March 8, 2022

The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for July 13 | CBC News

Parisians queue in the rain to get COVID-19 shots at a vaccination centre at Hotel de Ville on Tuesday. More than 900,000 French people have made an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine after an announcement from President Emmanuel Macron that certificates will be required for long distance travel, indoor public spaces and restaurants and cafés. (Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)

Trudeau says he’ll leave domestic vaccine passports up to the provinces

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will work with provinces to ensure there is an “internationally accepted proof of vaccination” for international travel, but he’ll leave domestic options up to the provincial governments.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Trudeau was asked if the federal government should play a role to help standardize provincial programs, but he said his government is focused on an international vaccine passport.

“Different provinces will be doing different things, where the federal government has a role to play and where we are looking is in terms of vaccine certification for international travel,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau’s comments come as some provinces, like Quebec and Manitoba, have announced plans for an internal vaccine passport. Other provinces, like Alberta and Saskatchewan, have said they won’t have such requirements.

Trudeau was asked if the government has received assurances that Canadians will be allowed to travel if they have shots of two different vaccines, even if other countries haven’t approved mixing doses.

“We’re going to work with the international community to make sure that people who are fully vaccinated in ways that Canadians recognize as safe and effective are also recognized around the world,” he said.

Trudeau also said several Canadians living abroad have received vaccines not yet approved in Canada. He said the government is looking at which vaccines the World Health Organization has certified to determine which ones would qualify for a vaccine passport.

From The National

The World Health Organization says getting first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in the world needs to be be a higher priority than getting booster shots to people in some wealthy countries. 2:01

IN BRIEF

Seneca College wants those on campus to have received a vaccine approved by Health Canada, even international students 

Seneca College is going a step beyond many other post-secondary institutions in Canada in the hope of protecting against COVID-19.

Effective Sept. 7, the school, which has campuses in Toronto, York Region and Peterborough, will make vaccinations a condition for students and employees coming to campus in the fall term for “in person teaching, learning and working.”

“We just think that if we’re serious about protecting the health and safety of all of our community then it’s the right thing and the logical thing to do,” president David Agnew told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning on Tuesday.

Students and staff will be asked to upload their vaccine certificate to a Seneca app to prove they’ve been immunized and attest that their documents are genuine. Accommodations will be made for those who cannot be vaccinated for legitimate reasons.

International students who have may have received vaccines not approved by Health Canada abroad will have to have an approved brand of vaccine to be on campus, Agnew added, but he stressed the school has hybrid and online learning options again this fall.

Agnew said he believes Seneca is the first school in Canada to implement the measure, but that various academic institutions are doing the same in the U.S. Some schools like the University of Toronto and Western University in London, Ont., are requiring those living in campus residences to be vaccinated.

“We’re in pretty good company in North America, places like Harvard, MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Yale, Princeton, the entire public systems in New York and California are requiring vaccinations to come on campus.”

Listen to Seneca’s president explain the stance on CBC’s Metro Morning

France, Germany part on mandating vaccinations for health-care workers

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday in a televised address ordered all French health-care workers to get COVID-19 vaccine shots by Sept. 15.

Most European governments have shied away from mandating vaccinations. But after tens of thousands of people with the virus died in French nursing homes, Macron said vaccination is essential for all workers in health-care facilities or nursing homes, as well as all workers or volunteers who care for the elderly or ailing at home.

Those who don’t get vaccinated by Sept. 15 will face potential sanctions or fines, he said.

Greece announced Monday that health-care workers will be suspended if they refuse to get vaccinated. Italy made the coronavirus vaccination obligatory for health-care workers and pharmacists, and those who opt out risk suspension from their jobs or a salary cut.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that Germany was not planning on mandating vaccinations for segments of the population.

Macron also mandated special COVID-19 passes for anyone who wants to go to a restaurant, shopping mall or hospital or get on a train or plane. To get a pass, people must have proof they’re fully vaccinated, recently recovered from the virus or have taken a fresh negative virus test.

The delta variant is driving France’s virus infections back up again, just as the country kicked off summer vacation season after a long-awaited reopening. Some 40 per cent of France’s population is fully inoculated.

The number of people in French hospitals and intensive care units has been declining for weeks, but doctors fear it too will rise when the increase in delta variant infections hits vulnerable populations.

Read more about the European positions

J&J vaccine may pose ‘small possible risk’ of rare neurological syndrome, U.S. officials say 

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine made in conjunction with Janssen may pose a “small possible risk” of a rare but potentially dangerous neurological reaction, U.S. health officials said Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement it has received reports of 100 people who got J&J’s Janssen shot developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, an immune system disorder that can cause muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis.

That number represents a tiny fraction of the nearly 13 million Americans who have received the one-dose vaccine. Most cases of the side-effect were reported in men — many 50 years old and up — and usually about two weeks after vaccination.

“The chance of having this occur is very low,” the statement said. The company also said that the number of reported cases of Guillain-Barré after use of the vaccine exceeded the number of cases normally expected in the population by a “small degree.”

Vaccines historically provide broad protection with little risk but come with occasional side effects just like other drugs and medical therapies. The three COVID-19 vaccines used in the U.S. — which includes Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines — were each tested in tens of thousands of people, but even such huge studies can’t rule out extremely rare side-effects.

The CDC said it would ask its panel of outside vaccine experts to review the issue at an upcoming meeting.

While the vaccine’s one-shot proposition offered great promise, it has previously been associated with rare incidences of potentially serious blood clotting issues, as well as a manufacturing mishap that forced the company to junk millions of its doses.

The issues likely help partially explain why J&J’s Janssen vaccine has never been used in Canada, despite Health Canada’s authorization with conditions in March. It doesn’t appear that state of affairs will change, given the steady progression of Canada’s vaccination campaign and the stable supply of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Read more on the situation 

Stay informed with the latest COVID-19 data.

AND FINALLY…

Porter Airlines has ‘bold’ plans when air travel ramps up

The interior of an E195-E2 is shown. Porter considered the Bombardier-made CSeries, now owned by Airbus, but went with Embraer’s jet instead. (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

The CEO of Porter Airlines says the pandemic’s grounding of travel has laid the foundation for the substantial growth plan the company will enact midway through 2022 as it enters a recovery phase.

Porter has announced plans to launch jet service to destinations in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean with an order for up to 80 aircraft with a list price of $5.8 billion US.

The regional airline says it has signed a deal to become the North American launch customer for the Embraer E195-E2 jet and plans to offer flights from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, along with Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. The new aircraft will not operate from Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport on the city’s waterfront, where Porter currently offers service on turboprop aircraft.

“Obviously the last 16 months has been a difficult time for the industry, but out of crisis is often the best opportunity for establishing growth in the future,” president and CEO Michael Deluce said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

A full list of destinations will be announced in due course, but Deluce said he sees opportunities to service the southern U.S., as well as the Caribbean and Mexico. The airline plans to resume flying to New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 17.

Airline analyst Robert Kokonis, president of airline consulting firm AirTrav Inc., called it a “bold move” that will surely elicit a strong response from Canada’s two largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet.

“It’s a very, very bold and decisive market action they’re taking — and again, because this carrier has been grounded more than any other carrier in Canada through the pandemic, I couldn’t wish that upon a longer suffering group of people and employees, executives and shareholders than this group, too,” said Kokonis.

But Kokonis said even with the Caribbean plans, he doesn’t believe Porter will try to become Sunwing, Transat or Air Canada Rouge by appealing mainly to the leisure crowd. Instead, he expects it will continue to cater to business travellers.

Read more about the plans 

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