September 21st, 2022:

Canada to drop COVID-19 vaccine border policy, ArriveCan to be optional: sources

The federal government plans to drop its COVID-19 vaccine border requirements by the end of September and make the ArriveCan application optional, sources confirmed to CTV News.

The government is expected to make this policy change by the end of the month, and the sources indicated the Liberals would also end the outstanding random COVID-19 testing for travellers.

 

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Canada Lift Vaccine Mandate
Young Child getting Vaccinated

September 14th, 2022:

Health Canada approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids six months to four years old

By CP STAFF

Ottawa–Health Canada approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine today for use in children between six months and four years old.

The federal department says after a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, it concluded the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine outweigh the potential risks for kids.

It’s the second vaccine to be approved for that age group, after Health Canada approved Moderna’s Spikevax shot in July.

Health Canada says it is approving a three-dose primary series of the vaccine for children under five, with three weeks between the first and second doses and eight weeks between the second and third doses.

The department says the jabs, which target the original strain of COVID-19, remain effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death.

The government recently approved a newer version of Moderna’s vaccine that targets the Omicron variant of COVID-19, but its use has not yet been approved for the youngest cohort.

September 13th, 2022:

All Ontario adults to be eligible for Omicron-specific COVID-19 booster as of Sept. 26

Vulnerable Ontarians aged 18 years and over can now book bivalent COVID-19 booster appointments with eligibility expanding to all on Sept. 26.

The bivalent booster is an adapted version of the original Moderna mRNA vaccine, and targets both the original strain of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Individuals can receive this booster at least six months after their most recent dose, regardless of how many prior boosters they’ve had.

“The bivalent COVID-19 booster is a safe and effective way for people to better protect themselves against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variants in Ontario,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said in a statement.

 

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Omicron Variant
Weak spot in major variants

August 18th, 2022:

COVID-19: UBC researchers discover ‘weak spot’ in all major variants

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered a “weak spot” in all major variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, a breakthrough that could lead to universally effective treatments.

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August 18th, 2022:

Large Canadian study suggests COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are safe to use in pregnancy

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are safe to use in pregnancy and pregnant women experienced lower rates of health events post vaccination than similarly aged, non-pregnant vaccinated people, suggests a large Canadian study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected pregnant women, who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease compared with similarly aged non-pregnant individuals. COVID-19 vaccines were recommended for use in pregnancy in many countries early on in vaccine deployment, based on established prior safety of inactivated vaccines in pregnancy and reassuring data from the small number of pregnancies occurring during pre-authorization vaccine trials.

 

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COVID-19 mRNA Pregnancy
COVID-19 Vaccine Patch

August 9th, 2022:

COVID VAX PATCH BEATS NEEDLES FOR FIGHTING VARIANTS

The research, conducted in partnership with Brisbane biotechnology company Vaxxas, tested the Hexapro SARS-CoV-2 spike vaccine using the Vaxxas high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) technology. The results found the patch was far more effective at neutralizing COVID-19 variants.

The vaccine patch appeared to counteract new variants more effectively than the current SARs-CoV-2 vaccine delivered by injection, says Christopher McMillan of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland.

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August 9th, 2022:

COVID-19 patients more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease – study

People who have been infected with COVID-19 are at increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus (DM) and cardiovascular diseases (CVD), a study has found. Researchers from King’s College London investigated whether a sample of those who were at one time infected with COVID-19 developed diabetes and heart disease at a higher rate than those who were never infected, and found that the answer was in the affirmative, but only in the short term.

In the peer-reviewed study published in PLOS Medicine, researchers analyzed the medical records of close to 430,000 patients who did not have DM or CVD matched with an equal number of control patients from 1,356 family clinics across the UK. Researchers accounted for differences in differences in age, ethnicity, smoking habits, body mass index, blood pressure and other factors among patients.

 

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SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Test Study
Middle aged woman getting her vaccine

June 20th, 2022:

Novavax Is the Latest Approved COVID Vaccine—Here’s What to Know About It

With the recent emergence of BA.4 and BA.5 variants and the surge in COVID cases, many people are concerned about their safety. The good news is that the FDA recently approved a fourth vaccine, Novavax, offering another option for adults in the U.S. who have not been vaccinated.

How effective is this new vaccine? And what makes Novavax different from the others? Here’s everything you need to know.

Read More

July 20th, 2022:

You’ll likely catch COVID-19 again and again. Will each round feel milder?

By this point in the pandemic, you’ve likely had COVID-19 at least once. Maybe twice. Perhaps even three times, as some unfortunate Canadians have experienced, all while this virus evolved to become increasingly savvy at infecting us.

It’s clear that reinfections from this coronavirus are the norm, much like with those behind the common cold. Unfortunately, that also means early speculation about one-and-done bouts of COVID-19 offering immunity against future infections has long gone out the window.

 

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woman at a coffee shop sneezing into her bent elbow to stop from spreading the germs
Covid Vaccine Blunder

June 20th, 2022:

BA.5 Symptoms, At-Home Testing and Everything Else We Know About the New COVID Variant

What’s happening

The omicron variant of COVID-19 keeps changing, creating newer, more contagious variants. BA.5 seems to be the most contagious version to date and is causing most current COVID-19 cases in the US

Why it matters

BA.5 is causing more reinfection in people who already had COVID-19, including earlier versions of omicron. It’s also evading immunity from the vaccines.

