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Saskatchewan’s digital proof of vaccination launches ahead of October requirement – Red Deer Advocate

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REGINA — Saskatchewan residents were able on Monday to start downloading a digital QR code from their eHealth account showing proof of vaccination.

The government said in a news release that the code — which can be downloaded or printed — replaces the COVID-19 vaccination record that was made available in August but did not include a digital format.

The province announced last week that proof of vaccination will be required at non-essential businesses — including restaurants, casinos, movie theatres and indoor sports venues — beginning Oct. 1.

It won’t be required for civil services, retail or grocery stores, places of worship, hotels or at non-ticketed amateur sporting events.

Businesses can verify the QR codes on mobile devices using a special app.

The news release said travellers at international borders will also be able to use the code.

“This is the next, improved, version of Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 vaccination record,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said in the release.

“It has been something that travellers, businesses and organizations have been asking for.”

The announcement followed a record-breaking 543 daily cases in Saskatchewan on Sunday.

On Monday, the province reported 519 infections and two deaths. The active number of cases stood at 4,672. Some 253 people were being treated in hospital.

Saskatchewan remains in the first phase of its triage plan, which means choices are being made about which surgeries need to be cancelled to free up space.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2021.

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Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. fall to nine-week low – The Tri-City News

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B.C. continues to face sufficient serious COVID-19 infections to worry health officials, but new data shows some good news: the number of known active infections in the province has fallen to a near-10-week low.

There are 4,888 people known to be infected with COVID-19 in B.C., with the vast majority being told to self-isolate at home. The last time there were fewer known active cases was on August 13, when 4,277 people were known to be infected, and the fourth wave of the pandemic was surging. 

Of those fighting infections, 370 are in hospitals, with 139 in intensive care units (ICUs).

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said yesterday that there are around 200 people in hospitals who are not included in that count, but are dealing with lingering health problems as a result of COVID-19.  

The province’s general rule for counting COVID-19 hospital patients is to limit the official number to those who are infectious, with that meaning those who have not yet gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms. Henry said this is not a hard and fast rule, and that some people could be included in that count up to 30 days after first feeling symptoms depending on the severity of their illness. 

Another six people died from COVID-19 overnight, raising the province’s death toll from the disease to 2,092, and underscoring the seriousness of getting infected. 

Health officials detected another 696 infections overnight, raising the number of those in B.C. known to have contracted the disease to 199,534.

Of those, more than 96.3%, or 192,189 people, are deemed by the province to have recovered because they have gone more than 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore considered to be not infectious. 

Vaccinations in the general population have slowed as the vast majority of people are already vaccinated.

Health officials administered initial vaccine doses to 2,787 people in the past day, as well as second doses of vaccine to 5,870 people. 

Across B.C., 89.3% of eligible adults older than 12 have had at least one dose of vaccine, with 83.6% of eligible people having had two doses, according to the B.C. government.

Of the 4,138,787 B.C. residents who have received one dose of vaccine since mid-December, 2020, 93.6%, or 3,876,579, are fully vaccinated, with two doses. Health Minister Adrian Dix said October 19 that about 60,000 residents, who are either immunocompromised or who live in seniors’ living facilities, have received three doses of vaccine.

The B.C. government estimated in July that the province’s total population is 5,147,712, so Glacier Media’s calculation is that 80.4% of B.C.’s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 75.3% of the province’s total population has had two doses.

“We do track vaccine effectiveness, [and] hospitalization, as a measure of severe illness by what combination of vaccines people received,” Henry said October 19.

“What it does show us across the board, is that every combination is very effective at preventing severe illness. The AstraZeneca-AstraZeneca [combination] is slightly less than every other combination in terms of preventing infection, but if you go to AstraZeneca, and then in an mRNA vaccine, that protection goes back up again.” 

The small slice of the population that is not vaccinated is responsible for the lion’s share of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. 

Only 20 of the 139 people in ICUs are fully vaccinated, according to Dix.

When adjusted for age, in the week up to October 18, there were 294.3 people newly infected for each 100,000 unvaccinated British Columbians. In that same time period, there were only 86.9 people newly infected for each 100,000 partially vaccinated British Columbians, and only 32.1 people newly infected for each 100,000 fully vaccinated British Columbians. 

One new health-care facility outbreak has been detected at Swedish Assisted-Living Residence in Burnaby, raising the number of such outbreaks in the province to 24. •

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India celebrates 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses with song and dance

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 India celebrated the milestone of administering one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, with the government promoting the achievement in song and video even as a recent drop in inoculations worries healthcare providers.

After a slow beginning in the middle of January, India’s immunisation campaign has covered three-quarters of its 944 million adults with at least one dose but only 31% with two. The government wants all adults to get vaccinated this year.

“India scripts history,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter. “We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of (1.3 billion) Indians.”

Modi marked the occasion with a visit to a government hospital in New Delhi. The health ministry announced musical and other programmes across the country, and special illuminations of national monuments including a colonial-era jail.

Nearly 90% of the vaccines administered in India have come from the Serum Institute of India (SII), which produces a licensed version of the AstraZeneca drug. SII has more than tripled its capacity since April and can now produce 220 million vaccine doses a month.

SII has also slowly resumed exports for the first time since April, when the government stopped all overseas sales to meet domestic demand as infections rose dramatically.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which relies heavily on India for supplies to its global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX, congratulated the country for reaching the landmark.

“India’s progress must be viewed in the context of the country’s commendable commitment and efforts to ensure that these life-saving vaccines are accessible globally,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director WHO South-East Asia.

India has so far reported 34.1 million COVID-19 cases and more than 452,000 deaths, most during a second wave of infections of the Delta variant that surged through the country between April and May.

A “sizeable number https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-india/many-indians-skipping-second-covid-shot-despite-record-vaccine-stocks-idUSL4N2RF2G3” of people in India have not taken their second dose by the due date despite adequate supplies, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as new infections fell to their lowest since early March.

Daily shots have averaged 5 million this month, a fifth of September’s peak, though states are sitting on record stocks of more than 100 million as domestic output of the AstraZeneca vaccine soars.

Despite the current low number of infections, ministry officials have been urging people to get vaccinated fast, especially as the ongoing festival season means family gatherings and mass shopping, raising the risk of a new wave of infections.

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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U.S. coronavirus vaccine donations reach 200 million doses

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The United States, under pressure to share its  coronavirus vaccine supply with the rest of the world, has now donated 200 million doses to more than 100 countries, the White House announced on Thursday.

President Joe Biden has faced some criticism from other world leaders for offering vaccine booster shots in the United States at a time when many people around the world have not received their first shot.

In recent weeks, the United States has stepped up its donations. Biden told Kenya PresidentUhuru Kenyatta last week https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/us-donates-17-million-jj-doses-african-union-2021-10-14 that the United States will make a one-time donation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union.

“As of today, the United States has successfully donated and delivered 200 million COVID-19 vaccines to more than 100 countries around the world,” the White House said in a statement to mark the milestone.

The statement said the United States and the international COVAX vaccine-sharing programme would follow through over the next year on commitments to donate more than 1 billion doses to needy countries.

“These vaccines will help save lives, protect livelihoods, and heal economies currently battered by this pandemic,” the White House said.

 

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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