As COVID-19 vaccine supplies gradually ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here’s a list of their plans to date:
Newfoundland and Labrador
The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of “advanced age” and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority.
Other priority groups will be offered the vaccine once logistics allow.
The provincial website says the first phase of vaccines will be given to residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities.
The next phase will include anyone who works in a hospital and may come into contact with a patient, community health-care providers such as dental and pharmacy workers, correctional facilities, shelters, temporary foreign worker quarters and those working in food security industries.
The third phase will include all Nova Scotians going down in five-year increments.
Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021.
Prince Edward Island
The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included.
The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers.
The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall.
The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March.
The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees.
The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots.
The province’s proposed order of priority for vaccination according to its website is those in residential and long-term care centres, workers in the health and social services network, followed by those in isolated and remote communities, people 80 years or older, and then the general population in 10-year increments.
It says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations.
The province has mapped out a three-phase approach to its rollout. Phase 1, which is still ongoing, reserves shots for those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers, and people who live in congregate care settings.
All Indigenous adults, people aged 80 and older and adults receiving chronic home care will be next in line. The province says it will begin vaccinations among the 80 and older age cohort starting the third week of March.
Vaccinations will begin for people 75 and older starting April 15. The province will then move to offer shots to those 70 and older starting May 1; 65 and older starting June 1; and 60 and older the first week of July.
Indigenous adults and patient-facing health-care workers will receive vaccinations as the province works through those age groups. The government is still finalizing the list of essential workers who will receive vaccinations in May if supply is available.
The province has not detailed when people younger than 60 can expect to be vaccinated.
Appointment bookings can be made online and by phone starting March 15 for those in eligible age cohorts.
Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 95 and up, or 75 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. They say most people over 80, and First Nations individuals over 60, could be eligible in early March.
The province plans to have all personal care home residents vaccinated with two doses by the end of February, and has started sending team to other congregate living settings such as group homes and shelters.
Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine task force, say inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if new vaccines are approved and supplies are steady.
The plan does not include a separate category for essential workers — something that Reimer says will be considered as vaccine supplies increase.
The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage.
The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age.
It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable.
Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scare.
Some 230,000 people born in 1946 or earlier are now eligible to be immunized at 58 sites across the province. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Wednesday the website was temporarily overwhelmed when more than 150,000 people tried to get access to it. By mid-afternoon, 25,000 appointments had been booked.
He said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March.
The government’s website says the province will be offering second shots of the COVID-19 vaccine within 42 days after initial doses are administered.
Initial immunization efforts have focused on long-term care residents and certain health-care professionals, with plans to expand vaccine offerings by the end of the month.
Provincial officials have said February will see seniors over 75, First Nations, Métis and people 65 and older living in a First Nations community start to receive their vaccines.
Work is underway to identify target populations for future phases of the provincial rollout.
The first phase of B.C.’s immunization campaign launched in December and focused on health-care workers in hospitals, paramedics, residents and staff at long-term care homes, and remote Indigenous communities.
The second phase set to wrap up in March includes people aged 80 and above, Indigenous elders 65 and up, Indigenous communities that didn’t receive vaccine in the first phase, as well as more health-care workers and vulnerable populations living and working in certain congregate settings.
The third phase of B.C.’s immunization campaign is set to start in April and last until June, reaching people between the ages of 60 and 79, along with those who are highly clinically vulnerable, such as cancer patients.
B.C.’s plan for the general population is based on age, with the oldest residents first in line.
Nunavut’s vaccination rollout is underway, with vaccine clinics for the general population scheduled or completed in all 25 communities.
In Iqaluit, Nunavut’s capital, a general vaccination clinic is underway for priority populations, including staff and residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and frontline health care staff.
Starting March 1, the vaccine clinic will be extended to all adults in Iqaluit ages 45 and up.
Nunavut still expects enough vaccines to immunize 75 per cent of its residents over the age of 18 by the end of March.
The Northwest Territories says it has vaccinated 42 per cent of its adult population since its vaccine rollout began in early January.