Read More

July 19th, 2022:

The Covid Virus Keeps Evolving. Why Haven’t Vaccines?

ON MARCH 16, 2020, the first volunteer received a shot of Moderna’s then-experimental Covid-19 vaccine, just 63 days after the company had generated a genetic blueprint of the new virus. But Moderna’s rival beat it to the marketplace: Pfizer’s Covid vaccine would be authorized for use in the United States less than a year later, a record-breaking achievement. Previously, the fastest a vaccine had ever been developed was for mumps—which took about four years.

 

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DNA Testing
BA.5 cause more severe diseases

June 18th, 2022:

‘Hypercontagious’ omicron BA.5 variant resistant to prior COVID vaccination, study says

The omicron BA.5 subvariant, which is dominating coronavirus cases reported in the U.S., is much more resistant to mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna, according to a recent Columbia University study. As one of omicron’s newer subvariants, it was described as “hypercontagious” by Dr. Gregory Poland, who leads Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group.

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July 17th, 2022:

Should you get a fourth COVID vaccine dose now or in the fall? Five experts weigh in

 

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When to get your Covid-19 Vaccine
BA.5 cause more severe diseases

July 16th, 2022:

Why the Omicron offshoot BA.5 is a big deal

Read More

July 14th, 2022:

Health Canada approves first COVID-19 vax for youngest kids
By CP STAFF
Ottawa–Canada’s drug regulator approved Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for infants and preschoolers,
making it the first vaccine approved for that age group in the country.

Health Canada now says the Moderna vaccine can be given to young children between the ages of six
months and five years old in doses one-quarter the size of that approved for adults.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is expected to provide advice on its use later today.

The approval expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to nearly two million children in Canada, though the
availability of the vaccine will be determined by provinces.

The vaccine requires two dose given about four weeks apart.

Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for young children between six-months and five-years old was
submitted to Health Canada last month and is still under review.

Question Mark
Not Today #COVID-19

July 13th, 2022:

Expanded Eligibility Criteria for Second Booster Doses

Today the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced
plans to expand the eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccine second booster doses eligibility to Ontarians
aged 18 years of age and older. As previously communicated to members, the updated Executive Officer
Notice states that pharmacies administering COVID-19 vaccines must also have applied for the 2022-23
Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP) program.

Consequently, the Ministry has updated the Administration of Publicly Funded COVID-19 Vaccines in
Ontario Pharmacies program to reflect these changes. Highlights of the changes are provided below, and
the final documents will be shared in our Professional Practice Update once they become available.

Two-Dose Primary Series

Effective July 14, 2022, the Ontario government has expanded the eligibility criteria for second booster
doses to include individuals 18 years of age and older if at least 5 months (140 days) have passed since
the individual's first booster dose. Pharmacists should note that with informed consent, individuals may
receive their second booster dose 3 months (84 days) after their last dose. Eligible individuals who have
received the two-dose primary series will therefore now be eligible for a fourth dose of the COVID-19
vaccine.

Three-Dose Primary Series

As of July 14, 2022, immunocompromised individuals who have completed a three-dose primary series
and received a first booster dose are eligible for a second booster dose if they are:
18 years and older and at least 5 months (140 days) have passed since the individual’s first booster
However, with informed consent, immunocompromised individuals aged 18 years and older may receive
their second booster dose if at least 3 months have passed since they received their first booster dose.
For individuals who have completed a three-dose primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine, the expanded
criteria for second booster doses means they are eligible for a fifth dose.

June 24th, 2022:

Why the timing of your next COVID shot is so important

Read More

When to get your Covid-19 Vaccine
mRNA vaccine promises cure for cancer

June 20th, 2022:

The positive results of a new vaccine have raised hopes of a cure for pancreatic cancer. One of the deadliest cancers with limited treatment options, the survival rate of pancreatic cancer patients is abysmally low despite the medical advances of the last two decades. That makes the messenger RNA vaccine [the same technology used to make the COVID-19 vaccines of US firms Pfizer and Moderna] a major medical breakthrough in treating pancreatic cancer.

The vaccine autogene cevumeran produced promising results in a small trial involving people whose cancers were detected early. Half of the 16 patients remained cancer-free 18 months after their tumours were removed and given the mRNA vaccine.

 

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June 14th, 2022:

Canada to end COVID vaccine mandate for domestic travel: Sources

OTTAWA — Sources confirm the Canadian government is putting an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates for domestic and outbound international travellers and federally regulated workers.

A formal announcement is expected on Tuesday afternoon as the government faces mounting pressure from tourism and travel associations to do away with vaccine mandates to help ease the chaos that has erupted at Canada’s airports and bring rules in line with provincial public health measures.

 

The new rules are expected to come into effect on June 20, though two government sources close to the decision, who were granted anonymity to speak about matters they were not authorized to discuss publicly, say the rules for foreign nationals coming to Canada will not change: International travellers coming to Canada will still be required to show proof of vaccination.

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Canada Lift Vaccine Mandate
Covid Vaccine Blunder

May 27th, 2022:

After weeks at a two-year low, COVID cases are on the rise again in some countries. In the United States, there were 100,000 daily new infections, on average–up from 30,000 in mid-March.

The trend is intensifying an important debate in epidemiological circles. What’s the best strategy for preventing catastrophic mass death from the worst possible new COVID variants? New restrictions? New vaccines? New therapies? A mix of the three?

Whatever consensus takes shape could guide us into the pandemic’s fourth year. But there’s a catch, of course. Public health costs money. And in the world’s richest country, the United States, a few right-wing politicians are doing their damnedest to make sure no new money is available to speed up development, production, and distribution of new vaccines and therapies.

Vaccine development is stalling. China is still pushing locally made vaccines that don’t work very well. The leading Western vaccine manufacturers are focusing on developing boosters specifically for the recent Omicron variant. But by the time these boosters are ready in the fall, Omicron is likely to have been replaced by a new and more dangerous variant.

 

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May 26th, 2022:

Ontario to end most mask mandates Saturday, including in hospitals, on public transit

Masking will remain mandatory in long-term care and retirement homes, province says

Ontario will lift most remaining mask mandates on Saturday, including in hospitals and on public transit.

The mandates are set to expire at 12 a.m. on June 11, but masking will remain mandatory in long-term care and retirement homes, the province’s chief medical officer of health said in a news release on Wednesday.

Dr. Kieran Moore said Ontario’s COVID-19 situation, with the help of high vaccination rates, continues to improve.

Read More

Dropping Major Mask Mandate
Covid Vaccine Blunder

May 27th, 2022:

After weeks at a two-year low, COVID cases are on the rise again in some countries. In the United States, there were 100,000 daily new infections, on average–up from 30,000 in mid-March.

The trend is intensifying an important debate in epidemiological circles. What’s the best strategy for preventing catastrophic mass death from the worst possible new COVID variants? New restrictions? New vaccines? New therapies? A mix of the three?

Whatever consensus takes shape could guide us into the pandemic’s fourth year. But there’s a catch, of course. Public health costs money. And in the world’s richest country, the United States, a few right-wing politicians are doing their damnedest to make sure no new money is available to speed up development, production, and distribution of new vaccines and therapies.

Vaccine development is stalling. China is still pushing locally made vaccines that don’t work very well. The leading Western vaccine manufacturers are focusing on developing boosters specifically for the recent Omicron variant. But by the time these boosters are ready in the fall, Omicron is likely to have been replaced by a new and more dangerous variant.

 

Read More

May 26th, 2022:

New Omicron variants are so infectious that South Africa had a 5th wave even though 97% had antibody protection

Examination of 3,395 samples from blood donors earlier this year, at the tail end of the fourth wave of infections, showed that 87% of South Africans had previously been infected with the virus, while just over 97% had either had a previous infection or a vaccination or both. The study was lead by Stellenbosch University’s DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis and the South African National Blood Service.

The findings demonstrate the ability of the Omicron variant, especially its BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages, to infect those who already have protection against the disease. Still, despite the proportion of positive tests nearing a record daily cases as the latest surge peaked, hospitalizations were well below previous waves and relatively few deaths were recorded.

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Genome Sequence
Infectious disease on a microscopic scale

August 5th, 2021:

How likely are you to contract COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated?  Here’s a look at what we know about what scientists are calling “breakthrough” infections:

At this stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, being fully vaccinated is a highly anticipated milestone among citizens worldwide.

That said, we’ve been hearing more and more about the chance of contracting COVID-19 (even if  you got two shots) due to the growing development of new variants such as Delta.

So… how is this possible?

To put it plainly, vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna allow (very) high protection against the Coronavirus.  However, these new variant developments are more equipped to override, or in other words “break through” the antibodies that current vaccines provide.

It is important to be aware of these developments, and to especially be mindful of those who are immunocompromised and at increased risk due to the rate of spread.  That said, it is also important to not let this affect our confidence in the authorized COVID-19 vaccines.  These instances of infection are rare, and often show mild to no symptoms.  Being vaccinated continues to prove significantly decreased severity of symptoms and chances of being hospitalized.

To read more about the emerging research on variant development, how they will affect the nature of the pandemic, and statistical data presented so far, check out the full SciTechDaily article HERE

August 4th, 2021:

New data from Pfizer suggests that a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can “strongly” boost protection
against the Delta variant beyond the protection afforded by the standard two doses.

The data suggests that antibody levels against the Delta variant in people ages 18 to 55 who receive a
third dose of vaccine are greater than five-fold than following a second dose.

Among people ages 65 to 85, the Pfizer data suggest that antibody levels against the Delta variant after
receiving a third dose of vaccine are greater than 11-fold than following a second dose.

The data also show that antibody levels are much higher after a third dose than a second dose against
the original coronavirus variant and the Beta variant.

This data provided by Pfizer has not yet been peer-reviewed or published.

female getting vaccinated in bicep
A nurse with a paper heart in her breast pocket

August 3rd, 2021:

Myocarditis and Pericarditis After Covid-19 Vaccines: Frequently asked questions

Below is a guide made for teens, their guardians, and young adults, and uses information from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and government data from Canada, Israel, and the United States.

View the full info graphic PDF HERE.

