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World isn’t ready for coronavirus outbreak, says Canadian WHO expert – Red Deer Advocate

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OTTAWA — The world is not ready for the global spread of the novel coronavirus, according to the renowned Canadian epidemiologist who led a team of experts to China to study the virus on behalf of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Bruce Aylward returned from a two-week mission to China, including the city of Wuhan where the spread of the coronavirus began, urging other countries to get ready for a potential outbreak within their own borders as soon as possible.

“This virus will show up,” he warned at a briefing Tuesday.

“This is going to come soon, potentially. You’ve got to be shifting to readiness, rapid-response thinking.”

Aylward led a team of 25 world experts, who operated independently of the WHO and their associated institutions.

There are more than 80,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide and 2,700 people are known to have died from it, the vast majority of them in China.

The team found that countries should be looking to China for expertise in how to manage and treat the illness now known as COVID-19, noting that country has taken an aggressive approach to testing, containing and treating people who contract the coronavirus.

China has all but locked down whole cities of millions of people in an attempt to keep COVID-19 from spreading and has instituted door-to-door checks of people’s temperatures to find sick people and order them into mass treatment centres.

Despite the massive outbreak in China, Aylward said China has seen some success repressing the spread of the virus, with the number of new confirmed cases on the decline.

But he warned the spread of the virus to other countries seems inevitable, and they will need to tackle it with the goal of tracing every case and stopping chains of transmission.

He urged all countries to make sure hospitals increase their bed capacities and have enough ventilators for the very sick. He said they should also prepare to quarantine large numbers of people who come into contact with those who have confirmed cases of the disease.

“There’s nothing on that list that countries can’t do,” he said.

Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Tuesday that Canada is already ahead of many countries because it has a pandemic plan in place and federal authorities have been co-ordinating with provincial health care providers about the COVID-19 response for months now.

Still, Canada has so far been focused on containing sick people coming in from abroad and must now start to prepare for the possibility of local spread.

“As it appears that containment is less and less likely to be successful globally, we turn our attention to our domestic preparedness,” Hajdu said.

The health minister had a warning of her own, for all Canadians.

“It’s important for Canadians to realize that this may cause disruptions in their lives. It might mean that if someone is ill in their family that people may have to be isolated, that businesses may have to have contingency plans,” she said.

Aylward’s final report, which includes findings about how the disease is transmitted, has not yet been released. It had been submitted to the WHO and Chinese authorities, who will be responsible for releasing it to the public.

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'Never' or just 'not yet?' How timing affects COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy – Medical Xpress

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Timing plays a role in decisions, so vaccine hesitancy may not mean that a person will never choose to be vaccinated. Credit: Pixabay

As COVID-19 case counts continue to rise across Canada, it is clear that we’re far from “out of the woods” with this pandemic. While much is still unknown about the Omicron variant, it seems very likely that existing vaccines will offer protection against severe cases of COVID-19, and Canada is rapidly administering booster shots in an effort to help to bolster immunity.

While vaccination coverage against COVID-19 is relatively high (76.49 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated at the time of writing), there remains a substantial group of Canadians who are either unvaccinated, or only partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

At this point in the pandemic (more than six months after most Canadian adults became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine), should we declare this level of as the “vaccine ceiling?” Our research suggests the answer is no.

Vaccine hesitancy in a COVID-19 world

As defined by the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), the term “vaccine hesitancy” is used to describe “a delay or refusal of vaccination, despite availability of vaccination services.” The range of reasons why some Canadians remain unvaccinated is wide, including (but not limited to) concerns about “personal freedom,” health concerns and the belief that COVID-19 is not as serious a health threat as it’s made out to be.

Much of the existing research on vaccine hesitancy has focused on identifying personal or demographic factors associated with , such as age, gender and socio-economic status. Our research investigated the role of timing in vaccine uptake.

Given the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its vaccines, not all Canadians gained access to a vaccine at the same time—and many around the world are still waiting for access. As a result, people had to start thinking about their vaccine decisions in hypothetical or future contexts. Because of this, we sought to understand how thinking about COVID-19 vaccine availability along different timelines might influence a person’s vaccine decisions.

Survey results

In December 2020 (just prior to broad vaccine availability in Canada), we asked Canadian survey respondents about their impending vaccine decisions. Each participant was presented with one variation of the question: “If a coronavirus vaccine was available to you (today, or in one month, or in six months, or in one year), would you get vaccinated, or not?”

In analyzing results from this experiment, we found that the proportion of most enthusiastic participants (those who selected “Yes, as soon as possible” as a response) increased substantially as the proposed date of vaccine availability became more distant.

Even more interesting was our finding that the proportion of hesitant people decreased as the proposed date of vaccination moved further into the future. The proportion who responded that they would “Wait some time” before vaccination, and the proportion who responded, “No, I would not get a coronavirus vaccine,” both decreased as vaccine availability became more distant in time.

This has important implications for Canadian policy-makers. While the swift uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine might be the ideal scenario for squashing case counts, these findings suggest that those who are hesitant aren’t necessarily going to refuse the vaccine altogether.

This finding may also be useful for countries that are much further behind on mass vaccination efforts, as it suggests a delayed vaccine rollout might encounter less hesitancy and have faster uptake.

What are they waiting for?

We also asked open-ended questions about what Canadians would wait for, before getting the vaccine. What we found is that many Canadians who said they were waiting for “some time to pass” were couching their true concerns (for example, waiting for a certain number of other people to be successfully vaccinated first) within the more broad category of “timing.”

It may be useful to remember this finding when having conversations with folks who might be vaccine hesitant. Offering space for people to elaborate on their vaccine concerns might help bypass default responses and reveal alternative reasoning that has the potential to be addressed.

In some cases, these concerns might even be addressed with empathetic listening, by input from trusted experts or from evidence that speaks to the values and beliefs of those who have questions.

As recent Omicron surges remind us, vaccination alone is not a silver bullet in the fight against COVID-19. However, it remains an important tool in mitigating the spread and severity of the disease, and the United Nations Foundation still positions vaccine equity as our best exit strategy for the pandemic.

It seems nearly certain that there will remain a group of Canadians who choose to never receive a COVID-19 . However, our findings suggest that it is unwise to assume that all Canadians who have not yet been vaccinated will never do so. They may just be waiting.


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Vaccine hesitancy changes over time: Attitudes toward vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic


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‘Never’ or just ‘not yet?’ How timing affects COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy (2022, January 18)
retrieved 19 January 2022
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Grey Bruce Health Services Has Highest Number Of COVID-19 Patients Yet – Bayshore Broadcasting News Centre

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Grey Bruce Health Services says it has its highest number of COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital since the start of the pandemic.

A release from Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) says the hospital organization says there are 16 COVID-positive patients in hospital. It says there are 10 patients admitted with COVID who are being treated for their symptoms, and three of those patients are in ICU on ventilators.

Six other patients were admitted for other health reasons, and are positive for COVID-19.

Hospital President and CEO Gary Sims says in a statement, “In previous waves of the pandemic, we accepted patients from Manitoba and the GTA, and now we are faced with transferring patients out of hospital.”
He adds, “We are over capacity almost daily, and our staff and physicians are doing an amazing job under increasingly challenging circumstances.”

The hospital says, “The level of care required for ICU patients with COVID-19 is resource intense, at a time when staff absenteeism is high, and capacity is strained.”

The release explains, all patients who are positive for the virus are treated in isolation rooms with stringent infection control measures in place. Those who are critically ill require a full team of 24/7 support from staff and physicians, and can be hospitalized for several weeks.

It also notes, “With 11 Grey Bruce retirement/long-term care homes reporting an outbreak, hospitalized patients waiting to return to these facilities cannot be discharged, which adds to overcapacity issues across GBHS.”

GBHS recently announced reduced visiting to essential care-givers only. Elective surgeries and procedures have been postponed to conserve human resource and bed capacity.

Sims says, “We know those who are fully vaccinated are less likely to be hospitalized if they contract COVID, and are at less risk of becoming seriously ill compared to those who are unvaccinated,” said Sims.

He says, “We are asking everyone to get fully vaccinated to reduce the pressure on our hospital system, and to help alleviate the strain on our staff and physicians.”

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Fourth Port Moody hospital COVID-19 outbreak over – The Tri-City News

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There are no current outbreaks of COVID-19 at health-care properties across the Tri-Cities as of this afternoon (Jan. 18).

Fraser Health declared the latest outbreak over within the elder acute-care unit at Eagle Ridge Hospital.

This was the fourth known outbreak of the virus at the Port Moody regional facility since the pandemic began.

Eight lab-confirmed cases were reported during the 13-day alert, including five patients and three staff members. No deaths were recorded.

“With the implementation of comprehensive strategies, there is no longer an outbreak at this site,” a Fraser Health release reads.

Historically, 56 COVID-19 infections have been detected at Eagle Ridge Hospital including the five found between Jan. 5 and today.

During the previous three outbreaks, six people died due to complications with the virus — all during the first declaration in March 2021.

As well, there have been three known COVID-19 outbreaks in Eagle Ridge Manor throughout the course of the pandemic, which is a long-term care facility at the hospital.

Between November 2020 and February 2021, seven total cases of the virus were detected including five staff members; no deaths were recorded.

This comes nearly a week after Fraser Health ended the COVID-19 outbreak at Hawthorne Lodge in Port Coquitlam.

As of this publication, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is reporting a 54 per cent triple-vaccination rate among eligible residents aged 50 years and older — a jump of near 10 per cent in the last week.

Currently, 54 per cent of kids aged five to 11 in the region have received a first dose of vaccine against the virus, which is the fourth highest average in Fraser Health.

The Tri-Cities also has a 91 per cent double-vaccination rate among those aged 12 and up, as well as a 93 per cent single-dose rate.

Across B.C., a record 854 COVID-19 patients are now filling hospital beds as of today, with 112 of those in intensive care units (ICUs).

The total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in B.C. is 35 more than yesterday (Jan. 17), and it follows the government’s decision last week to broaden the categories of COVID-19 patients that are counted. 

Newly counted are those who catch COVID-19 while already in hospital, people who entered COVID-19 for COVID-19 illness and are no longer deemed infectious, and COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals who normally reside outside the province. 

– with a file from Glen Korstrom, Business In Vancouver

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