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The latest news on COVID 19 developments in Canada on Dec. 16, 2020 – The Tri-City News

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (All times Eastern):

1 p.m.

Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 today.

The eight cases are self-isolating and include one person in the Moncton region, five in the Fredericton region and two in the Edmundston area.

The province has 51 active cases and three people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.

New Brunswick has had 567 cases and eight deaths since the pandemic began.

12 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 today and now has 55 active cases.

All of the new cases are in the Halifax area.

Health officials say three of the cases are close contacts of previously reported cases while the other case is under investigation.

No one is currently in hospital.

11:40 a.m.

Public health officials in Prince Edward Island have begun to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Front-line workers Heather Arsenault, Debbie Lawless and Dr. Chris Lantz, who all work at long-term care homes, were among the first people to receive the vaccine on the Island.

The vaccine is being administered at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.

The province received 1,950 doses of the vaccine in its first shipment.

11:35 a.m.

A public health nurse in St. John’s is the first person in Newfoundland and Labrador to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ellen Foley-Vick said she felt like she got an early Christmas present as the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, put a Band-Aid on her arm after administering the shot.

Premier Andrew Furey told a room full of masked and socially-distanced onlookers at Memorial University’s medical school that the province’s first vaccination marked a generational moment.

Newfoundland and Labrador received its 1,950 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine yesterday and health officials expect another delivery next week.

11:20 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,897 new COVID-19 infections and 43 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health officials said today hospitalizations increased by 16, to 975, and 128 people were in intensive care, a rise of three.

The province says 1,315 doses of vaccine were distributed yesterday, bringing the total number of people who have received the first dose of vaccine in the province to 1,613.

Quebec has reported a total of 168,173 COVID-19 infections and 7,613 deaths linked to the virus.

11:15 a.m.

The first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Manitoba was a doctor who says he’s grateful to keep his patients in the intensive care unit safe.

Dr. Brian Penner, who works at Health Sciences Centre, says he feels extremely lucky to be able to get the Pfizer vaccine at around 8:30 a.m. at the University of Manitoba’s Bannatyne campus.

Health officials say Manitoba will receive enough of the vaccine to immunize about 900 health-care workers.

Premier Brian Pallister said yesterday that the initial vaccinations were a small but critical first step.

10:55 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 2,139 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 43 new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 780 cases were in Toronto, 528 in Peel Region, 148 in York Region, 143 in Durham, and 111 in Windsor-Essex.

The province says it has conducted over 49-thousand tests since the last daily report.

In total, 932 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 256 in intensive care.

10:20 a.m.

Frontline health workers in Halifax are the first people in Nova Scotia to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

A clinic is underway on the campus of Dalhousie University where Danielle Sheaves, a registered nurse, was the first recipient of a shot.

Among the first to receive the vaccine this month will be workers at COVID-19 hospital units, emergency departments, critical care units as well as birth and early labour units at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

Long-term care staff who are directly involved in patient care in the Halifax area will also receive the vaccine this month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Pfizer assures affordable vaccines for PH – CNN Philippines

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 15) — US drugmaker Pfizer is aiming to provide developing countries like the Philippines doses of its COVID-19 vaccine at an affordable price.

“I’m also very happy to announce that it is Pfizer’s intention to make available its COVID-19 vaccine to low-income countries like the Philippines at a not-for-profit price during the pandemic,” said Andreas Quercia, Pfizer country manager during the Senate Committee on the Whole’s hearing on the national COVID-19 vaccination plan Friday.

Pfizer also said it is in “advance discussions” with the Philippine government on a supply agreement for its COVID-19 vaccine, adding it plans to make doses available to the country as soon as possible. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., meanwhile, said there might already be a term sheet and supply agreement with the pharmaceutical firm within next week.

The official also said Pfizer vaccine doses may reach the Philippines as early as the first quarter of 2021 through the help of the COVAX facility, of which the country is part of. The facility purchases vaccines to be distributed for free to developing countries, covering a maximum of 20% of their respective populations.