July 3rd, 2021:

Unvaccinated individuals may act as hosts for potential COVID-19 variant mutations: how it works, and how to prevent it

Maggie Fox, Senior Editor of CNN Health puts it into perspective for us: consider a COVID-19 variant a bank robber, and vaccinations the ‘wanted’ poster.  The fewer signs we put up, the more freedom we give the robber to develop their disguise and continue to get away with the crime.

The same can be said about COVID-19 variants.  According to experts such as Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a virus is given the ability to mutate every time it is passed onto a new host.  Oftentimes, these mutations do not come as a threat, don’t alter the variant in any severe way, and sometimes can even weaken the variant depending on the host. 

However, all it takes is one random mutation that can throw the system off entirely, and in turn allow for a higher rate of infection.  Once a mutation is made, this ‘version’ of the variant is what will be passed onto a new host.  What is most worrisome, is when this mutation is transmitted to someone who is not vaccinated.  

An unvaccinated host allows for a more threatening rate of transmission.  When this mutant version is passed on enough times… it becomes a new, more dangerous variant in itself.

Currently, available vaccines protect against all variants, but the World Health Organization is stressing that this can change in the blink of an eye.  

In order for the COVID-19 pandemic to finally run its course, vaccination rates play an integral role in overcoming the odds of the emergence of new variants.  

For more details on variants that have played a part in the COVID-19 pandemic and on the science behind mutations, read the full referenced article here: 

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/unvaccinated-people-are-variant-factories-infectious-diseases-expert-says-1.5495359 

COVID-19 Variant molecule
Healthy young couple going outdoors for a jog

June 21st, 2021:

Regular physical activity: a valuable contributor to protection against COVID-19?

As we know, moving our bodies has proven to benefit us in countless ways, from preventing illnesses like heart disease, dementia, cancer to even helping us live longer. 

It has been proven since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that the above mentioned health conditions increase likelihood of more severe illness after contracting the virus.  That said, there hadn’t been any studies on the direct correlation between exercise and the ability to prevent/fight off COVID-19.

Findings by the British Journal of Sports Medicine through studying patient reports at Kaiser Permanente, California took this a step further and in result, suggest regular physical activity can protect those infected by COVID-19 from getting seriously ill. 

So how did they figure it out? 

By doing a lot of cross analyzing, researchers compared what are called “Exercise Vital Signs”, a pair of questions healthcare providers at Kaiser asked all of their patients to gage their levels of physical activity specifically of those who confirmed having COVID-19 between January and October 2020, and who had also been at the healthcare center six months prior to contracting the virus.  

Even after accounting for characteristics that could have interfered, the findings of regular exercise decreasing the likelihood of becoming seriously ill, admitted to the ICU, and even of death were clear.

Does this mean if you’re keeping active and are vaccinated, you could be ‘super protected’? This still has yet to be studied.  What we do know, though, is that keeping our bodies moving will always be a reliable way to up our chances of fighting off illnessand yes, even COVID-19. 

For more details, visit the Harvard Health Publishing article here: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/does-exercise-help-protect-against-severe-covid-19-202106092475?utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=BF20210621-Exercise&utm_id=3008601&dlv-emuid=89914cb7-2817-4e44-a6d7-57a5cfb17192&dlv-mlid=3008601 

June 15, 2021:

The significant role animals have played in the fight against COVID-19

Animal testing for science has been a sensitive topic for many years— and understandably, a controversial matter for for citizens and activists worldwide. That said, however, it is important to acknowledge the advancements science has made— specifically in the sector of battling infectious disease— due to the ability to perform such clinical trials.

Although exciting advancements have been made, such as the Center for Contemporary Science, where progress is being made to convert human organs into testable micro-versions, the day where animal testing is ethically substituted is not yet within reach.

Melanie Challenger of The Guardian puts it plainly: it is not about being on one side or the other when it comes to animal testing. At this point in time, it is simply about acknowledging the vital role animals have played in the development of drug safety and efficacy testing— which in turn, has saved millions upon millions of lives over past decades, and continue to as move our way through the modern day COVID-19 pandemic.

To read more about the processes behind preclinical trials and the UK’s history in governing research animals, read the full article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/17/animals-overlooked-allies-fight-against-covid-vacci

White lab mouse for testing new medicines
Heart Monitor Chart

June 7th, 2021:

Heart inflammation and COVID-19 vaccines

There may be a link between mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and a small number of people developing myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. A few kids who received the Pfizer vaccine have reported swelling in the heart.

Myocarditis can occur after viral infections, even from a cold. The virus triggers inflammation of the heart as part of the body’s immune response. Symptoms include chest pain and pressure and in more serious cases, an irregular heartbeat. Often, it goes away on its own. In the rare cases it can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Young males appear most likely to get myocarditis after the second dose. Young people have strong immune responses; also their immune systems are already primed from the first dose. So in rare cases, an over exuberant immune response can trigger inflammation.

COVID-19 is a serious threat to heart health; so getting a vaccine to prevent it is the right thing to do. Patients with existing heart disease aren’t at any higher risk of this side effect.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. It’s still important to be aware of the potential risk of heart inflammation. That way, if someone develops symptoms and they’ve recently had their second dose, they won’t just ignore the symptoms and should see a health professional. Since myocarditis is more common in younger people, by the time it’s their turn to get second doses, there should be much clearer data from other countries.

