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Though young and healthy, unvaccinated father dies of COVID – Powell River Peak

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Healthy and in their 30s, Christina and Josh Tidmore figured they were low-risk for COVID-19. With conflicting viewpoints about whether to get vaccinated against the virus filling their social media feeds and social circles, they decided to wait.

On July 20, Josh came home from work with a slight cough initially thought to be sinus trouble. On Aug. 11, he died of COVID-19 at a north Alabama hospital as Christina Tidmore witnessed a doctor and her team frantically try to resuscitate her husband.

“She would say, ’I need a pulse. ’I would hear, ‘no pulse,’ “Christina Tidmore said through tears. “They were trying so hard.”

“Nobody should go through this. He was only 36 and I’m 35 and we have three kids.”

She is now imploring young adults not to dismiss the risk and to consider getting vaccinated.

“Josh was completely healthy, active, not a smoker.” He would have turned 37 on Saturday.

Doctors say they are seeing a spike in cases among young adults and children as the highly contagious delta variant sweeps through unvaccinated populations. Medical officials say there is conflicting information on whether it makes people more severely ill or whether young people are more vulnerable to it, but it’s clear the contagiousness means more young people and children are getting sick.

“There is no question that the average age of people who are being hospitalized is going down,” State Health Officer Scott Harris said Friday.

“I don’t know if it’s clear that delta is worse in that age group or worse than any of the strains we’ve seen before. … But what you have though is one that is just much, much more transmissible. Because seniors are the ones that are predominately the vaccinated population in our state, the most vulnerable are these younger people. So you see them getting infected at much higher rates than we had before.”

In the past four weeks, people ages 25 to 49 years, made up 14% of all COVID deaths in the state. And people 50 to 64 years made up about 29%.

The state is also seeing a surge in COVID cases among children, although deaths so far have been rare. The state this week set a record for pediatric hospitalizations with 50 children hospitalized with COVID-19.

In the past four weeks, 6% of cases of COVID-19 in Alabama have been among children under five while 8% have been among children between the ages of five and 17, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“I am very concerned that the children of Alabama are experiencing more illness and hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19. Children can and do contract and spread COVID-19 disease. COVID-19 can be a very serious illness in children with at least 6% of children experiencing long-term consequences of this disease,” said Dr. Karen Landers, a pediatrician with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The Alabama Hospital Association said this week that 85% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

Christina Tidmore also had COVID-19 but recovered. She said she and her husband were not against vaccines – their children are current on their childhood immunizations.

But the couple was unsure about the coronavirus vaccine due to conflicting viewpoints on their social media feeds and in conversations.

She said that they didn’t “know hardly anybody that had gotten real sick and figured we would be OK.” Josh himself in the spring shared an article critical of Dr. Anthony Fauci, writing, “this is why I don’t believe 99.9% of what’s said about this virus.”

Now, eligible family members are getting their coronavirus shots.

“It’s just a fight out there. This side and that side, and political garbage. … You don’t know who to believe,” she said. Christina Tidmore said she has no doubt that they would have made a different choice now, knowing so many more people who have contracted the virus.

A jokester with a heart of gold, Josh loved to help others and to make people laugh, especially kids. He sauntered into Easter and Christmas gatherings wearing an inflatable dinosaur costume and ran around hugging family members. He would cheerfully photobomb beachgoers. He didn’t hesitate to rush to help a motorcyclist injured in an accident near the north Alabama church his grandparents founded.

“He could make you feel better when nobody else could. He would listen. He genuinely cared about everybody,” Christina Tidmore said.

The family is relying on their faith to get through and Christina Tidmore wants to share her husband’s story to help people — as Josh would have wanted.

“If you can try to save your life, then you probably should,” she said of vaccinations.

“I have lots of feelings and lots of regret and lots of what ifs,” she said. “”you don’t want to do that. You don’t.”

___

Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Kim Chandler, The Associated Press






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North Bay–Parry Sound's COVID-19 vaccination rates rank near bottom-third in Ontario – BayToday.ca

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The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is trailing the majority of the 33 other districts in Ontario when it comes to vaccination rates but officials are confident the mobile vaccination clinics held on a retrofitted transit bus can boost those numbers toward the 90 per cent goal.

According to COVaxON, the province’s vaccination reporting system, 78 per cent of eligible North Bay–Parry Sound residents age 12 and older have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s tied for 23rd out of 34 health units in Ontario.

The Health Unit also reports 84 per cent of eligible residents 12 and older in the district have received at least one dose, tied for 25th of 34 health units.

The recent introduction of the proof of vaccination program for Ontarians to gain entry to non-essential settings such as restaurants, fitness clubs, and cinemas is acknowledged by health officials as a means to encourage those who are not fully vaccinated to do so.

There was an uptick in vaccinations in the weeks following the announcement of the vaccine certificate program in Ontario. And, a boost in vaccinations followed locally, as well, in mid-September, as the Health Unit reported an increase, particularly among those aged 29 and younger. The Health Unit reported then a 128 per cent increase in first doses week over week. 

See also: Chirico impressed with new wave of vaccinations but still more work to do

The goal locally and province-wide is to have 90 per cent of the population vaccinated with first and second doses. As of Monday, that leaves 6,646 first and 14,680 second shots required. The Health Unit’s dashboard reports 692 doses administered over the weekend. It should be noted hundreds of third doses have been administered to eligible segments of the population over the past two weeks.

In North Bay–Parry Sound, the 30-39, 18-29 and 12-17 age groups all sit at less than two-thirds fully vaccinated, although the 12-17 category was not eligible for the vaccine for months following the initial local roll-out.

The Health Unit reports since June 1, 10 per cent of local positive cases have been detected in fully vaccinated people. Ontario reports 86 per cent of COVID-19 patients in ICUs are unvaccinated, while 72 per cent in hospitals (but not the ICU) are unvaccinated.