Vaccine clinics are either completed or underway in all 33 of the territory’s communities. In Yellowknife, residents and staff in long term care homes are being prioritized for the vaccine. Vaccination of Yellowknife’s general population will begin in late March.
The N.W.T. still expects to receive enough vaccines to inoculate 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March.
The government website says it has vaccinated high risk health-care workers, adults 70 and older, and people who are marginalized and living in group settings.
Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley says uncertainty about the arrival date of the next vaccine shipment has forced a delay in a planned immunization clinic for the general public in Whitehorse.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021
Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 161.42 million, death toll at 3,488,751
More than 161.42 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 3,488,751 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open https://tmsnrt.rs/2FThSv7 in an external browser.
Eikon users can click for a case tracker.
The following table lists the top 50 countries by the number of reported cases. A complete list is available with the above links.
COUNTRIES AND TOTAL DEATHS CONFIRMED DEATHS PER
TERRITORIES CASES 10,000
United States 584,768 32,926,288 17.9
India 262,317 24,046,809 1.94
Brazil 430,417 15,433,989 20.55
France 107,423 5,848,154 16.04
Turkey 44,301 5,095,390 5.38
Russia 254,590 4,922,901 17.62
United Kingdom 127,668 4,446,824 19.21
Italy 123,927 4,146,722 20.51
Spain 79,339 3,604,799 16.95
Germany 85,903 3,579,871 10.36
Argentina 69,254 3,242,103 15.56
Colombia 79,760 3,067,879 16.06
Poland 71,311 2,849,014 18.78
Iran 76,433 2,732,152 9.34
Mexico 219,901 2,375,115 17.43
Ukraine 47,620 2,143,448 10.67
Peru 65,316 1,873,316 20.02
Indonesia 47,823 1,734,285 1.79
Czech Republic 29,857 1,651,178 28.09
South Africa 55,012 1,605,252 9.52
Netherlands 17,423 1,589,282 10.11
Canada 24,825 1,312,408 6.7
Chile 27,520 1,266,601 14.69
Iraq 15,910 1,134,859 4.14
Philippines 18,958 1,131,467 1.78
Romania 29,413 1,070,605 15.11
Sweden 14,275 1,037,126 14.03
Belgium 24,645 1,026,473 21.56
Pakistan 19,384 873,220 0.91
Portugal 16,999 841,379 16.53
Israel 6,379 839,076 7.18
Hungary 29,041 796,390 29.71
Bangladesh 12,102 779,535 0.75
Jordan 9,203 722,754 9.24
Serbia 6,646 705,185 9.52
Switzerland 10,179 679,510 11.96
Japan 11,396 673,821 0.9
Austria 10,455 635,780 11.83
United Arab Emirates 1,626 543,610 1.69
Lebanon 7,569 534,968 11.05
Morocco 9,091 514,670 2.52
Malaysia 1,822 462,190 0.58
Nepal 4,669 439,658 1.66
Saudi Arabia 7,134 431,432 2.12
Bulgaria 17,194 413,320 24.48
Ecuador 19,442 405,783 11.38
Slovakia 12,168 387,162 22.34
Greece 11,322 373,881 10.55
Belarus 2,681 373,351 2.83
Panama 6,288 369,455 15.05
Source: Reuters tally based on statements from health ministries and government officials
Generated at 10:00 GMT.
(Editing by David Clarke)
Canada plots course to fully vaccinated return to gatherings in fall
Canada on Friday said there would be a gradual return to a world with indoor sports and family gatherings as more people get vaccinated, but it did not go as far as the United States in telling people they could eventually ditch their masks.
Canada has administered one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to just over half its adult population, and the country may be over the worst of its current third wave of infections, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said.
On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places, guidance the agency said will allow life to begin to return to normal.
On Friday, Canada‘s public health agency offered guidelines to the 10 provinces, which are responsible for public health restrictions.
The agency says once 75% of Canadians have had a single dose and 20% are fully vaccinated, some restrictions can be relaxed to allow small, outdoor gatherings with family and friends, camping, and picnics.
Once 75% of those eligible are fully vaccinated in the fall, indoor sports and family gatherings can be allowed again.
“I think masks might be the last layer of that multi-layer protection that we’ll advise people to remove,” Tam told reporters, noting that in Canada colder temperatures meant people would start spending more time indoors in the fall.
“We are taking a bit of a different approach to the United States,” she added. While in most of Canada masks are not required outdoors, they are mandatory indoors.
Less than 4% of Canada‘s adult population has been fully vaccinated compared to more than 36% of Americans.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has promised that everyone who wants to can be fully vaccinated by September, this week spoke of a “one-dose summer” and a “two-dose fall” without explaining what that might look like.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
Delayed 2nd Pfizer/BioNTech shot boosts antibodies in elderly; COVID-19 obesity risk higher for men
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Delaying second Pfizer/BioNTech dose boosts antibodies in elderly
Delaying the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine beyond the originally recommended three-week gap used by the companies in clinical trials appears to induce a stronger antibody response in the elderly, UK researchers found. Shortly after the vaccine became available, UK health officials advised that the second dose should be given 12 weeks after the first to allow more people to get protected by a first dose early on. In a new paper seen by Reuters and expected to appear on medRxiv on Friday ahead of peer review, researchers found that among 175 people ages 80 to 99, those who got their second dose at 12 weeks had antibody responses that were 3.5 times higher than those who got it after three weeks. Antibodies are only one part of the immune system, and vaccines also generate T cells that fight infections. The peak T cell responses were higher in the group with a three-week interval between doses, and the authors cautioned against drawing conclusions on how protected individuals were based on which dosing schedule they received. (https://reut.rs/3wjPK9B)
Impact of obesity on COVID-19 risks may be greater in men
The known increased risk of severe COVID-19 and death linked to obesity may be even more pronounced for men than women, new data suggest. Researchers studied 3,530 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with an average age of 65, including 1,469 who were obese. In men, moderate obesity was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing severe disease, needing mechanical breathing assistance and dying from COVID-19. (The threshold for moderate obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 35. In an 5-foot, five-inch tall (1.65 m) adult, that would correspond to a weight of 210 pounds (95 kg). In women, however, only a BMI of 40 or higher, indicating severe obesity, was linked with the increased risks. In a report published in European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, the researchers note that while obesity is known to be linked with body-wide inflammation, patients’ levels of inflammatory proteins did not appear to explain the association between obesity and severe illness. For now, they conclude, “particular attention should be paid” to protecting patients with obesity from the coronavirus, “with priority to vaccination access, remote work, telemedicine, and other measures given the higher risk of adverse outcomes once they are diagnosed with COVID-19.” (https://bit.ly/3eO6GiA)
COVID-19 testing rates low among symptomatic Americans
Sick Americans appear to be passing up opportunities to get tested for coronavirus and thus are likely unknowingly spreading the infection throughout their communities, new research shows. Among 37,000 adults across the United States who participated in a smartphone app survey between March and October 2020, nearly 2,700 reported at least one episode of fever and chills. But according to a report published in JAMA Network Open, only a small fraction reported receiving a COVID-19 test result within seven days of the onset of illness. At first, as tests became more accessible, the numbers improved. In early April 2020, less than 10% of survey participants reporting illness with fever received test results within a week. By late July, that proportion had increased to 24.1%. Throughout the summer and fall, as tests became easier to find, the number of sick participants who reported getting tested remained flat. By late October, only 26% reported receiving a test result within a week of febrile illness. “It’s shocking to me that when people have a fever they’re still not getting tested,” said coauthor Dr. Mark Pletcher of the University of California, San Francisco. “Tests are easy to come by. People might have coronavirus, might be spreading it to their friends and neighbors, and they’re not getting tested.” (https://bit.ly/2QUyMzf)
Open in an external browser for a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.
(Reporting by Nancy Lapid, Alistair Smout and Ronnie Cohen; Editing by Bill Berkrot
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