Pfizer is the first to secure Emergency Use Authorization in the Philippines for a coronavirus vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration granted the approval Thursday, citing the vaccine’s high efficacy rate.

Pfizer earlier bagged EUAs across the globe, including from the United States and the United Kingdom.

Agreements with Sinovac, other firms not a ‘done deal’

When asked whether agreements the country has entered into in advance for vaccine supply with firms like China-based Sinovac are already a “done deal,” Galvez said that is not the case.

Ang sa atin pa lang po ngayon [For now,] we are [just] dealing with the term sheet. Posible rin [It could also be possible] we have to lock (the supply), so that they can already make production. So sa ngayon po, wala pa pong government funds tayong naibibigay,” clarified the official.

[Translation: As of now, we haven’t given out government funds yet.]

National policy against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon also reiterated the country’s vaccine expert panel has recommended seven vaccine brands for possible purchase, which includes Sinovac. However, none of this is final yet, as the government awaits the panel’s final recommendation, along with an EUA from the FDA.

Sinovac has also applied for emergency use authorization, the regulatory agency revealed earlier this week.

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Expanded vaccine rollout in US spawns a new set of problems – Powell River Peak

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The rapid expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens across the U.S. has led to bottlenecks, system crashes and hard feelings in many states because of overwhelming demand for the shots.

Mississippi’s Health Department stopped taking new appointments the same day it began accepting them because of a “monumental surge” in requests. People had to wait hours to book vaccinations through a state website or a toll-free number Tuesday and Wednesday, and many were booted off the site because of technical problems and had to start over.

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In California, counties begged for more coronavirus vaccine to reach millions of their senior citizens. Hospitals in South Carolina ran out of appointment slots within hours. Phone lines were jammed in Georgia.

“It’s chaos,” said New York City resident Joan Jeffri, 76, who had to deal with broken hospital web links and unanswered phone calls before her daughter helped her secure an appointment. “If they want to vaccinate 80% of the population, good luck, if this is the system. We’ll be here in five years.”

Up until the past few days, health care workers and nursing home patients had been given priority in most places around the U.S. But amid frustration over the slow rollout, states have thrown open the line to many of the nation’s 54 million senior citizens with the blessing of President Donald Trump’s administration, though the minimum age varies from place to place, at 65, 70 or higher.

On Thursday, New Jersey expanded vaccinations to people between 16 and 65 with certain medical conditions — including up to 2 million smokers, who are more prone to health complications.

The U.S., meanwhile, recorded 3,848 deaths on Wednesday, down from an all-time high of 4,327 the day before, according to Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has topped 385,000.

President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan Thursday that includes speeding up vaccinations. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration.

More than 11.1 million Americans, or over 3% of the U.S. population, have gotten their first shot of the vaccine, a gain of about 800,000 from the day before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The goal of inoculating anywhere between 70% and 85% of the population to achieve herd immunity and conquer the outbreak is still many months away.

Hard-hit Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous county with 10 million residents, said it couldn’t immediately provide shots to the elderly because it had inoculated only about a quarter of its 800,000 health care workers.

“We’re not done with our health care workers, and we actually don’t have enough vaccine right now to be able to get done more quickly,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “We haven’t heard back from the state about vaccine availability and how it would be distributed.”

Santa Clara County health officials said the county of 2 million people had only enough vaccine to inoculate people 75 and older, not the 65-and-older crowd.

“It’s almost like a beauty contest. And this should not be a beauty contest,” County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said. “This is about life and death.”

In Mississippi, officials said new appointments will probably have to wait until a hoped-for shipment of vaccine in mid-February.

In South Carolina, Kershaw Health in Camden implored people not to call its hospitals or doctors to schedule vaccination appointments after receiving more than 1,000 requests in two days. State health authorities said their hot line got 5,000 calls on Wednesday.

