GENEVA — The World Health Organization says it has cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, meaning poorer countries may soon get access to the shot already available in Europe and North America.
Every country that has a drug regulatory agency will have to issue its own approval for any COVID-19 vaccine, but countries with weak systems usually rely on WHO to vet the shots.
The global body said late Thursday that the decision to issue its first emergency use validation for a COVID-19 vaccine “opens the door for countries to expedite their own regulatory approval processes to import and administer the vaccine.”
The U.N. health agency said its review found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already received clearance in the United States, Britain, the European Union and a dozen other countries, “met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO.”
The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures, a big hurdle for developing countries where the required freezers and reliable electricity supply may not be available.
“This requirement makes the vaccine more challenging to deploy in settings where ultra-cold chain equipment may not be available or reliably accessible,” WHO said, adding that it was “working to support countries in assessing their delivery plans and preparing for use where possible.”
While the vaccine clinic was underway, the City of Ottawa announced that 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning they are now considered fully vaccinated.
Earlier this week, an Ottawa man marked an important, uniquely 2021 romantic milestone — his 100th COVID-19 test, which he needed to visit his wife of 50 years living in a long-term care home.
Things are looking up, <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OttCity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OttCity</a>!<br>It’s hard to believe that 70% of residents 18+ have both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine.<br>Thanks to your hard work, we are starting to get back to the things we love like seeing our friends & family.<br>Thank you for striving for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CommunityImmunity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CommunityImmunity</a>! <a href=”https://t.co/dycbsxIwzk”>pic.twitter.com/dycbsxIwzk</a>
The latest step allows for indoor dining, with capacity limits based on everyone being able to keep an acceptable distance.
Gyms, movie theatres and museums are able to reach a capacity of 50 per cent inside.
Larger general gathering limits have risen to 25 people inside and 100 people outside. Those limits are even higher for organized events, leading to the resumption of summer festivals and professional sports.
The federal government has announced fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living there would be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine starting Aug. 9, while tourists from all other countries would be allowed as of Sept. 7.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who’ve been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length of self-isolation varies in Quebec and Ontario.
Check out this weeks <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19Vaccine</a> walk-in clinic schedule. These walk-in clinics are available to RCD residents 12 years of age and older! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/IGotTheShot?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#IGotTheShot</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VaccinesWork?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VaccinesWork</a><br><br>You can find this schedule by visiting our <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19Vaccine</a> Rollout Webpage here: <a href=”https://t.co/OhXjNC74WM”>https://t.co/OhXjNC74WM</a> <a href=”https://t.co/9G4mUIHqbT”>pic.twitter.com/9G4mUIHqbT</a>
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.
Akwesasne has COVID-19 vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341. Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.
Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.
The last day for Ottawa’s Indigenous vaccination clinic is July 29.
Jordan’s health ministry announced Saturday that COVID-19 vaccines will now be available for children aged 12 and above.
The ministry “has decided to lower the COVID-19 vaccination age to 12 years, starting from Sunday July 25” and without requiring an appointment, the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page on Saturday.
“Vaccination will be optional, and those under 18 will be able to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with the consent of their guardian,” the statement added.
Jordan, a country of 10 million people, has officially recorded more than 763,900 coronavirus cases, including over 9,900 deaths, since the start of its outbreak.
Some 1.9 million people have been fully inoculated against COVID-19, while 2.7 million have received an initial vaccine dose.
The United States, Canada and the European Union have already authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12-year-olds.
Amman said last month it had concluded several agreements to obtain a total of around 12 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, and planned to order five million additional jabs.
The country last weekend received half a million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses from Washington.
Authorities are pushing the population to take up the vaccines, and have adopted restrictive or punitive measures targeting those who fail to do so.
The measures include requiring unvaccinated or partially vaccinated public sector employees to present a negative COVID-19 test twice a week, and prohibiting the issuance or renewal of work and residency permits for those who are not fully vaccinated.
Jordan to open COVID vaccinations for 12-year-olds (2021, July 25)
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LOS ANGELES — The founder of the multinational Hillsong Church told CNN that COVID-19 vaccines are a “personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals” after a congregant who publicly refused inoculation died of complications from the disease.
Hillsong Church global senior pastor Brian Houston had announced the death of Stephen Harmon, who attended Hillsong in Los Angeles, on social media this week.
Harmon had said on social media that he would not receive the vaccine, even when he was fighting COVID-19 in a hospital this month.
“Stephen was just a young man in his early 30s,” Houston wrote, announcing Harmon’s death on social media. “He was one of the most generous people I know and he had so much in front of him.”
Houston expanded on his social media posts in a statement to CNN, saying that “any loss of life is a moment to mourn and offer support to those who are suffering and so our heartfelt prayers are with his family and those who loved him.”
“On any medical issue, we strongly encourage those in our church to follow the guidance of their doctors,” Houston said, emphasizing that the church’s focus was on spiritual well-being.
“While many of our staff, leadership and congregation have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, we recognize this is a personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals,” Houston’s statement reads.
Hillsong Church, founded in Australia, has congregations around the world. Harmon attended Hillsong in downtown L.A.
CNN sought comment from the Harmon family but did not receive a response.
Prior to him saying he was infected with COVID-19, Harmon made two posts on Twitter on June 3 in which he parodied Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” lyrics — saying he had 99 problems but “a vax” wasn’t one.
Just over a month later, Harmon had pneumonia as a result of COVID-19 infection and was sitting in a hospital bed in a COVID ward, according to his Instagram posts.
He had been hospitalized with COVID-19 complications since at least June 30, according to his social media posts. Throughout his hospitalizations, social media posts show that Harmon kept in frequent contact with Houston.
Even while in a hospital, Harmon was adamant that he would not receive the vaccine, posting he wasn’t “anti-vax” but was “pro information.”
“i’m not against it, i’m just not in a rush to get it,” he wrote in a July 8 Instagram post. “Ironically, as I continue to lay here … in my COVID ward isolation room fighting off the virus and pneumonia.”
He added he wouldn’t get a vaccine even after recovery.
“Biden’s door to door vaccine ‘surveyors’ really should be called JaCOVID Witnesses. #keepmovingdork,” Harmon wrote the same day on Twitter.
On Friday, after his death was announced, Harmon’s Instagram account was made private.
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