A quarter-million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are expected in Ontario next week. The province says they will be used to provide second shots to those who’ve already had one, although the timing of that is to be determined. Ontario has decided against giving more AstraZeneca first doses due to a small risk of a rare blood-clotting syndrome. The province also says it is developing a plan to vaccinate 12 to 17 year olds starting in June.
Mixing Different Vaccines:
Preliminary results of an ongoing study in the United Kingdom suggest alternating the COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech causes mild to moderate symptoms to happen more often. They haven’t yet determined how a combination of shots would affect the immune system’s response compared with using the same vaccine for both the prime and booster shots. Chief investigator Matthew Snape says the results suggest mixed-dose schedules could cause an increase in work absences the day after immunization, which would be useful to consider when planning inoculation of health-care workers.
Trudeau Doubles Down on AstraZeneca Safety:
Federal officials are seeking to assure Canadians on the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, as some provinces say they will hold off giving it as a first dose. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who recently got his first dose of the AstraZeneca shot, says his doctor told him he should get a second shot of the same vaccine. Trudeau adds that advice about mixing first and second doses of different vaccines shouldn’t be provided by politicians, and public health officials and scientists are looking into it. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also says he’s happy to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca, and he will take whatever is offered to him for the second dose.
New Vaccine Eligibility Opens Today:
Ontarians aged 40 and older can book COVID-19 vaccine appointments starting today. Eligibility is open to that age group through the provincial vaccine booking system. People in their 40s were offered the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot at pharmacies earlier this spring. Now, they can book shots at more clinics across the province, likely for other vaccines.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) May 12, 2021
The Auditor General Says the Province Was Bad at Tracking Pandemic Money:
The provincial auditor says the Ontario government failed to properly track $4.4-billion dollars in COVID-19 relief spending. Bonnie Lysyk tabled her report yesterday after looking at 26 health-related COVID-19 spending programs authorized between March and June of last year. Overall, she says 17 lacked processes related to verifying proper use or timely distribution of funds — including high-profile programs like pandemic pay increases for front-line workers. The program was announced in late April with the promise that workers would start receiving the increases immediately, but the audit found the money did not start flowing until mid-June. To read the report: CLICK HERE
Delay in Pandemic Pay for Essential Workers; Inconsistent and Late Reporting of Actual Spending on Initial COVID-19 Emergency Relief Programs: Auditor General https://t.co/DE3VOIKXWB #onpoli pic.twitter.com/uqCnx8w2Xc
— Auditor General ON (@OntarioAuditor) May 12, 2021
Mayors Continue To Advocate for Outdoor Activities:
Yesterday’s update in Peel Region include renewed calls for outdoor activities to resume:
The Patient Ombudsman Plans to do a Survey:
Ontario’s Patient Ombudsman is launching a survey related to COVID-19 and long-term care. Craig Thompson says it’s important to learn from all those affected. He says many concerns are best resolved by listening to those who live and work in long-term care homes. The anonymous survey is open to residents, families, caregivers and staff members, and results will be reported in the fall.
Manitoba’s death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 1,000. Health officials in the province reported 364 new cases yesterday and three new deaths from the virus. Federal data shows Manitoba has seen the second-highest per-capita death rate among provinces, behind Quebec. COVID-19 vaccination appointments are now open to all adults in Manitoba.
Poll Finds Ontarians Are Frustrated, Anxious And Bored:
A new poll has confirmed what most already suspected. Ontarians are growing increasingly frustrated by this third wave of the pandemic. The Maru poll found that 68 per cent of residents think things will continue to get worse before they start to get better and more than a third of respondents say they are frustrated, anxious and bored. Ontarians were the least likely in Canada to report feeling positive about the situation, at just 37 per cent, compared to 43 per cent across Canada.
Nova Scotia Introduces Paid Sick Days:
Locked-down Nova Scotia reported another 149 new COVID-19 cases yesterday — most of them in the area that includes Halifax. Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh is pleased the provincial government has announced four paid sick days available for workers who may need to take time off before the end of July to protect themselves, their families and co-workers from COVID-19. That’s one day more than what Ontario and B-C have allotted for their workers. Newfoundland and Labrador reported 10 new infections, while New Brunswick had nine.
More Provinces Pause AstraZeneca:
Nova Scotia and Manitoba have joined several other provinces in stopping the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a first dose. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec all made that call on Tuesday. Nova Scotia cited the risk of a rare blood-clotting condition as a reason behind the decision. More than 655,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the global vaccine sharing alliance known as COVAX are scheduled to arrive and be distributed to provinces sometime next week. Most provinces have said they plan to reserve the shots for second doses.
There were nearly 6,200 new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported nationwide Wednesday, bringing the country’s total confirmed case count above 1.3-million. There were also another 53 deaths. Ontario logged over 2,300 new infections, while Alberta reported another 1,800. With 25,000 active cases, Alberta still has the dubious distinction of holding the country’s highest active-case rate of 564 per 100,000 people. Yukon and Prince Edward Island were the only spots in the country logging no new cases.
1/4 #COVID19 key concerns in Canada: on Monday @WHO designated the #SARSCoV2 B.1.617 variant, first identified in India, as a Variant of Concern (VOC) based on early evidence of increased negative impacts compared to other circulating virus variants. https://t.co/WnVLGwHsg8
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) May 12, 2021
Ontario confirmed 2,320 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, along with 32 more deaths from the virus. The latest numbers show 1,673 people in hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 776 are in intensive care and 559 are on ventilators. The number of recovered cases continued to lap the number of new infections. There were 3,477 more resolved cases yesterday, bringing the number of active cases in the province down by over 1,000.
Ontario is reporting 2,320 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 45,700 tests completed. Locally, there are 712 new cases in Toronto, 452 in Peel, 157 in York Region and 139 in Durham and 113 in Hamilton.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) May 12, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
There were 91 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Waterloo Region Public Health yesterday but no new deaths. Active cases increased by thirty-one to 476. Hospitalizations dropped again, down by two to 42.
There were 47 new cases yesterday in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit. 24 were in Guelph, 17 in Wellington and 6 in Dufferin. The number of active cases increased by eleven to 345. Hospitalizations remained stable at 31, with 14 of those in the ICU.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube