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U.S. to begin $4B vaccine rollout to poor nations around world – Global News

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Joe Biden will use his first big presidential moment on the global stage at Friday’s Group of Seven meeting of world leaders to announce that the U.S. will soon begin releasing $4 billion for an international effort to bolster the purchase and distribution of coronavirus vaccine to poor nations, White House officials said.

Biden will also encourage G-7 partners to make good on their pledges to COVAX, an initiative by the World Health Organization to improve access to vaccines, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview Biden’s announcement.

Read more:
Feds unveil accelerated rollout schedule following fresh coronavirus vaccine deals

Former U.S. President Donald Trump declined to participate in the COVAX initiative because of its ties to WHO, the Geneva-based agency that Trump accused of covering up China’s missteps in handling the virus at the start of the public health crisis. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the WHO, but Biden moved quickly after his inauguration last month to rejoin and confirmed that the U.S. would contribute to COVAX.

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The $4 billion in U.S. funding was approved by Congress in December and will be distributed through 2022.

The U.S. is committed to working through COVAX to ensure “equitable distribution of vaccines and funding globally,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday.


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It remains to be seen how G-7 allies will take Biden’s calls for greater international co-operation on vaccine distribution given that the U.S. refused to take part in the initiative under Trump and that there are growing calls for the Biden administration to distribute some U.S.-manufactured vaccine supplies overseas.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in an interview Thursday with the Financial Times, called on the U.S. and European nations to allocate up to five per cent of current vaccine supplies to developing countries — the kind of vaccine diplomacy that China and Russia have begun deploying.

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And earlier this week, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sharply criticized the “ wildly uneven and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, noting 10 countries have administered 75 per cent of all vaccinations.

Read more:
Pressure on Trudeau grows as Canada’s world ranking on vaccines slips further

Last month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also raised with Biden the prospect of Canada getting the vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, according to a senior Canadian government official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation.

Canada has been getting all its Pfizer doses from a company facility in Puurs, Belgium, and has experienced disruptions in supply.

But Biden, who announced last week that the U.S. will have enough supply of the vaccine by the end of the summer to inoculate 300 million people, remains focused for now on making sure every American is inoculated, administration officials say.

The president, in his first national security memorandum last month, called for his administration to develop a framework to donate surplus vaccines once there is a sufficient supply in the U.S.


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The COVAX program has already missed its own goal of beginning coronavirus vaccinations in poor countries at the same time that shots were rolled out in rich countries. WHO says COVAX needs $5 billion in 2021.

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Guterres said Wednesday that 130 countries have not received a single dose of the vaccine and declared that “at this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community.”

The Group of Seven industrialized nations are the United States, Germany, Japan, Britain, France, Canada and Italy. Friday’s meeting of the G-7, the first of Biden’s presidency, is being held virtually.

Read more:
‘Early indications’ vaccines having impact on COVID-19 infection rates, Njoo says

In addition to discussing vaccine distribution, Biden also plans to use the meeting to discuss G-7 countries’ collective competitiveness and economic challenges posed by China, according to the White House.

Biden is also scheduled to deliver a virtual address to the Munich Security Conference on Friday before travelling to Michigan to visit Pfizer’s vaccine manufacturing facility.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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COVID-19 bookings for vaccine appointments begin Monday in B.C. – Vancouver Sun

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The booking of appointments Monday marks the start of a massive rollout to the general population

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Health authorities in B.C. are establishing vaccine clinic sites and have been hiring phone agents to begin taking appointments on Monday for the first time for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Up until now, the limited supply of vaccine in the province has been targeted at front-line health care workers, long-term care home residents and staff, and Indigenous people in remote communities.

The booking of appointments Monday marks the start of a rollout to the general population.

The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has posted on its website nearly two dozen vaccination clinics, including hours and addresses, that cover communities in Metro Vancouver, along the Sea to Sky corridor and on the Sunshine and Central coasts. Included among the locations are community centres, COVID-19 testing sites, Royal Canadian Legion branches, and Richmond’s River Rock casino.

Vancouver Island Health has sports and community centres, hospitals and an arena among its 19 listed vaccination clinic locations, and Northern Health officials have posted clinic locations in schools, hospitals, recreation and community centres in about two dozen communities.

