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Waterloo Region COVID-19 vaccination rate drops as Public Health tinkers with numbers – 915thebeat.com

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As was expected, the percentage numbers of people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 in the area took a major turn on Friday when Waterloo Region updated its dashboard.

The new report indicates that 74.6 per cent of area residents are vaccinated, down about two per cent from Thursday.

That number should start to rebound quickly now that those aged five to 11 are eligible to be vaccinated.

Read more:
Waterloo Region aims to have COVID-19 vaccine available for kids aged 5-11 by Christmas

Waterloo Public Health has changed the population number it is using to create these percentages, with that total rising from 588,878 to 605,232. The latter number is the most recent provided by Statistics Canada for people living in the area.

The other major changes that were implemented saw the statistics broken down by year of birth rather than age, as well as including students from outside the region.

This caused all of the older age groups to climb drastically as the region now says more than 95 per cent of those over the age of 70 are fully vaccinated, a rise of more than five per cent in each age category.

Those under the age of 40 have all seen drastic drops as well, particularly the 18-to-29 age category which went from above 95 per cent vaccinated to 78.85 per cent vaccinated.

Global News has reached out to Waterloo Public Health for clarification on how the change from age to year of birth would have caused such a drastic shift.

There is no change to how the rest of the numbers are being recorded as Waterloo Public Health says there have now been 911,044 vaccinations done in the area, up 995 from Thursday’s total.

In addition, 451,492 people have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, up 311 from 24 hours earlier.

On the flip side of the coin, Waterloo Public Health reported that another 39 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, lifting the total number of COVID-19 cases in the area to 20,608.

This lists the rolling seven-day average number of new daily cases up slightly to 29.7.

Another 30 people have been cleared of the virus, lifting the total number of resolved cases in the area to 20,082.

It has been more than two weeks since a new COVID-19-related death was reported in the area, leaving the death toll at 305 including two victims this month.

The number of active cases is back up to 219, including 10 people in area hospitals, two of which are in intensive care.

There are now 13 active COVID-19 outbreaks in Waterloo Region after ones were declared at St. Brigid Catholic School in Ayr and Floradale Public School in Elmira as another ended at Glenview Park Secondary School in Cambridge.

Read more:
Ontario reports nearly 800 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths

Elsewhere, Ontario reported 793 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the second straight day counts have been in the 700s as cases continue to rise week over week. The provincial case total now stands at 610,222.

For comparison, last Friday saw 598 new cases and the previous Friday saw 563. All three Fridays saw similar testing volumes in the 30,000 range.

Of the 793 new cases recorded, the data showed 385 were unvaccinated people, 22 were partially vaccinated people, 323 were fully vaccinated people and for 63 people the vaccination status was unknown.

According to Friday’s report, 115 cases were recorded in Toronto, 71 in Simcoe-Muskoka, 60 in York Region, 55 in Windsor-Essex, 54 in Peel Region and 41 in Hamilton. All other local public health units reported fewer than 40 new cases in the provincial report.

The death toll in the province has risen to 9,959 as four more deaths were reported.

–With files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Study suggests Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine only partially protects against Omicron – Toronto Sun

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The Omicron variant can partially evade protection from two doses of Pfizer and partner BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, the research head of a laboratory at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa said on Tuesday.

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But the study showed that blood from people who had received two doses of the vaccine and had a prior infection was mostly able to neutralize the variant, suggesting that booster doses of the vaccine could help to fend off infection.

The Omicron variant, first detected in southern Africa last month, has triggered alarms globally of another surge in infections, with more than two dozen countries from Japan to the United States reporting cases.

The World Health Organization classified it on Nov. 26 as a “variant of concern,” but said there was no evidence to support the need for new vaccines specifically designed to tackle the Omicron variant with its many mutations.

Alex Sigal, a professor at the research institute, said on Twitter there was “a very large drop” in neutralization of the Omicron variant relative to an earlier strain of COVID-19.

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A separate lab test by virologist Sandra Ciesek of the University Hospital Frankfurt painted a somewhat bleaker picture.

Exposing the blood of vaccinated individuals to different virus variants, she found that the ability to mount an antibody response to Omicron in people who had three shots of BioNTech/Pfizer was up to 37 times lower than the response to Delta.

An antibody response to Omicron half a year after a two-shot regimen of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or a mixed course of AstraZeneca/BioNTech was not even measurable, Ciesek added.

She posted only selected findings on Twitter, not including the number of samples, and the university said the paper had not yet been published.

“The set of data underscores that it makes sense to develop a vaccine that is adapted to Omicron,” Chiesek tweeted, adding that no conclusion could be drawn about protection against severe disease.

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WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, said a large drop in the antibody response of vaccinated people to Omicron had been expected.

“This does not mean the vaccine will not work – T-cell immunity (is) likely to persist,” she said on Twitter, referring to a cellular immune response that is believed to prevent severe disease as a second line of immune defence.

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Researchers including Carsten Watzl of the German Society of Immunology and Penny Ward, visiting professor at King’s College London, said the findings underscored the need to get booster shots because a three-shot course would likely continue to protect against severe disease.

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Sigal’s lab tested blood from 12 people who had been vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, according to a manuscript posted on the website for his lab. The preliminary data in the manuscript has not yet been peer reviewed.

Blood from five out of six people who had been vaccinated as well as previously infected with COVID-19 still neutralized the Omicron variant, the manuscript said.

“These results are better than I expected. The more antibodies you got, the more chance you’ll be protected from Omicron,” Sigal said on Twitter.

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He said the lab had not tested the variant against blood from people who had received a booster dose, because they are not available in South Africa yet.

According to the manuscript, the lab observed a 41-fold decline in levels of neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant.

Sigal said on Twitter that figure is likely to be adjusted after his lab does more experiments.

While neutralizing antibodies are an indicator of the body’s immune response, scientists believe other kinds of cells such as B-cells and T-cells are also stimulated by the vaccines and help protect against the effects of the coronavirus.

The preliminary data does not indicate that the vaccine is less able to prevent severe illness or death. While lab tests are under way, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said last week “we think it’s likely that people will have substantial protection against severe disease caused by Omicron.”

There is not significant data yet on how vaccines from Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and other drugmakers hold up against the new variant. All the manufacturers, including Pfizer and BioNTech, are expected to release their own data within weeks.

BioNTech’s Sahin told NBC News on Tuesday that the drugmaker has data coming on Wednesday or Thursday.

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Seven Omicron variant cases in Simcoe County linked to travellers from Nigeria – BayToday.ca

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says it is investigating a household cluster in Simcoe County with seven confirmed COVID-19 cases that have a strong probability of being the Omicron variant of concern. All the cases are currently isolating at home.

“The cluster is linked to travellers who arrived in Simcoe County from Nigeria in late November,” says a news release.

The Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit borders the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit to the immediate south.

“Although the health unit is awaiting whole genomic sequencing of the samples which should be available in the next 7 to 14 days, given the travel history and the preliminary laboratory screening results, the likelihood of an Omicron cluster is very high.”

The Unit’s case and contact management team is currently following up with each case to identify close contacts regarding isolation and testing.

“Scientific data about the Omicron variant is still emerging,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health. “Early evidence suggests that the variant might be more transmissible. While we continue to closely monitor this local situation, I urge all residents to remain vigilant about following public health measures, to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and seek testing immediately if any should develop, and get vaccinated if they have not already done so.”

The rate of COVID-19 infection among the unvaccinated vaccine-eligible Simcoe Muskoka population is seven times higher than it is for the fully vaccinated population and the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations is 15 times higher says Gardner. Getting the vaccine can lower the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

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Eating disorder symptoms and self-harm linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic – Medical Xpress

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Timeline of ALSPAC assessments. NEET Not in education, employment or training. Gray text indicates the name of the ALSPAC questionnaire. Credit: DOI: 10.1186/s40337-021-00510-9

Young adults with previous self-harm or eating disorders reported higher levels of depression and anxiety during the pandemic, even when restrictions had eased, according to new research.

The study, led by the University of Bristol and funded by Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, Medical Research Council and Medical Research Foundation, has been published in the Journal of Eating Disorders. It looked at questionnaire information for 2,657 individuals from world-renowned health study Children of the 90s (also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers analyzed the relationship between previous reports of eating disorder symptoms and before the pandemic, and (symptoms of depression and anxiety) and mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also assessed whether , such as more sleep, relaxation techniques, or visiting green space, could be linked to and wellbeing in young adults with and without previous eating disorder symptoms or self-harm.

Researchers studied questionnaire data from 2017, when the participants were then aged 25 years, as well as data taken during the pandemic in 2020.

At age 25, 32 percent of the 2,657 young adults reported at least one eating disorder , 9 percent reported self-harm, and 5.5 percent reported both an eating disorder symptom and self-harm in the last year.

During the pandemic, those with previously reported eating disorder symptoms and/or self-harm had more symptoms of depression and anxiety, and worse mental wellbeing, compared to individuals without previous symptoms. This remained the case after adjusting for their pre-pandemic levels of depression, anxiety and mental wellbeing.

Lifestyle changes appeared to have little effect on the increased risk for mental health problems in those with prior eating disorder symptoms or self-harm.

Lead author Dr. Naomi Warne, Senior Research Associate at the University’s Centre for Academic Mental Health, said: “Eating and self-harm are common and troubling mental health problems among . In the UK, approximately 1.25 million people are living with an eating disorder and almost 1 in 15 adults report self-harm.

“Our research has highlighted individuals with prior self-harm and eating disorder symptoms are key risk groups and further longitudinal research is needed to understand their ongoing mental health as well as risk and protective factors.

“Individuals with previous eating disorder symptoms and self-harm should be considered vulnerable to depression and anxiety throughout the pandemic and beyond. Funding for rapid and responsive service provision is essential to reduce the impact of the on those with mental health problems.”


Explore further

One in four adults with depression or anxiety lacked mental health support during pandemic


More information:
Naomi Warne et al, Disordered eating and self-harm as risk factors for poorer mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: a UK-based birth cohort study, Journal of Eating Disorders (2021). DOI: 10.1186/s40337-021-00510-9

Citation:
Eating disorder symptoms and self-harm linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic (2021, December 8)
retrieved 8 December 2021
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-12-disorder-symptoms-self-harm-linked-higher.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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