Francis Clark said she tried repeatedly to schedule an appointment for her 81-year-old mother, who lives alone outside Florence, South Carolina, and doesn’t have internet access. But the local hospital had no openings on Wednesday, Clark said, and the other vaccination sites are too far away.

“My mom can’t drive to Charleston,” Clark said. “She’s too old.”

Allison Salerno, an audio producer from Athens, Georgia, said she spent the better part of a day calling her state’s health department to get a vaccine appointment for her 89-year-old mother.

“I started calling at 8:30 a.m. and on the 67th call I was finally put on hold,” Salerno said. “I had already pre-registered her two weeks before online, but I never received a confirmation.”

After Salerno had spent 65 minutes on hold, someone finally came on the line and gave her mother a Saturday appointment.

“My mother has not been out since the beginning of the pandemic,” Salerno said. “She’s a very healthy woman and she wants to go to the grocery store, she wants to get her hair done.”

Meanwhile, some states, like Minnesota, are waiting before throwing open the doors.

“As we learn more, we will work to make sure everyone who is eligible for a vaccine knows how, where, and when they can get their shots,” the state Health Department said in an email. “Everyone’s opportunity to get vaccinated will come; it will just take some time.”

Arizona, which had the nation’s highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, will start signing up people 65 and older next week. It also plans to open a vaccination site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in addition to the one dispensing thousands of shots daily at the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

To step up the pace of vaccinations, South Carolina made a rule change allowing medical students, retired nurses and other certain professionals to administer the shots.

California lawmakers are increasing the pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom to likewise expand authorization for who can give injections to include nursing students, retired medical workers, firefighters and National Guard members with medical training.

Newsom said the state’s priority is to deliver vaccines “as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences.” He urged patience for those not yet eligible, saying: “Your turn is coming.”

Jeffri, the New Yorker, spent several days trying to book a vaccination and once actually received a slot, only to get a follow-up text saying they didn’t have the doses. Finally, with some online sleuthing from her daughter, the retired arts-administration professor got an appointment for her first shot — two weeks from now.

“It’s a relief,” said Jeffri, who wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo about her ordeal. “But I’m not sure I trust it until it’s done.”

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‘It’s chaos’: Expanded U.S. vaccine rollout leading to bottlenecks, crashes – Global News

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The rapid expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens across the U.S. has led to bottlenecks, system crashes and hard feelings in many states because of overwhelming demand for the shots.

Mississippi’s Health Department stopped taking new appointments the same day it began accepting them because of a “monumental surge” in requests. People had to wait hours to book vaccinations through a state website or a toll-free number Tuesday and Wednesday, and many were booted off the site because of technical problems and had to start over.

Read more:
No plans for ‘divisive’ vaccine passports for Canadians, Trudeau says

In California, counties begged for more coronavirus vaccines to reach millions of their senior citizens. Hospitals in South Carolina ran out of appointment slots within hours. Phone lines were jammed in Georgia.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s chaos,” said New York City resident Joan Jeffri, 76, who had to deal with broken hospital web links and unanswered phone calls before her daughter helped her secure an appointment. “If they want to vaccinate 80 per cent of the population, good luck, if this is the system. We’ll be here in five years.”

Up until the past few days, health care workers and nursing home patients had been given priority in most places around the U.S. But amid frustration over the slow rollout, states have thrown open the line to many of the nation’s 54 million senior citizens with the blessing of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, though the minimum age varies from place to place, at 65, 70 or higher.

On Thursday, New Jersey expanded vaccinations to people between 16 and 65 with certain medical conditions — including up to two million smokers, who are more prone to health complications.






3:25
Coronavirus: Biden lays out stimulus plan to jump-start U.S. economy


Coronavirus: Biden lays out stimulus plan to jump-start U.S. economy

The U.S., meanwhile, recorded 3,848 deaths on Wednesday, down from an all-time high of 4,327 the day before, according to Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has topped 385,000.

Story continues below advertisement

President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan Thursday that includes speeding up vaccinations. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration.

More than 11.1 million Americans, or over three per cent of the U.S. population, have gotten their first shot of the vaccine, a gain of about 800,000 from the day before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The goal of inoculating anywhere between 70 per cent and 85 per cent of the population to achieve herd immunity and conquer the outbreak is still many months away.

Hard-hit Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous county with 10 million residents, said it couldn’t immediately provide shots to the elderly because it had inoculated only about a quarter of its 800,000 health care workers.

Read more:
The super-rich are using luxury concierge services to get COVID-19 vaccine

“We’re not done with our health care workers, and we actually don’t have enough vaccine right now to be able to get done more quickly,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “We haven’t heard back from the state about vaccine availability and how it would be distributed.”

Santa Clara County health officials said the county of two million people had only enough vaccine to inoculate people 75 and older, not the 65-and-older crowd.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s almost like a beauty contest. And this should not be a beauty contest,” County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said. “This is about life and death.”

In Mississippi, officials said new appointments will probably have to wait until a hoped-for shipment of vaccine in mid-February.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Biden renews pledge to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days'



0:52
Coronavirus: Biden renews pledge to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days


Coronavirus: Biden renews pledge to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days

In South Carolina, Kershaw Health in Camden implored people not to call its hospitals or doctors to schedule vaccination appointments after receiving more than 1,000 requests in two days. State health authorities said their hot line got 5,000 calls on Wednesday.

Francis Clark said she tried repeatedly to schedule an appointment for her 81-year-old mother, who lives alone outside Florence, South Carolina, and doesn’t have internet access. But the local hospital had no openings on Wednesday, Clark said, and the other vaccination sites are too far away.

Story continues below advertisement

“My mom can’t drive to Charleston,” Clark said. “She’s too old.”

Allison Salerno, an audio producer from Athens, Georgia, said she spent the better part of a day calling her state’s health department to get a vaccine appointment for her 89-year-old mother.

Read more:
Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot coronavirus vaccine on track for March, exec says

“I started calling at 8:30 a.m. and on the 67th call I was finally put on hold,” Salerno said. “I had already pre-registered her two weeks before online, but I never received a confirmation.”

After Salerno had spent 65 minutes on hold, someone finally came on the line and gave her mother a Saturday appointment.

“My mother has not been out since the beginning of the pandemic,” Salerno said. “She’s a very healthy woman and she wants to go to the grocery store, she wants to get her hair done.”

Meanwhile, some states, like Minnesota, are waiting before throwing open the doors.


Click to play video 'Ottawa promises to ramp up coronavirus vaccine rollout'



2:35
Ottawa promises to ramp up coronavirus vaccine rollout


Ottawa promises to ramp up coronavirus vaccine rollout

“As we learn more, we will work to make sure everyone who is eligible for a vaccine knows how, where, and when they can get their shots,” the state Health Department said in an email. “Everyone’s opportunity to get vaccinated will come; it will just take some time.”

Story continues below advertisement

Arizona, which had the nation’s highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, will start signing up people 65 and older next week. It also plans to open a vaccination site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in addition to the one dispensing thousands of shots daily at the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

To step up the pace of vaccinations, South Carolina made a rule change allowing medical students, retired nurses and other certain professionals to administer the shots.

California lawmakers are increasing the pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom to likewise expand authorization for who can give injections to include nursing students, retired medical workers, firefighters and National Guard members with medical training.

Read more:
COVID-19 vaccine rollout blame game: Feds say ‘wrinkles will get ironed out’ soon

Newsom said the state’s priority is to deliver vaccines “as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences.” He urged patience for those not yet eligible, saying: “Your turn is coming.”

Jeffri, the New Yorker, spent several days trying to book a vaccination and once actually received a slot, only to get a follow-up text saying they didn’t have the doses. Finally, with some online sleuthing from her daughter, the retired arts-administration professor got an appointment for her first shot — two weeks from now.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s a relief,” said Jeffri, who wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo about her ordeal. “But I’m not sure I trust it until it’s done.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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