The Health Unit has consistently advocated for more people to roll up their sleeves and has gone to great lengths to achieve that goal by providing clinics in long-term care and retirement communities, mass immunization opportunities at Memorial Gardens, clinics focused on members of the vulnerable population, and now the mobile vaccination clinics that visit many of the underserved towns in the district.

See: How better conversations can help reduce vaccine hesitancy for COVID-19 and other shots

Andrea McLellan, Director of COVID-19 Immunization Strategy, previously spoke about possible reasons for vaccine hesitancy.

“It may be a lack of confidence in immunizations overall, it may be a personal choice they are making at this time and waiting to receive further information,” she said, noting there are excellent resources out there for those who are hesitant. “We are providing as much information to the public as we can — our website holds a wealth of information, the Ontario.ca website has a lot of information about the vaccine, as does Public Health Ontario.”

“Some people need a familiar health care provider to really reassure them that the vaccine is right for them,” Dr. Carol Zimbalatti added, encouraging people to reach out to their trusted health care providers for guidance. “Definitely, primary care offices have the information available to counsel their patients.”

The Health Unit will continue to roll out the vaccine through mobile clinics. McLellan says some of the feedback from the public indicated people who weren’t thinking of getting their shot did so thanks to the convenience of the bus set-up.

“We believe the mobile bus has been exceptionally successful,” McLellan said last week. “We’ve done over 300 at a couple of clinics, 150-plus at other clinics, 50 to 60 in smaller communities. The bus has been helpful in getting our numbers up. A lot of people are getting their first doses. And, we’ve accommodated a lot of people eligible for their third doses.”

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U.S. President Joe Biden receives COVID-19 booster shot following CDC backing – Global News

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U.S. President Joe Biden rolled up his shirt sleeve for a COVID-19 vaccine booster inoculation on Monday, hoping to provide a powerful example for Americans on the need to get the extra shot even as millions go without their first.

In getting the booster, Biden dismissed criticism that the United States should distribute more vaccines worldwide before allowing boosters at home.

“We are going to do our part,” he said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week backed an additional dose of the Pfizer Inc BioNTech vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older, adults with underlying medical conditions and adults in high-risk working and institutional settings.

Biden, 78, said his wife Jill would also get a booster shot soon.

Read more:
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine given full approval by U.S. regulators

While scientists are divided over the need for booster shots when so many people in the United States and other countries remain unvaccinated, Biden announced the push in August as part of an effort to shore up protection against the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Only people who received their last dose of Pfizer’s shot at least six months ago are eligible for another shot now, U.S. regulators said. The FDA has not yet considered Moderna’s application for boosters and Johnson & Johnson has not yet applied for one.


Click to play video: 'U.S. to donate half a billion additional Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines'



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U.S. to donate half a billion additional Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines


U.S. to donate half a billion additional Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

U.S. officials have cited a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” that state, local and federal officials as well as private employers have tried to counter with mandates to get the shots or, in some cases, face repeated testing.

But the aggressive American push for boosters, before many poorer nations have been able to provide even a modicum of protection for their most vulnerable populations, has drawn the ire of the World Health Organization and some aid groups, which have called on the U.S. to pause third shots to free up supply for the global vaccination effort.

Read more:
U.S. will give COVID-19 vaccine boosters to all Americans amid Delta surge

Biden said last week that the U.S. was purchasing another 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine — for a total of 1 billion over the coming year — to donate to less well off nations.


Click to play video: 'U.S. FDA, CDC support Pfizer-BioNTech boosters for people high-risk or aged 65+'



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U.S. FDA, CDC support Pfizer-BioNTech boosters for people high-risk or aged 65+


U.S. FDA, CDC support Pfizer-BioNTech boosters for people high-risk or aged 65+

Vice President Kamala Harris, 56, received the Moderna vaccine, for which federal regulators have not yet authorized boosters — but they are expected to in the coming weeks. Regulators are also expecting data about the safety and efficacy of a booster for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot soon.

At least 2.66 million Americans have received booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine since mid-August, according to the CDC. About 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 through the Pfizer shot. U.S. regulators recommend getting the boosters at least six months after the second shot of the initial two-dose series.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Cuba launches commercial exports of COVID-19 vaccines – Vancouver Is Awesome

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HAVANA (AP) — Cuba has begun commercial exports of its homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, sending shipments of the three-dose Abdala vaccine to Vietnam and Venezuela.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel announced the arrival in Vietnam on his Twitter feed Sunday. The official Cubadebate news website said the shipment included 900,000 doses purchased by Hanoi and 150,000 more donated by Cuba.

Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Cuba last week and toured the laboratory that produces the vaccine, announcing an agreement to buy at least 5 million doses.

Cuba’s Center of Genetic Immunology and Biotechnology also announced that initial shipments of the Abdala shots were sent to Venezuela over the weekend.

That country’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, announced in June that Venezuela had agreed to buy $12 million worth of the Cuban vaccine, though officials have declined to say how many doses were involved.

Another Cuban-developed COVID-19 vaccine is being produced in Iran.

Cuba also hopes to extend exports of its locally developed vaccines, and last week asked the World Health Organization to approve them, which many countries require before importing vaccines.

Cuban scientists have said the vaccines are more than 90% effective against illness, though — like all vaccines — less so against mere infection.

Cuba plans to fully vaccinate 90% of its population by the end of November — a key step to reopening an economy heavily dependent on tourism.

Cuba´s director of epidemiology, Francisco Durán, said Monday that the country of some 11 million people has registered 860,799 infections with COVID-19 and 7,279 deaths during the pandemic.

Andrea Rodríguez, The Associated Press

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