Coronavirus: What’s Happening in Canada and Around the World on Saturday

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Israel continues its aggressive campaign of offering coronavirus boosters to almost anyone over the age of 12 and says its approach was further justified by a US decision to vaccinate older patients or those at higher risk.

Israeli officials attribute the recall, which has already been administered to around a third of the population, to helping suppress the country’s latest wave of COVID-19 infections.

They say the different approaches are based on the same awareness that the recall is the right way forward and expect the United States and other countries to expand their campaigns in the months to come.

“The decision bolstered our results that the third dose is safe,” said Dr Nadav Davidovich, director of the school of public health at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and chairman of the association of medical doctors. public of the country. “The main question now is to prioritize.”

The World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on recalls until at least the end of the year so more people in poor countries can receive their first two doses, but Israeli officials say the recall is equally important in preventing infections.

Before the start of the school year in Israel on September 1, the Army’s Home Front Command began performing serological tests on children aged 3 to 12 who have not yet tested positive for the coronavirus and are not yet listed as cured, to see if they have any antibodies. If a child tests positive for anti-coronavirus antibodies, they may receive a “green pass,” allowing them to attend classes in person. (Menahem Kahana / AFP / Getty Images)

“We know for sure that the current system of vaccine nationalism harms us all and creates variants,” said Davidovich, who is also a member of an Israeli government panel. But he added that the problem is “much larger than Israel”.

Israel rushed early this year to vaccinate most of its adult population after making a deal with Pfizer to exchange medical data in exchange for a steady supply of doses. He also purchased large quantities of Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Most adults had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine in March, dropping infection levels and allowing the government to lift nearly all restrictions on coronaviruses.

But in June, the highly infectious delta variant began to spread. After investigating the matter, the experts concluded that the vaccine was still effective against the virus but that its effectiveness declined around five months after the second injection.

At the end of July, Israel began distributing booster shots to citizens at risk, including those over the age of 60. In a few weeks, he extended the campaign to the entire population.

More than three million of Israel’s nine million citizens have received a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine, according to the health ministry.

In a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, Israeli experts said that in people vaccinated five months earlier, the booster increased the effectiveness of the vaccine tenfold compared to vaccinated patients who had not received it. .

This study followed about one million people aged 60 and over and found that the booster was “very effective in reducing the rate of confirmed infection and serious illness,” the health ministry said.

Senior Israeli health official Dr Sharon Alroy Preiss was among experts testifying before a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel last week in favor of the recall. But the regulator decided not to use boosters for the general population, choosing to allow them only for people aged 65 or older and those belonging to high-risk groups.

Experts cited a lack of data on the safety of additional doses and also questioned the value of mass boosters, rather than those intended for specific groups. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a similar approval Thursday.

The Israeli Ministry of Health said the FDA decision “gave validity to the third vaccination operation” underway in Israel, which “decided to act responsibly and swiftly to deal with the growing infections. “. He said statistics show that the booster dose “restored protection”.


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What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Tam is urged to advise parents who are considering vaccinating their children against COVID:

Tam urged to counsel parents considering COVID-19 vaccines for children

A reporter asks Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, for advice for parents who are considering vaccinating their children once the COVID-19 vaccine is available for children under 12. 4:01

New Brunswick is back under a state of COVID-19 emergency as hospitals across the province struggle to cope with a wave of infections caused by the highly contagious delta variant.

Infectious disease expert Dr Gordon Dow said on Friday it was a mistake for the province to lift health protection measures almost two months ago.

WATCH | The lifting of the restrictions was a mistake, a New Brunswick official said:

“It was not the right decision to make”

One of the province’s top infectious disease specialists says lifting the restrictions at the end of July was a mistake. 1:39

Prime Minister Blaine Higgs has reimposed a mask mandate for indoor public places and imposed new rules to limit contact, ensure physical distancing, and require certain businesses and events to have vaccination or masking and testing policies.

The number of people hospitalized in the province currently stands at 31, including 15 in intensive care, he said.

In Alberta, the Edmonton remand center is facing an outbreak of COVID-19, with 43 inmates testing positive on Friday, Alberta health services confirmed this week. That’s against 39 positive cases on Wednesday.

All inmates who test positive have a mild form of the disease, AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson said.


What is happening in the world

As of Saturday morning, more than 231.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University Case Tracker, which collects data from around the world. The death toll worldwide was over 4.7 million.

In Africa, South Africa sent a train to one of the country’s poorest provinces, carrying COVID-19 vaccines and doctors and nurses to administer them.

The vaccine train, named Transvaco, is on a three-month tour of the Eastern Cape province and will stop at seven stations for two weeks at a time to vaccinate people.

Medical staff are preparing the COVID-19 vaccination train parked at the Swartkops marshalling yard outside Gqeberha, South Africa, for the arrival of patients on September 23. Workers vaccinated just under 1,000 people in the city. (Jerome Delay / The Associated Press)

The initiative was launched by the public railway company Transnet. It aims to tackle head-on two of the biggest challenges of vaccine deployment in South Africa: distributing doses to areas beyond major cities and convincing residents of those regions who may be reluctant to get vaccinated.

The train can hold up to 108,000 doses of vaccine in ultra-cold refrigerators. It has nine coaches, including accommodation coaches and a staff kitchen and dining room, a vaccination area and consultation rooms.

In Europe, several hundred demonstrators gathered on Saturday in the Netherlands to demonstrate against the introduction of a “corona pass” as proof of vaccination against COVID-19 has become mandatory to enter bars, restaurants, theaters and other places.

Residents of The Hague are participating in a demonstration on Saturday against the new rules requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test to enter bars, restaurants and cultural events in the Netherlands. (Eva Plevier / Reuters)

The new requirement to show the pass, or a recent negative coronavirus test, coincided with the lifting of almost all physical distancing measures in the country, where 72% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

More than 40% of bar and restaurant owners do not intend to ask customers for the vaccination certificate, the country’s hotel industry association Horeca Nederland said, citing a survey of its members. He said many companies saw the requirement as a “policy tool” to boost vaccine uptake.

In the Americas, the Washington State Department of Health said it would immediately begin offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to certain people following recommendations from the United States Food and Drug Administration and other groups.

State health officials said Friday that at least six months after completing the Pfizer primary vaccine series, people aged 65 and older; people aged 18 and over living in a long-term care facility; and people aged 50 to 64 with underlying health conditions or at increased risk of social inequalities should receive a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine.

In Asia, the daily increase in coronavirus infections in South Korea topped 3,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic as the country moved away from its biggest holiday of the year, the Korean version of Thanksgiving .

A woman wearing a mask climbs an escalator in Seoul on Friday. (Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters)

The 3,273 new cases reported on Saturday marked the 81st consecutive day of more than 1,000 and were about 840 more cases than the previous one-day high of 2,434 set a day earlier.

Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, said it was essential to maintain stable quarantine measures until the end of October to allow more of the population to get away with it. get vaccinated.


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