South Korean officials refused to suspend a seasonal influenza inoculation effort on Thursday, despite growing calls for a halt, including an appeal from a key group of doctors, after the deaths of at least 13 of those vaccinated.
Health authorities said they found no direct links between the deaths and the vaccines.
At least 11 of the 13 dead, including a 17-year-old boy, were part of a campaign to inoculate 19 million teenagers and senior citizens for free, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
“The number of deaths has increased, but our team sees low possibility that the deaths resulted from the shots,” the agency’s director, Jeong Eun-kyeong, told Parliament.
South Korea ordered a fifth more flu vaccines this year to ward off what it calls a “twindemic,” or the prospect that people with flu develop coronavirus complications and overburden hospitals in winter.
“I understand and regret that people are concerned about the vaccine,” said Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said, who confirmed the free program would go ahead.
“We’re looking into the causes but will again thoroughly examine the entire process in which various government agencies are involved, from production to distribution.”
Vaccine providers include domestic firms such as GC Pharma, SK Bioscience, Korea Vaccine and Boryung Biopharma, a unit of Boryung Pharm, along with France’s Sanofi.
They supply both the free program and paid services that together aim to vaccinate about 30 million of a population of 52 million.
Of the 13 who died, five received products from SK Bioscience, three from Boryung, two each from GC Pharma and Korea Vaccine and one from Sanofi.
All four domestic firms declined to comment, while Sanofi did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
It was not immediately clear if any of the vaccines made in South Korea were exported, or if those supplied by Sanofi were also being used elsewhere.
Medical association calls for pause
The Korean Medical Association, an influential grouping of doctors, urged the government to halt all inoculation programs for now, to allay public concerns and ensure the vaccines were safe.
Kim Chong-in, leader of the main opposition People Power party, wanted the program halted until the causes of the deaths were verified.
But health authorities have said a preliminary investigation into six deaths found no direct link to the vaccines, with no toxic substances uncovered.
KDCA data on Thursday showed at least seven of the nine people it investigated had underlying conditions.
The free program has proved controversial since it began last month. The launch had been suspended for three weeks after the discovery that about five million doses were kept at room temperature rather than being refrigerated, as required.
Officials said 8.3 million people had been inoculated since the program resumed on Oct. 13, with about 350 cases of adverse reactions reported.
A separate paid program allows buyers to pick from a larger pool of firms that make free vaccines and others.
The most deaths in South Korea linked to seasonal flu vaccinations was six in 2005, the Yonhap news agency said. Officials have said comparisons to previous years are tough, since more people are taking the vaccine this year.
Kim Myung-suk, 65, is among a growing number of South Koreans who decided to pay for a vaccine of their choice, despite being eligible for a free dose.
“Though just a few people died so far, the number is growing and that makes me uneasy,” she told Reuters in the capital, Seoul. “So I’m getting a shot somewhere else and will pay for it.”
30 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Simcoe Muskoka, local total reaches 1,983 – Global News
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed 30 new novel coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the local total number of cases up to 1,983, including 52 deaths.
Fourteen of the new cases are in Barrie, while six are in New Tecumseth, three are in Bradford and two are in Springwater.
The rest are in Collingwood, Essa, Innisfil and Tiny Township.
Twelve of the new cases are a result of close contact with another positive COVID-19 case, while seven are community-acquired. Two of the new cases are related to an educational setting outbreak, while on is travel-related.
The rest of the new cases are all under investigation.
This week, the health unit has reported 149 new coronavirus cases.
Last week, there were 200 new COVID-19 cases in the region, marking the highest number of cases reported in a single week since the start of the pandemic.
Ontario may not get coronavirus vaccine in early 2021: Health minister
Of the region’s total 1,983 coronavirus cases, 87 per cent — or 1,717 — have recovered, while 13 people remain in hospital.
There are 13 total COVID-19 outbreaks in the region — at four schools, two long-term care facilities, two congregate settings, two workplaces, one retirement home and two community settings.
The school outbreaks are at St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School, Willow Landing Elementary School and Warnica Public School, all of which are in Barrie, as well as Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School in Angus.
There has been 61 outbreaks in Simcoe Muskoka since the start of the pandemic — at 20 long-term care facilities, 14 workplaces, 10 retirement homes, eight educational settings, six congregate settings and three community settings.
According to the province of Ontario, 14 schools under the public Simcoe County school board and the Catholic Simcoe Muskoka school board are reporting at least one case of COVID-19.
The affected schools are:
- Warnica Public School in Barrie
- Innisdale Secondary School in Barrie
- Monsignor Clair Catholic School in Barrie
- St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Barrie
- Willow Landing Elementary School in Barrie
- St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie
- Bradford District High School
- Fieldcrest Elementary School in Bradford
- Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School in Essa
- Our Lady of Grace School in Essa
- Boyne River Public School in New Tecumseth
- St. Paul’s Catholic School in New Tecumseth
- Holy Family Catholic School in New Tecumseth
- Nantyr Shores Secondary School in Innisfil
On Thursday, Ontario reported 1,373 new coronavirus cases, bringing the provincial total to 107,883, including 3,554 deaths.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Health unit reports 29 new COVID cases in Simcoe County today – OrilliaMatters
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is reporting 30 new COVID-19 cases in the region today, at least 29 of which are Simcoe County residents.
Almost half of the new cases reported today are Barrie residents with 14 new cases in the city.
Of those 14 cases, nine are between the ages of 18 and 34 (one female and eight males). The transmission source is reported as close contact for five of those cases, one community-acquired, and one travel. The rest are still under investigation.
The remaining five Barrie cases include a woman between 35 and 44 years old, and two women and two men between 45 and 64 years old. The transmission sources for those cases include three community-acquired, one close contact, and one under investigation.
The health unit is also tracking a community setting outbreak in Barrie involving a hockey team. There are at least eight positive cases linked to the outbreak.
There are three new cases in Bradford West Gwillimbury, all linked to close contact. The cases include two men between 45 and 64 years old and a woman over the age of 80.
Among the new cases is a Collingwood man aged 65 to 79 years old. His case transmission is still under investigation. This is the fifth local case since Nov. 20, and the other four cases have been linked to close contact or community transmission.
There is also one new case in Innisfil today, a woman between 65 and 79 years old, and it remains under investigation.
There are two new cases in Springwater, including a boy under 18 and a man between 35 and 44 years old. The boy’s case is linked to close contact and the man’s case is linked to an educational setting outbreak.
There are six new cases in New Tecumseth, including one woman and two men between 18 and 34 years old, a man between 35 and 44 years old, and a woman and a man between 45 and 64 years old. The case transmission sources include two close contact, one community-acquired, and one linked to an educational setting outbreak out of the region. The remaining cases are under investigation.
The health unit has confirmed one new case in Tiny, a man between 18 and 34 years old, which is reported as community-acquired.
There is one new case in Essa today, a man between 18 and 34 years old, which is reported as community-acquired.
Lastly, the health unit has reported one case, a man between 35 and 44, whose transmission source and location information is still pending.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has reported a total of 1,983 cases of COVID-19, with 1,891 of those in Simcoe County. There are 1,717 cases listed as recovered in the region. Thirteen people are currently hospitalized, all are Simcoe County residents. The health unit has confirmed 52 deaths since March.
The incidence rate for Simcoe County is 358 cases per 100,000 people. With a seven-day average of 29.2 cases per 100,000 people in a week. The region’s reproductive rate shows every person who contracts COVID-19 transmits it to 1.1 other people, and testing data shows 2.1 per cent of people who are tested in the region test positive for COVID-19.
|Municipality||Total cases**||Recoveries||Deaths||In Hospital||Last case reported||Incidence rate*|
|Bradford W-G||347||300||12||1||Nov. 26||808|
|New Tecumseth||337||289||12||1||Nov. 26||813|
|Wasaga Beach||35||31||1||Nov. 23||152|
|Georgian Bay||9||8||Nov. 24||319|
*Incidence rate is number of cases per 100,000 people in the local population.
**Total cases includes the number of cases currently recovering at home as well as any that have recovered, died, or are in hospital
Another record-breaking COVID-19 update: B.C. adds 887 cases, 13 deaths – CTV News Vancouver
British Columbia added 887 cases of COVID-19 to its total on Thursday, setting a new daily record for the province.
Health officials also announced 13 deaths in their written statement on B.C.’s response to the disease. That ties the record set on Wednesday.
“We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in their statement.
The province has now seen 29,973 cases and 384 deaths since the pandemic began.
As of Thursday, there are 7,899 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C., which is also a record. That total includes 294 people who are hospitalized, 64 of whom are in intensive care.
The update comes the day after health officials revised several previous reports on B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload because of technical errors in the Fraser Health region.
The province had previously announced 941 new cases on Tuesday, which was a record, but some of those cases actually should have been reported earlier in the month.
The changes meant B.C.’s record for new cases in a day was actually 835, which should have been the total reported for Saturday, Nov. 21. B.C. initially reported 713 for that day.
In Thursday’s update, Dix and Henry also announced two new outbreaks of COVID-19 at health-care facilities – at Royal Ascot Care Centre in Vancouver and Amica White Rock.
Three other outbreaks – at Hamlets at Westsyde in Kamloops, Peace Portal Seniors Village in Surrey and Village by the Station in Penticton – are over, the health officials said.
“Slow and steady is what we need with COVID-19 and it is how we will get through this second wave,” Henry and Dix said. “The efforts we make each day make a difference.”
The pair repeated their request that British Columbians do what they can to help public health teams do their jobs. Those teams are currently following up regularly with 10,307 people who have been exposed to confirmed cases of COVID-19.
“Exposures and transmission can happen anywhere,” Dix and Henry said. “By paying attention to the places we go and the people we see, we can help contact tracers contain the further spread if that does occur.”
Most of Thursday’s new cases are located in the Fraser Health region, where 612 infections have been confirmed in the last 24 hours. Vancouver Coastal Health has recorded 168 cases in that time.
Elsewhere in B.C., there have been 65 cases in Interior Health, 24 in Northern Health and 18 in Island Health.
Nearly 20,000 people – 19,998 as of Thursday – who have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. are now considered recovered.
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