gets COVID-19 vaccine at Surrey care home – Cowichan Valley Citizen
JaHyung Lee, a resident at a Newton care home, received his COVID-19 vaccine at the age of 110.
Amenida Seniors Community said in a news release that residents at the facility received the first dose of their vaccines on Thursday (Jan. 14). JaHyung Lee is one of Canada’s oldest seniors to be inoculated.
The second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be administered “in the coming weeks.”
“We are extremely lucky that we have received enough supplies to vaccinate all of our residents in care,” said Rosa Park, general manager at Amenida.
“As many of our seniors are elderly and require complex care, we can feel safer knowing that the virus won’t be spreading within our community.”
A reporter with the Now-Leader attended Lee’s 109th birthday in 2019. He was born on Aug. 27, 1910.
Meantime, Fraser Health says it has completed 151 vaccine clinics for long-term care and assisted living in the health region.
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