June 3rd, 2021: 

Ontarians who received a first shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can opt to stick with it or choose to get Pfizer or Moderna for their second dose, the province officially said Thursday.

The move was expected after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance earlier this week to allow for mixing and matching of vaccines.

“Both second-dose options available to individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are safe and provide strong protection against COVID-19 and will count as a completed series,” the province said in a news release. “These second dose options will be provided at the recommended 12-week interval.”

Starting tomorrow, June 4, individuals who received the AstraZeneca vaccine at least 12 weeks ago and wish to have a second shot of the same vaccine can contact the pharmacy or physician who provided it for their subsequent dose. Or, if they choose to get a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, they can get a shot at a pharmacy that is offering those.

Beginning on June 7, those who got the AstraZeneca vaccine will be able to book their second of shot of either Pfizer or Moderna through the province’s central system or via their local public health unit, depending on where they live.

a womans hand making a piece sign
Vaccine

June 3rd, 2021:

The latest coronavirus variant of concern appears to be more transmissible and cause more severe symptoms than other variants and could become the dominant strain of the virus in Ontario within weeks.

The variant is one of two in the B.1.617 family, which has largely been responsible for the devastating COVID-19 situation in India. B.1.617.2, known as the “delta variant” is quickly replacing B.1.117 as the most prevalent form of the virus locally and within one month, the delta variant will be the dominant strain in the GTA, with the rest of Ontario soon following.

Vaccines appear to be effective against B.1.617, and increased vaccination rates will be key to avoiding a fourth wave in Canada. The virus is definitely upping its game. Lockdown measures may help but ultimately the best defense is to get Canadians fully vaccinatedespecially in hot spot areas. We must increase vaccination rates in response.

May 28, 2021: 

Dates to remember for second-dose vaccine eligibility in Ontario

Second doses continue to be provided to groups such as long-term care home, retirement home, First Nations Elder Care home residents, high-risk health care workers, essential caregivers, people with health conditions, First Nations, Indigenous, Metis peoples
  • May 31: Ages 80+ can sign up for a second dose
  • June 14: Ages 70-79 can sign up for a second dose
  • June 28: Those who received a first dose between Mar 8 and April 18; those with highest health risk conditions, special education workers
  • July 19: Those who received a first dose between April 19 and May 9; those who are 50+, or with high-risk health conditions
  • August 2: Those who received a first dose between May 10 and May 30; those who cannot work from home, or have at-risk health conditions
  • August 9: Those who received a first dose May 31 and onwards

Anyone eligible for their second dose can go to the same location they received their first shot, or they can book at a different available location through the provincial booking system and pharmacies.

Agenda sitting on a wood table with flowers and a jar with candles in it

May 25, 2021:

Ontario residents who received a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in mid-March will be able to book their second shot this week as the province seeks to use up its stockpile before it expires.

Those who got their first jab of AstraZeneca between March 10 and March 19 during a pilot project at some pharmacies and doctors’ offices will be prioritized for the second dose.

Though the recommended interval between shots is at least 12 weeks, the second injection is being offered to that group after 10 weeks in order to make use of 45,000 doses set to expire in roughly a week.

May 19, 2021: 

Can I get the Pfizer vaccine as a second dose if I got the Astra Vaccine as the first Dose?

It seems that it actually may be better if you do. A Spanish study on mixing COVID-19 vaccines has found that giving a dose of Pfizer’s drug to people who already received a first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine is highly safe and effective.

The Combivacs study, run by Spain’s Carlos III Health Institute, found the immune response in people who received a Pfizer shot was between 30 and 40 times greater than in a control group who only had AstraZeneca doses.

This seems to confirm preliminary data from UK studies. The preliminary findings from the UK studies did show that the common side effects of the second vaccine dose such as fever, tiredness and soreness were greater in people who received mixed vaccine dose regimens. Usually, a heightened routine side effect profile equates with better protection. I guess sometimes we have to earn our immunity.

Question Mark
A female hand grabbing a coffee with a news paper beside the coffee and glasses in between both

May 15, 2021:

Good news and bad news

Good News:

New studies show that delaying the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 3 months increases immunity compared to the regular 21 day second dose schedule. For us in Canada the normal 21 day second dose schedule is not an option. We have to wait 3 months for the second dose. At least we may have a stronger, longer lasting immune response.

Bad news:

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a single shot of the Pfizer vaccine was only 29.5 per cent effective in preventing infection by the B.1.1.7 variant now pervasive in Ontario, and only 54.5 per cent effective in preventing hospitalization or death.

90 per cent of positive samples in Ontario appear to have the characteristics of the B.1.1.7 variant.

So Even If you have had 1 dose of the vaccine, it is imperative that you should still continue to take public safety measures to protect yourself from this particularly virulent B.1.1.7 variant.

May 15, 2021: 

Studies with Mixing Vaccine Types

With the government pausing the AstraZeneca (AZ) and J&J vaccines due to rare blood clots there are millions of people who have received a first dose of these jabs and may now be unable or unwilling to get a second. Allowing mixed-dose vaccination might help these people get fully vaccinated.

