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Quebec to give third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care residents – Burnaby Now



MONTREAL — Quebec announced Tuesday it would offer people in long-term care homes and seniors residences a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine in a move to prevent outbreaks in the facilities that bore the brunt of the pandemic’s first wave.

The extra dose, which will also be offered to residents of other congregate care settings, is intended to protect people with waning immunity amid a rise in the number of COVID-19 outbreaks in those facilities, Health Minister Christian Dubé said in Quebec City. He said about 220,000 people live in centres where the booster shots will be available.

“We have about 150 active cases among these people, so it’s very few,” Dubé said. “The measure is much more preventive than corrective.” At the beginning of the month, there were around 10 cases of COVID-19 in those facilities, he added.

Dubé said public health officials are recommending that third doses be administered around six months after the second, adding that the province plans to give the booster shots along with seasonal flu vaccinations, which begin in late October.

Quebec, which already offers a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to people who are severely immunocompromised, is not yet planning to make a third dose of vaccine available to older age groups living at home, he said.

Public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda said that older people who live at home tend to be in better health and have fewer contacts than those who live in long-term care.

Quebec’s initial decision to wait 16 weeks between first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine has also given people a higher level of protection than those in Israel and the United States, where the interval was much shorter, Arruda said.

Dr. Sophie Zhang, who oversees 15 long-term care centres in Montreal, said that a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in congregate care facilities is to be expected given the increased circulation of the disease in Quebec.

“We know that community transmission is the number one predictor of when we are going to start getting cases in facilities,” she said in an interview. The fact that the number of cases remains relatively small is a sign that vaccination, as well testing and isolation protocols, is working, she added.

Zhang said that while she’s not opposed to giving long-term care residents a third dose, other factors need to be considered, including the shortage of vaccines in other parts of the world.

“We can’t just protect our own and not look at the situation elsewhere,” she said.

Arruda said global vaccine supplies are one of the factors Quebec is considering. He said the province is offering third doses to the most vulnerable because it will save lives, adding that there would have to be a “damn good reason” to offer third doses to all Quebecers at a time when there’s a global shortage.

The announcement came the same day Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended giving booster shots to “long-term care residents and seniors living in other congregate settings” at least six months after their second doses.

Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta have made third doses available to people in congregate care settings, while Manitoba is offering third doses to residents of long-term care facilities in First Nations communities.

Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist at the McGill University Health Centre, said he thinks giving people in long-term care a third does makes sense given the data from other countries that has shown waning immunity after six months.

Vinh said that while it makes sense to prioritize people in long-term care because they are more vulnerable, other seniors may also need boosters in the future. He said he’s also worried about the eight per cent of Quebec residents over sixty who haven’t received their first shot.

“A third-dose booster for those who are fully vaccinated is one measure that we need to do to protect our elderly, but we really need to make sure we get the first two doses to the remaining eight per cent ASAP, because those are the ones who are getting sick now, getting hospitalized,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Quebec reported 469 new cases of COVID-19, the lowest number of new daily cases since August, and six deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

The Health Department said the number of hospitalizations rose by 22, to 321, and 94 people were in intensive care, down one from the day before.

The province’s public health institute said 89.3 per cent of Quebec residents 12 and over have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 85.2 per cent are considered adequately vaccinated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2021.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

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Former U.S. President Clinton leaves hospital, will return to New York



Former U.S. President Bill Clinton walked out of a Southern California hospital on Sunday after being admitted last week for a Urological Infection, live video showed.

Clinton, 75, will return to New York and remain on antibiotics, Dr. Alpesh Amin, who had been overseeing his care at the hospital, said in a statement released by Clinton’s spokesman. His fever and white blood cell count have normalized, Amin added.

The former president had been in California for an event for his foundation and was treated at the University of California Irvine Medical Center’s intensive care unit after suffering from fatigue and being admitted on Tuesday.

He left the medical center accompanied by his wife, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The two-term president, who has had previous heart problems, held the White House from 1993 to 2001.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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UAE’s daily COVID-19 cases fall below 100



United Arab Emirates on Sunday recorded a drop in daily COVID-19 cases to below 100 for the first time since the start of the outbreak last year as it hosts a huge world fair to which it hopes to attract millions of visits.

The Health Ministry reported 99 new cases, down from a peak of nearly 4,000 a day in January. The UAE’s cumulative death toll stands at 2,120.

The regional tourism and business hub, which still largely requires masks in public places, has one of the world’s highest immunisation rates.

Around 96% of the population of roughly 10 million have received one vaccine dose, while some 86% are fully vaccinated, according to latest official data.

Other Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia have also seen daily coronavirus cases fall to below 100.

The UAE is hoping to boost its economy by attracting 25 million business and tourist visits to Expo 2020 Dubai, the first world fair to be held in the Middle East. The event began on Oct. 1 and will run for six months.


(Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Surge in demand: Distribution of COVID-19 rapid-test kits cut short in New Brunswick – CTV News Atlantic




Faced with long lineups and heavy demand, health officials in New Brunswick were forced to cut short the distribution of free COVID-19 rapid-test kits at three locations Saturday.

At Magic Mountain on Magnetic Hill in Moncton, cars lined up kilometres down the road.

It was the first time the province provided rapid test kits to the public for take-home use.

Danica Gautreau, a nurse practitioner who has her own practice, said some people arrived as early as 6 a.m. which was two hours before they opened.

“They are going pretty fast. There is a lot of people,” she said.

The sites opened on Saturday were located in Moncton, Grand Falls and Perth-Andover were scheduled to run from 8 a.m. To 5 p.m.

But by noon, the Moncton site had handed out all 4,500 kits. According to the province, pick-up sites had to close early due to the overwhelming demand for tests.

“We didn’t really know how much interest it would be, we didn’t know it would be that many people,” she said.

Many people in line at the Moncton location reported waiting between 30 and 90 minutes to get a kit.

Gautreau said that each person in the vehicle gets one COVID-19 rapid test kit which has 5 tests within it. Those who currently have COVID-19 symptoms or have contracted the virus within the last 90 days were not able to take home a test.

On Friday, New Brunswick’s Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told CTV News that the province is hoping by offering tests to the public will help determine if there are more cases out there.

“It’s really important for public health to know how many active cases there are in the province. At this point, we’ve been able to keep contact tracing going but we want to try and prevent community spread,” she said.

Shephard said as of this week the province has deployed over a million rapid tests.

“I think if individuals are going to pick up the tests, they’re doing that for a reason, to either assure themselves but also to know that they should be isolating if they need to,” said Shephard.

On Monday, rapid testing kits will be handed out at more locations across the province, not limited to circuit breaker zones.

-With files from The Canadian Press. 

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