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Interior Health has posted four dozen clinic locations in nearly as many communities. Among the venues are curling rinks, hospitals, community halls, a church and a band office.

Fraser Health has listed specific clinic locations in about a dozen communities on their website through their online booking system, including in Surrey, Langley and Hope. The vaccine clinic sites are mainly at hospitals and existing COVID-19 testing sites.

Victoria Lee, the president and CEO of Fraser Health, told reporters during a news conference Sunday that the authority had enlisted some 500 volunteer physicians and hundreds more students and pharmacists to assist in the immunization effort. Those volunteers are in addition to those who have been hired to vaccinate on a full-time basis.

Lee said Fraser Health has the capacity to immunize up to 9,000 people a day, and it plans to ramp up to 20,000 a day as the province’s immunization program expands.

All five health authorities in B.C. will use a phone-in system. People 90-and-over can begin booking appointments on March 8 for a March 15 start. Indigenous people age 65 and over will also be able to begin booking appointments.

Those aged 80-and-over in Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton can call starting March 8, according to VCH.

All health authority websites say that when people book appointments they’ll be given a clinic location.

Vancouver Island Health spokesman Andrew Leyne said they have contracted 35 Telus phone agents to assist 10 to 15 Island Health phone agents to answer booking calls. The agents will take calls 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, Leyne said in a written response.

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Other health authorities didn’t answer questions on how they would ensure they could handle calls, including how many people would be available to answer phones and book appointments.

In the following two weeks, those 85-and-over and those 80-and-over will also be able to book appointments.

COVID vaccination site at 6110 Boundary Rd. in Burnaby.
COVID vaccination site at 6110 Boundary Rd. in Burnaby. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

Those aged 80-and-over and Indigenous people 65-and-over not in care homes comprise about 240,000 British Columbians, among 4.3 million people who the province hopes to vaccinate by the end of September.

This first rollout to the public will be a test of the phone booking system and of the clinic locations.

Karen Bloemink, the vice-president of pandemic response at Interior Health, said it was important to remember that while the phone lines open Monday, B.C. is still only in the first few months of a lengthy vaccination effort.

“Immunizations will continue to be available to people in British Columbia for weeks and months to come. So we’d like to reassure everyone that they should not worry they’ll miss their chance to receive a vaccine,” Bloemink said.

She said the authority anticipated many calls in the first few days and asked for people to be patient and stick to the call-in schedule.

Unlike other jurisdictions, including Alberta and Washington state, in B.C. only the Fraser Health Authority has set up an option to book an appointment online.

In Alberta, the phone and online systems were initially overwhelmed when launched in late February to book appointments for those 75-and-over. Washington state also experienced early technical problems with their online appointment booking system. The state has up to 1,200 sites where vaccines can be administered, including pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

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B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix is confident the province will be able to handle the ramped-up rollout to the public. He noted last week the health authorities organize immunization clinics every year for childhood diseases and for influenza, and that already COVID-19 vaccine clinics had been held in more than 1,000 sites.

“There will be a massive number of clinics, but we’re also going to where people need us to deliver this if they can’t come to us,” said Dix.

With a file from Matt Robinson.

ghoekstra@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordon_hoekstra


Where can I get vaccinated?

Vaccination clinics will be set up in gyms, arenas, convention halls, and community halls. Residents of rural communities may be able to access mobile clinics, which can also provide vaccinations to people who are homebound with mobility challenges.

Click the links to find your closest clinic location, or click here for a full list of clinics in B.C.:

• Fraser Health immunization clinic locations
• Vancouver Coastal Health immunization clinic locations
• Interior Health immunization clinic locations
• Island Health immunization clinic locations
• Northern Health immunization clinic locations


More on B.C.’s vaccine rollout:

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19 in B.C.: Can I choose my vaccine? Efficacy, timing explained


Get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


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Seniors over 90 can begin booking vaccine appointments Monday – Kelowna News – Castanet.net

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Another milestone in B.C.’s fight against COVID-19 will be hit Monday, when British Columbians living in the community can begin booking appointments to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

Monday morning, seniors 90 and older, and Indigenous people 65 and older, can begin calling into the Interior Health call centre to book their vaccination appointment. Beginning March 15, those 85 and older can do the same, while the week after that, the call centre will open up to those 80 and older.

Eligible people can book their appointments at 1-877-740-7747 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m, with appointments beginning March 15. See below for a list of vaccine clinic locations in the Thompson-Okanagan. The full Interior list of more than 40 clinics can be found here, while more information on the rollout can be found here.

“This work is ongoing and especially as we prepare for even more immunizations in the weeks and months ahead, these [clinic] lists will be adjusted and updated as required,” said Karen Bloemink, IH vice-president of pandemic response, during a media availability Sunday.

During Phase 2 of B.C.’s vaccine rollout plan, more than 400,000 seniors, healthcare workers and other frontline workers will be immunized, between mid-March and early April.

Sunday, Bloemink said only those eligible based on their age will be able to book through the call centre. She asked those who are not yet at the eligible age to not call in, so as not to tie up the phone lines. If someone forgets to book their appointment the week they become eligible, they can book it at any time moving forward.

To book the appointment, those calling in will need to provide their legal name, date of birth, postal code, personal health number from the back of B.C. driver’s licences or BC services cards, and current contact information, including a regularly monitored email address or phone number.

Bloemink said she’s very confident IH will have enough supply of vaccines over the coming weeks to immunize the people in Phase 2 who want it.

She said after receiving the first dose, the health authority will reach out to individuals at a later date about booking the second dose appointment.

With Interior Health being one of the larger health authorities by geography, that poses some challenges for the vaccine rollout.

“We have worked with many individuals and partners to create access in the far flung areas of our health authority,” Bloemink said. “That has created some unique challenges for us, but we do have plans in place to address access in those areas, as well as in our more urban areas.”

Bloemink said they’ll be relying on friends and family members to help older people get to the clinic for their immunization appointments, but she added that they’ll work with people on a case-by-case basis if that’s not possible.

IH chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers said those receiving their vaccine will be unable to choose what type of vaccine they receive, as it will depend what type of vaccine that specific clinic has.

“With the over 80 or over 90 year old, we are offering either Pfizer or Moderna,” he said. “The AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered for younger people … when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes on board, we’ll have to add that to the discussion as well, we don’t know the timeline on that vaccine.”

Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she’s optimistic that B.C. could be in a “post-pandemic world” by the summer.

Local vaccine clinics:

  • Kelowna: Health Services Centre, 505 Doyle Ave. – opening March 17
  • Kelowna: Trinity Hall, 1905 Springfield Rd. – opening March 15
  • West Kelowna: Westbank Community Centre, 2466 Main St – opening March 22
  • Summerland: Summerland Curling Club, 8820 Jubilee Rd. E – opening March 15
  • Penticton: South Okanagan Trade and Convention Centre, 273 Power St. – opening March 15
  • Osoyoos: Osoyoos Health Centre, 4816 89th St. – opening March 15
  • Oliver: Oliver Legion, 6417 Main St. – opening March 15
  • Keremeos: South Similkameen Health Centre, 700 3rd St. – opening March 15
  • Vernon: Vernon Rec. Centre, 3310 37th Ave – opening March 15
  • Salmon Arm: Salmon Arm Rec. Centre, 170 5th Ave. SE – opening March 15
  • Enderby: Enderby Seniors Centre, 1101 George St. – opening March 15
  • Merritt: Merritt Public Health, 3451 Voght St. – opening March 15
  • Chase: Chase Community Hall, 547 Shuswap Ave. – opening March 15
  • Kamloops North: McArthur Park Rec. Area,1655 Island Pkwy – opening March 15
  • Kamloops South: Tournament Capital Centre, 910 McGill Rd. – opening March 22

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Here are the COVID-19 vaccination clinic locations in Metro Vancouver | News – Daily Hive

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As BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan ramps up, public health units across the province have announced the locations of their vaccination clinics.

Beginning on Monday, March 8, vaccine call centres will open to seniors aged 80 and older, Indigenous people aged 65 and up, and Elders.

Identified as eligible groups under phase 2 of BC’s Immunization Plan, residents will be able to call a toll-free number and schedule their first vaccination appointment.

“We are encouraging family members, friends, and neighbours to help us reach vulnerable seniors in the community and to spread the word that they will soon be invited to book their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Vancouver Coastal Health said.

VCH has identified 25 vaccination clinics within its catchment area, and Fraser Health has designated 22 sites for its immunization efforts.

Both health authorities have designated specific sites that will be focused on vaccinating Indigenous peoples, and will have cultural supports in place.

Here’s a list of every vaccine clinic located in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.

Vancouver

ASK Friendship Centre – 2177 W 42nd Ave

Creekside Community Centre – 1 Athletes Way

Italian Cultural Centre – 3075 Slocan St.

Kerrisdale Community Centre – Seniors Centre – 5851 West Blvd.

Sunset Community Centre – 6810 Main St.

Vancouver Community College Test Collection Site, Impark Lot #865 – 1155 E. Broadway

West End Community Centre – 870 Denman St.

Vancouver – Indigenous focus

Britannia Community Centre – 1661 Napier St.

Lu’ma Medical Centre – 2970 Nanaimo St.

Native Education College – 205 East 5th Ave.

Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society – 449 E Hastings St.

North Vancouver

ICBC Test Collection Site – 255 Lloyd Ave

West Vancouver

West Vancouver Community Centre – 2121 Marine Dr.

Richmond

East Richmond Community Hall – 12360 Cambie Rd.

Jackson Lam Adult Day Centre/Austin Harris Assisted Living – 5411 Moncton St.

River Rock Casino Resort (The Show Theatre) – 8811 River Rd.

Sea to Sky

Bowen Island Community School – 1041 Mt Gardner Rd., Bowen Island

Pemberton Community Centre – 7390 Cottonwood St., Pemberton

Squamish 55 Seniors Centre – 5604 Trail Ave., Squamish

Whistler Convention Centre – 4010 Whistler Way, Whistler

Sunshine Coast

Powell River Recreation Complex – 5001 Joyce Ave., Powell River

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 109 – 747 Gibsons Way, Gibsons

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 112 – 12829 Lillies Lake Rd., Madeira Park

Sechelt Seniors Centre – 5604 Trail Ave., Sechelt

Central Coast

Bella Coola General Hospital – 1025 Elcho St., Bella Coola

Abbotsford

Abbotsford Ag Rec, Building 1 – 32470 Haida Drive

Abbotsford – Indigenous focus

Mamele’awt Community Indigenous Centre – 3277 Gladwin Rd.

Agassiz – Indigenous focus

Agassiz Public Health Office – 7243 Pioneer Ave.

Burnaby

Burnaby COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre – 6110 Boundary Rd. (Drive-through clinic)

Burnaby Hospital – 3935 Kincaid St.

Chilliwack

Chilliwack COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre – 9090 Newman Rd.

Chilliwack – Indigenous focus

Tzeachten Community Hall – 45855 Promontory Rd.

Coquitlam/TriCities

Coquitlam COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre, Coquitlam Park and Ride – 2796 Aberdeen Ave. (Drive-through clinic)

Coquitlam – Indigenous focus

Douglas College – Coquitlam – 1250 Pinetree Way

Delta

Delta COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre – 4470 Clarence Taylor Cres.

Hope

Hope COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre – 1275 7th Ave.

Hope – Indigenous focus

Hope Public Health Office – 444 Park St.

Langley

Langley COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre – 20901 Langley Bypass (Drive-through clinic)

Maple Ridge

Haney Place Mall – 11900 Haney Place

Maple Ridge – Indigenous focus

Golden Ears United Church Hall (Fraser River Indigenous Society) – 22165 Dewdney Trunk Rd.

Mission

Mission COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre – 7324 Hurd St.

Mission – Indigenous focus

Mission Friendship Centre – 33150A 1st Ave.

New Westminster – Indigenous focus

Douglas College – New Westminster – 700 Royal Ave.

North Surrey

Surrey North – 10025 King George Blvd.

South Surrey/White Rock

South Surrey COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre – 3800 King George Blvd. (Drive-through clinic)

Surrey

Surrey 66 COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre – 14577 66th Ave. (Drive-through clinic)

Surrey – Indigenous focus

Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre (FRAFCA) – A101-10095 Whalley Blvd.

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