In the UK, a Study assessing the mix-and-match theory is underway. Recipients will have received either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine and will be randomly allocated to receive either the same vaccine for their second dose or a different vaccine. In mice, combinations of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines boosted immunity better than two doses of either one alone. Now this cocktail and others are being tested in humans. Preliminary studies show promise.

If these mixed schedules generate an immune response that is as good as the standard schedules, and without a significant increase in the vaccine reactions, this will allow more people to complete their Covid-19 immunisation course more rapidly.

There is no reason to think it’s not going to work, and it might even work better.

Scientist studying chemicals
Vaccine

May 6, 2021: 

Effectiveness of the Pfizer Vaccine to the B.1.1.7 (UK) Variant

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a single shot of the Pfizer vaccine was only 29.5 per cent effective in preventing infection by the B.1.1.7 variant now pervasive in Ontario, and only 54.5 per cent effective in preventing hospitalization or death.

90 per cent of positive samples in Ontario appear to have the characteristics of the B.1.1.7 variant.

With both doses, the vaccine’s efficacy against infection by B.1.1.7, with or without symptoms, was 87 per cent, increasing to 90 per cent 14 days after the second dose. It was 100 per cent effective against severe symptoms or death.

So Even If you have had 1 dose of the vaccine, it is imperative that you should still continue to take public safety measures to protect yourself from this particularly virulent B.1.1.7 variant.

May 5, 2021: 

Where can I get a COVID-19 Test?

  • Follow this link:

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-test-and-testing-location-information

  • Click the “find a testing Location” button
  • Enter your Postal code

Results are sorted by whether you have symptoms/exposure or whether you are asymptomatic.

Cellphone in a stand mounted to a cars windshield displaying directions
Open Sign

May 5, 2021:

COVID-19 Vaccine registration has opened up for individuals 18 years or older living in high risk neighborhoods.  Please follow Ottawa Public Health instructions to register. 

Vaccination is underway for Phase 1 and 2:

  • Adults 55 years of age and older Adults 18 years of age and older living or working in high risk communities
  • Adults 18 years of age and older living in “hot spots” including postal codes starting with K1T, K1V and K2V
  • Adults 40 years of age or older – AstraZeneca vaccine in select pharmacies
  • Staff, caregivers and residents in all retirement homes
  • Priority health care workers identified in the Ministry of Health’s guidance on Health Care Worker Prioritization
  • Non-front-line moderate priority health care workers
  • Faith leaders
  • Adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations
  • Adults receiving chronic home health care who live in high risk communities
  • Special Education workers
  • Clients who are pregnant or with highest risk health conditions and their caregivers
  • Licensed child care workers
  • People who live and work in congregate settings

https://secureforms.ottawapublichealth.ca/vaccines/COVID-19-Vaccine-Screening-Tool

www.my-rx.ca

May 4, 2021: 

Studies with Mixing Vaccine Types

With rare blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca (AZ) and J&J vaccines, there are millions of people who have received a first dose of these jabs and may now be unable or unwilling to get a second. Allowing mixed-dose vaccination might help these people get fully vaccinated.

The Sputnik V vaccine uses two different kinds of adenovirus in its prime and booster doses to deliver genetic instructions. Using an alternative vehicle to deliver the cargo allows the vaccines genetic payload to skirt inadvertent immune attack. It seems to work. Sputnik V is one of the most effective vaccines at 91.6%.

In the UK, a Study assessing the mix-and-match theory is underway. Recipients will have received either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine and will be randomly allocated to receive either the same vaccine for their second dose or a different vaccine. In mice, combinations of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines boosted immunity better than two doses of either one alone. Now this cocktail and others are being tested in humans.

If we can show that these mixed schedules generate an immune response that is as good as the standard schedules, and without a significant increase in the vaccine reactions, this will allow more people to complete their Covid-19 immunization course more rapidly. There is no reason to think it’s not going to work, and it might even work better – who knows?

Scientist mixing chemicals
Syringes

May 4, 2021:

Can we mix two different Vaccines as a first and second dose?

A clinical trial to learn whether mixing the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines can help increase the number of people who can be vaccinated is underway.

Experts say there’s not enough data to know whether this approach is an effective solution. The CDC currently recommends against mixing vaccines except under exceptional circumstances. It’s better to use the same vaccine in one dose until we know more.

NACI recommends that if the vaccine product used for a previously received dose is not known, or not available, attempts should be made to complete the vaccine series with a similar type of COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., mRNA vaccine and mRNA vaccine). It does not recommended that vaccines of different types (e.g., mRNA vaccine and viral vector vaccine) be used in the same series at this time.”

Others argue that mixing two different vaccines could actually do a better job of protecting against Covid-19. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) researcher Dr Kylie Quinn describes vaccines as vehicles delivering cargo – the vehicles may be different, and they may drop off their payloads by different means, but the spike protein cargo is the same. Because the cargo is identical, the vaccines should, in theory, work well together.

May 4, 2021: 

What are the symptoms of a blood clotting reaction to the Astra Zeneca and Janssen/J&J COVID-19 vaccine?

Serious side effects of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine can occur within three weeks of vaccination and require emergency care. Possible symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent stomach pain
  • Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Easy bruising or tiny red spots on the skin beyond the injection site

Visit Thrombosis Canada (Figure-right) for more.

