Connect with us

Health

U.S. spy agencies say origins of COVID-19 may never be known

Published

 on

U.S. intelligence agencies said on Friday they may never be able to identify the origins of COVID-19, as they released a new, more detailed version of their review of whether the coronavirus came from animal-to-human transmission or leaked from a lab.

The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a declassified report that a natural origin and a lab leak are both plausible hypotheses for how SARS-COV-2 first infected humans. But it said analysts disagree on which is more likely or whether any definitive assessment can be made at all.

The report also dismissed suggestions that the coronavirus originated as a bioweapon, saying proponents of this theory “do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology” and have been accused of spreading disinformation.

The report issued on Friday is an update of a 90-day review that President Joe Biden’s administration released in August, amid intense political infighting over how much to blame China for the effects of the global pandemic rather than governments that may not have moved quickly enough to protect citizens.

China responded on Friday by criticizing the report.

“The US moves of relying on its intelligence apparatus instead of scientists to trace the origins of COVID-19 is a complete political farce,” Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said in an emailed statement.

“… It will only undermine science-based origins study and hinder the global effort of finding the source of the virus,” the statement said.

Former Republican President Donald Trump – who lost his bid for re-election as the deadly pandemic ravaged the U.S. economy – and many of his supporters referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus.”

Some U.S. spy agencies had strongly favored the explanation that the virus originated in nature. But there has been little corroboration and over recent months the virus has spread widely and naturally among wild animals.

The ODNI report said four U.S. spy agencies and a multi-agency body have “low confidence” that COVID-19 originated with an infected animal or a related virus.

But one agency said it had “moderate confidence” that the first human COVID-19 infection most likely was the result of a laboratory accident, probably involving experimentation or animal handling by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

U.S. spy agencies believe they will not be able to produce a more definitive explanation for the origin of COVID-19 without new information demonstrating that the virus took a specific pathway from animals to humans or that a Wuhan laboratory was handling the virus or a related virus before COVID-19 surfaced.

The report said U.S. agencies and the global scientific community lacked “clinical samples or a complete understanding of epidemiological data from the earliest COVID-19 cases” and said it could revisit this inconclusive finding if more evidence surfaces.

China has faced international criticism for failing to cooperate more fully in investigations of COVID’s origins.

The embassy statement also dismissed that criticism.

“We have been supporting science-based efforts on origins tracing, and will continue to stay actively engaged. That said, we firmly oppose attempts to politicize this issue,” it said.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball and Patricia Zengerle; additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Writing by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Sandra Maler and Sonya Hepinstall)

Health

COVID-19 immunization clinics open to B.C. kids ages five to 11 today – Toronto Star

Published

 on


VICTORIA – Children in British Columbia between five and 11 years old can start getting shots of a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine today.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that about 350,000 children are eligible to receive the modified dose of the Health Canada-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Health Canada approved the pediatric shot for use in Canada after an independent scientific review confirmed the first vaccine formulated for younger children is safe and effective.

Henry says the same vaccine has been administered to more than three million children in the United States and there have been no “safety signals” as a result.

She says the vaccine will help children and families safely return to activities that benefit physical and mental health.

Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead for B.C.’s vaccination drive, has said she expects the full children’s immunization effort including second doses to conclude by the end of January.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2021.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

COVID-19 immunization clinics open to B.C. kids ages five to 11 today – Times Colonist

Published

 on


VICTORIA — Children in British Columbia between five and 11 years old can start getting shots of a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine today. 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that about 350,000 children are eligible to receive the modified dose of the Health Canada-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Health Canada approved the pediatric shot for use in Canada after an independent scientific review confirmed the first vaccine formulated for younger children is safe and effective. 

Henry says the same vaccine has been administered to more than three million children in the United States and there have been no “safety signals” as a result.

She says the vaccine will help children and families safely return to activities that benefit physical and mental health.

Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead for B.C.’s vaccination drive, has said she expects the full children’s immunization effort including second doses to conclude by the end of January.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

COVID-19: Children between five and 11 are eligible for vaccinations starting Monday – Vancouver Sun

Published

 on


Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11 on Nov. 19. This vaccine uses a lower dose of 10 micrograms — one-third of the dose given to older children and adults

Article content

Children in B.C. between five and 11 years old start receiving the first doses of their COVID-19 vaccines on Monday.

Advertisement

Article content

More than 90,000 out of the 350,000 eligible children, or 26 per cent, in that age category were registered a week before the rollout, according to the B.C. government.

The government’s own surveys show that most parents support getting vaccines for their young children, but there are some whose views might keep the vaccination rate lower for this age category.

Of B.C. parents who responded, 58 per cent will register to vaccinate their children right away, while another 18 per cent planned to wait, and nearly 25 per cent said they are not sure they will do it, according to Penny Ballem, the executive lead for B.C.’s immunization efforts.

A parent or legal guardian has to give verbal consent ahead of a child being vaccinated, according to Ballem.

Advertisement

Article content

Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11 on Nov. 19. This vaccine uses a lower dose of 10 micrograms that is one-third of the dose given to older children and adults.

COVID-19 information from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control from Nov. 25 shows that 80 per cent of British Columbians at the next age group up, aged 12 to 17, are now fully vaccinated and more than 87 per cent have a first dose.

There are varying rates in different health authorities, however. In Fraser, Vancouver Coastal and Vancouver Island, it is higher at 82 per cent, 89 per cent and 83 per cent, respectively. In Interior, it was 70 per cent and in Northern, it was 59 per cent.

Within authorities, there is also a wide spectrum. As of Nov. 23, Enderby and Kettle Creek in the Interior authority had only 38 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds double vaccinated, while Kimberley posted 80 per cent. In Vancouver Coastal, Bella Coola Valley had 59 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds double vaccinated, while North Vancouver was at 93 per cent.

Advertisement

Article content

Between Oct. 27 to Nov. 25, the number of average daily cases per 100,000 people among the double vaccinated for this 12 to 17 age group across B.C. was 2.5. Among those who had one vaccination, the number of average daily cases per 100,000 people was 8.2. And for the unvaccinated, the figure was 46.8 per 100,000.

For that same period, in the category of 0-11 year olds, who are all unvaccinated, the number of average daily cases per 100,000 people was 16.8.

“I think the most important thing is that vaccinations be readily available for all children and families,” said Teri Mooring, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

“For families where it’s not convenient for them to book an appointment in a separate clinic or perhaps they work long hours or there are other various individual circumstances, we think there should be an option (for COVID-19 vaccination) in schools as well.”

Advertisement

Article content

Mooring said that “it was a concern with the 12- to 17-year-olds as well and what we’re seeing in some parts of the province, where we have vaccine hesitancy, we are still those (vaccination) numbers lag behind. We don’t want that to be the case for the five to 11-year-olds.”

Youth aged 12 to 18 have to carry a B.C. Vaccine card, or have a trusted adult carry one for them, to go to restaurants and attend indoor, organized events. Unlike adults, they don’t have to also show government-issued identification. Children aged five to 11 are not be required to show proof of vaccination.

jlee-young@postmedia.com

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending