The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance that it calls the first step in restoring normalcy. The CDC says fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or social distancing. But it still recommends fully vaccinated people wear well-fitted masks, avoid large gatherings, and physically distance themselves when out in public.
#COVID19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic. To learn more, visit: https://t.co/FJMon7WlFO. pic.twitter.com/AjnGbe62us
— CDC (@CDCgov) March 8, 2021
Some Ontario Residents Will Get Vaccinated on the Honour System:
No documentation will be required for people with pre-existing health conditions to get COVID-19 vaccinations when the rollout expands next month. In addition to vaccinations based on age, health officials have said shots will be offered to people with high-risk health conditions such as organ transplant recipients. Health Minister Christine Elliot says she does not believe people will take advantage of the honour system. Elliot says local public health units may be able to check with a person’s family physician, but that will not be mandatory.
Pfizer Claims They Weren’t Expecting Health Canada to Approve Them So Quickly:
Pfizer Canada says they were caught off guard by Canada’s speedy approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, two months ahead of when they expected. That’s what company president Cole Pinnow told the Commons health committee yesterday. He said it was only in November that the federal government and Pfizer realized the approval could be imminent and that the company began moving quickly to deliver doses months earlier than planned. In his testimony, Pinnow also said changes to the dosing schedule and conflicting advice could make more people vaccine hesistant. Health Canada authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use with two doses given 21 days apart in December.
But the National Advisory Committee on Immunization last recommended delaying the second dose from three week to four months afterward. Pinnow told the House of Commons committee that the expert panel didn’t contact Pfizer before its recommendation.
Conservatives raise concerns about lack of clarity on 4-month delay for second Pfizer vaccine dose https://t.co/HDm61pJji8
— Michelle Rempel Garner (@MichelleRempel) March 8, 2021
Pregnant Women Are Getting Prioritized for Vaccines:
The president of the Ontario Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is applauding the province’s move to include pregnant women on its priority list of recipients in the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccination plan. Dr. Constance Nasello says that although pregnant women were excluded from initial trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, there is increasing evidence that the vaccines are safe for them. Ontario health authorities listed pregnancy as a factor putting someone at risk for hospitalization or death from COVID-19 as they released details of the province’s vaccination plan Friday. That means pregnant women would be eligible for a vaccine during the second phase of the vaccine rollout.
Quebec Takes a Stand on the AstraZeneca Vaccine:
Quebec says it will not follow recommendations from Canada’s national vaccine expert panel regarding the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. It says its provincial vaccine expert committee is recommending that all approved doses be used immediately to reduce death and hospitalizations, especially for people in their 70s. Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization has said the AstraZeneca vaccine is not recommended for people aged 65 years and over because of insufficient data.
Dr Williams Still Wants Us to Stay Home:
Ontario’s top doctor says people should continue to stay home except for essential trips as all regions re-enter the provincial pandemic framework after a stay-at-home order. Dr. David Williams says the province is in “a race against time” as it aims to to vaccinate people against COVID-19 while more infectious variants of the virus spread. He says it’s easier to become infected with the new variants and people should still be careful. That’s as restrictions on in-person retail shopping loosened in Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay yesterday.
Here is yesterday’s update:
Vaccines Have Saved Lives in LTC Homes:
A new report says COVID-19 vaccinations among long-term care residents and staff have prevented more than 2,600 infections and 615 deaths. The report by science experts advising the Ontario government says COVID-19 deaths among long-term care residents plunged 96 per cent two months after vaccinations began in December. It also says COVID-19 infections dropped by 89 per cent among residents and by 79 per cent among workers. The report notes that strong public health measures implemented in December and January worked along with vaccinations to prevent infections.
Calls for the Feds to do More For Low Income Women:
A report by the Labour Market Information Council says the pandemic has dealt the hardest economic blow to low-income women. And it wants Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to address the issue when it comes to any federal efforts to aid in a recovery. The report finds employment for women running about 5.3 per cent below pre-pandemic levels compared to about 3.7 per cent for men — mostly due to the hit the food services and accommodation sectors have taken.
#DYK 3 out of 5 low income earning people are women.
— Labour Market Information Council (@LMIC_CIMT) March 8, 2021
Toronto Mass Vaccination Clinics:
Three Toronto mass vaccination sites will open to the general public on March 17th. The city announced the opening yesterday. COVID-19 vaccination sites will run at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Scarborough Town Centre and the Toronto Congress Centre. Toronto Mayor John Tory says the city is preparing to vaccinate its residents on a large scale.
Here is yesterday’s Toronto update:
Toronto Set Up A Phone Line for Vaccine Reservations:
Toronto has set up its own online and telephone booking system for COVID-19 vaccinations a week before the province’s system is to begin operations. The website says appointments are currently only available for priority groups identified by the province, including those at least 80-years-old and Indigenous adults. Councillor Joe Cressy, who chairs the city’s board of health, says the booking system is a necessary step until the provincial system arrives. The city says several hospitals and community health care centres are operating about 17 vaccination clinics, including mobile teams.
31 Fly-in Indigenous Communities Have Received Their First Shots:
The province says the delivery of first doses of COVID-19 vaccines is now complete in 31 fly-in Indigenous communities. The provincial government calls that a milestone in its effort to provide protection against the virus in remote areas. Ontario aims to complete second doses in those communities by the end of April.
Ontario has reached a key milestone in protecting remote and isolated Indigenous communities against COVID-19, having visited all 31 fly-in northern communities and Moosonee to offer first doses of the vaccine through #OpRemoteImmunity https://t.co/JVna6ZegRb pic.twitter.com/m0wp2icFCW
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 8, 2021
Ontario reported 1,631 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday but the case count was higher than expected due to a data catch-up process. The provincial system is fed by public health officials in local public health units. Some have struggled to report timely and accurate numbers during their migration to the provincial platform. There were also 10 new deaths related to the virus confirmed yesterday. There were also 20 more people admitted to hospital. 994 more cases were marked as resolved.
Ontario is reporting 1,631 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 38,100 tests completed. Locally, there are 568 new cases in Toronto, 322 in Peel and 119 in York Region.
As of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, 912,486 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 8, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Yesterday Public Health confirmed 51 new COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region, along with 2 new deaths. The death toll now sits at 235. Hospitalizations decreased be two to 34 but there are now 7 people in intensive care. The number of active cases dropped to 376. That is a drop of 15. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reported that there were 67 new cases from the weekend. Active cases is up to 181 with now 4 people hospitalized. 3 of those cases are in the ICU.
Two pop-up Indigenous clinics will open in Waterloo Region for First Nation, Métis and Inuit residents who want to get the vaccine in a culturally appropriate setting. Read more about this community collaboration: https://t.co/WB22lSiXkT pic.twitter.com/IsLfLUs15u
— Region of Waterloo (@RegionWaterloo) March 8, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: The CDC