Stop Deadly Blood Clots info sheet

rare blood clot concerns over AstraZeneca Vaccine data
Risk of blood clots for birth control and smoking data

May 4, 2021: 

Do the Astra Zeneca and Janssen/J&J COVID-19 vaccine cause blood clots?

First approved in the United Kingdom on December 30, AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine received World Health Organization (WHO) approval in February and has since expanded to much of Europe, Asia, and Africa. But sporadic reports of a rare blood clotting disorder called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) hindered the vaccine’s rollout. However, both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the WHO insist that the vaccine is safe, citing under 30 reported cases of serious blood clots among 20 million people given the AstraZeneca vaccine across Europe.

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, the only adenovirus-vectored option offered in the U.S., was also temporarily paused in the U.S. in April following rare reports of CVST.

The thought is that the incidents of CVST have something to do with the adenovirus vector that’s being used to deliver that spike protein genetic material. These cases are so rare that most experts believe that there is a “host component”, something about the people who got the clotting disorder that’s different from people who didn’t. Nearly all of those affected have been women ages 18 to 49, with the disorder happening at a rate of 7 for every 1 million vaccinated women in this age group. For women age 50 and older and men of all ages, the disorder is even rarer.

May 4, 2021: 

Can a COVID-19 vaccine give you COVID-19?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines currently being developed don’t use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

It will take a few weeks for your body to build immunity after getting a COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, it’s possible that you could become infected with the just before or after being vaccinated.

Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine even if I’ve already had COVID-19?

Getting COVID-19 might offer some natural protection from reinfection with the virus. But it’s not clear how long this protection lasts. Because reinfection is possible and COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications, it’s recommended that people who have already had COVID-19 get a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Can I still get COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccination will protect most people from getting sick with COVID-19.

A very small percentage of fully vaccinated people will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the COVID-19 virus. These are called vaccine breakthrough cases. However, vaccination might make illness less severe. If you are fully vaccinated, the overall risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 is much lower.

Not Today #COVID-19
Women reading a book on the couch helping her mental health

May 4, 2021

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an existing health condition?

Yes, if you have an existing health condition you can get a COVID-19 vaccine — as long as you haven’t had an allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or any of its ingredients. But there is limited information about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in people who have weakened immune systems or autoimmune conditions. Although these are the types of people that most need the vaccine.

Can pregnant or breastfeeding women get the COVID-19 vaccine?

 

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine. While further research is needed, early findings suggests that getting an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy poses no serious risks. The findings are based on data from the CDC’s coronavirus vaccine safety monitoring system.

If you have concerns, talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits. Keep in mind that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines don’t alter your DNA or cause genetic changes.

Is there anyone who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?

There is no COVID-19 vaccine yet for children under age 12. Clinical trials involving younger children are in progress and look promising.

May 4, 2021: 

Is it OK to take an over-the-counter pain medication before or after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

It isn’t recommended that you take a pain medication before getting a COVID-19 vaccine to prevent possible discomfort. It’s not clear how these medications might impact the effectiveness of the vaccines.

However, it’s OK to take this kind of medication after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, as long as you have no other medical reason that would prevent you from taking it.

Prescription drugs spilt over a purple canvas
woman blowing her nose into a tissue because of allergies

May 4, 2021: 

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have a history of allergic reactions?

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications, you may still get a COVID-19 vaccine. You should be monitored for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine.

If you’ve had an immediate allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.

What are the signs of an allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine?

You might be having an allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine if you experience these signs within four hours of your first vaccine dose:

Continuous shortness of breath or wheezing, Swelling of the lips, eyes or tongue, Redness, swelling or itchiness in areas of the body other than the limb in which the vaccine was given

If you have any signs of an allergic reaction, get help right away. Tell your doctor about your reaction, even if it went away on its own or you didn’t get emergency care. This reaction might mean you are allergic to the vaccine. You might not be able to get a second dose of the same vaccine. However, you might be able to get a different vaccine for your second dose. Allergists, believes that someone who has an immediate anaphylactic reaction to the first dose of an mRNA vaccine should not receive the second dose of that vaccine but rather may be able to get the Viral Vector vaccine for their second shot with careful monitoring.

May 4, 2021: 

What are the possible side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine?

A COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild side effects after the first or second dose, including:

Pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling unwell
  • Swollen lymph nodes
Naloxone Kit

May 4, 2021: 

Are the vaccines safe?

Every vaccine that is approved undergoes stringent safety testing, and data continues to be collected on any side effects or adverse outcomes that could be related to the vaccine over time.

People who receive vaccines may experience a number of side effects, such as a sore arm, fever, fatigue, chills, nausea, and body aches — especially after the second dose of one of the two-dose regimens. This is a sign that the immune system is reacting and is not a cause for concern. The side effects are generally more intense after the second shot, as the immune system reacts to the known spike protein. The CDC also reports that 80% of those who reported experiencing side effects were women, which may be related to sex hormones’ role in the immune response.

There are some rare serious side effects, such as anaphylaxis — a life-threatening, but treatable, allergic reaction. In the United States, this reaction has occurred in about two to five people per million vaccinated and has not resulted in any deaths. It is recommended that vaccinated people stay at the vaccination site for observation for at least 15 minutes after getting the shot in case they do have a negative reaction.

May 4, 2021: 

Which vaccine is the best one?

The experts agreed: The best vaccine is the one that is first available to you.

“What I tell my patients and family members is to take whatever vaccine you can get,” “They’re all highly effective. You can’t really make any discernment from one to another.”

Some have speculated that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — with their roughly 95% efficacy rates in clinical trials — are better than the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (66% efficacy) and the AstraZeneca vaccine (76% efficacy). But comparing the different vaccines’ efficacy rates is sometimes like comparing apples and oranges. Efficacy data depends on many factors, including when and where the clinical trials took place. Pfizer and Moderna, tested their vaccines earlier in the pandemic and primarily in the United States before more contagious and deadly variants emerged, while much of Johnson & Johnson’s data was gathered in South America and South Africa, where particularly troubling variants were spreading.

Another complication is what the researchers conducting the clinical trials were measuring. The efficacy number reported in clinical trials was against any COVID-19 symptoms — even mild ones. What we’re trying to do is prevent severe illness.

All of them are close to 100% at preventing hospitalized COVID-19.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Bottles and syringe

May 4, 2021: 

What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

A COVID-19 vaccine might:

Prevent you from getting COVID-19 or from becoming seriously ill or dying due to COVID-19

Prevent you from spreading the COVID-19 virus to others

Add to the number of people in the community who are protected from getting COVID-19 — making it harder for the disease to spread and contributing to herd immunity

Prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading and replicating, which allows it to mutate and possibly become more resistant to vaccines

Doctor getting a syringe ready

April 22, 2021: 

Availability of COVID-19 Vaccine at Centrum Pharmacy

Unfortunately, we will not be administering the COVID-19 Vaccine at Centrum Pharmacy.

The Updated List of Pharmacies that are administering the pharmacy can be found here:

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations

The following nearby pharmacies will be administering the vaccine. Contact them directly and make an appointment to have the vaccine administered.

Rexall 110 Place D’Orleans Drive, Unit 160

Website: www.rexall.ca/covid-19/vaccines

NoFrills Pharmacy 1226 Orleans Place Drive

Website: www.nofrills.ca/covid19

Innes IDA Pharmacy 4473 Innes Road

Website: www.innesidealpharmacy.ca

Loblaw Pharmacy 4270 Innes Road

Website: www.Realcanadiansuperstore.ca/covid19

Shoppers Drug Mart 6491 Jeanne d’Arc

Website: www.shoppersdrugmart.ca/covid19

Shoppers Drug Mart (3.19 km away) 1937 Portobello

Website: www.shoppersdrugmart.ca/covid19

The vaccine is also available through Ottawa Public Health:

Website: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/covid-19-vaccine.aspx

We advise all of our clients that are eligible to get vaccinated, to do so as soon as possible.

If you are concerned about whether you can safely receive the vaccine because of your medical conditions or because of your medications, please contact your doctor or the pharmacist at Centrum Pharmacy 613 837-4995

April 14, 2021:

The staff at Centrum Pharmacy want to wish our Muslim customers, Ramadan Mubarak.

The question frequently asked is “Can I take the vaccine while fasting?” The answer is, “Yes, you should take it as it does not affect the fast.”

Islamic agencies agree that non-nutritious injections, for example vaccines, have no effect on the fast and will not invalidate the fast. It is well established that a vaccine injection is not a form of sustenance and is permissible.

The Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Task Force recommends people get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, without delay. Under the task force’s guidelines, it notes that getting tested for COVID-19 while fasting, or taking the vaccine, doesn’t break a fast.

For Most people, it is not necessary to eat before or right after vaccination. Stay hydrated and eat a nourishing meal before sunrise.

Individuals are permitted to stop fasting if they get side-effects after getting the shot. Muslims may forgo fasting if they fall ill and make up for missed days after Ramadan or give charity instead.

You should consult your doctor if you are unsure whether fasting is safe for you, or your local Imam if you are unsure about exemptions to the fast.

Ramadan Light
Open sign

 March 1, 2021:

COVID-19 Vaccine registration has opened up for individuals 18 years or older living in high risk neighborhoods. Please follow the instructions on the link below to register:

https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/covid-19-vaccine.aspx#Pop-up-clinics-in-high-risk-communities

Further Information and Links to register can be found on the Ottawa Public Health website:

https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/covid-19-vaccine.aspx

Vaccination is underway for Phase 1 and 2:

  • Adults 55 years of age and older Adults 18 years of age and older living or working in high risk communities
  • Adults 18 years of age and older living in “hot spots” including postal codes starting with K1T, K1V and K2V
  • Adults 40 years of age or older – AstraZeneca vaccine in select pharmacies
  • Staff, caregivers and residents in all retirement homes
  • Priority health care workers identified in the Ministry of Health’s guidance on Health Care Worker Prioritization
  • Non-front-line moderate priority health care workers
  • Faith leaders
  • Adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations
  • Adults receiving chronic home health care who live in high risk communities
  • Special Education workers
  • Clients who are pregnant or with highest risk health conditions and their caregivers
  • Licensed child care workers
  • People who live and work in congregate settings

https://secureforms.ottawapublichealth.ca/vaccines/COVID-19-Vaccine-Screening-Tool

www.my-rx.ca