Kim Poirier takes an order from customers at a restaurant in Saint-Sauveur, Que., Saturday, December 12, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Saint-Sauveur and surrounding areas will become red zones as of Monday.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Health Canada warns people with allergies to COVID-19 vaccine ingredients

With inoculation against COVID-19 in Canada set to begin on Monday, the federal health agency said people with allergies to any of the vaccine’s ingredients should not receive it.

Two people in the United Kingdom had severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Health Canada said in a release on Saturday. Both had histories of severe allergic reactions but have recovered, the agency said.

Health Canada said it had reviewed the available evidence after the allergic reactions — which happened on Tuesday — and decided against changing its recommendations about the vaccine’s use.

The agency did say people with severe allergies should talk to their doctors before receiving a shot.

“In Canada, all vaccines carry a warning about the risk of serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis,” the release said. “Immunization clinics are equipped to manage these rare events.”

Quebec’s Health Department has said it plans to start vaccinating residents of two long-term care homes, one in Montreal and one in Quebec City, on Monday. Several other provinces said they would begin vaccinating health-care workers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In a Twitter post, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the federal government would send more Canadian Forces members to help the Shamattawa First Nation fight a COVID outbreak.

Eleven soldiers arrived in the fly-in community in northern Manitoba earlier this week following the arrival of a group of Canadian Rangers, the Department of National Defence said in a statement.

The troops would provide logistical support and help distribute needed goods, the department said. Around one quarter of Shamattawa’s population has tested positive for coronavirus disease.

“We’re increasing the existing support by providing Canadian Forces medical personnel and more to assist Shamattawa First Nation in their response to COVID-19,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in tweet.

Cases of COVID-19 were up significantly again across Canada. Nationally, 6,772 infections were reported from 81,481 completed tests on Friday, for a positivity rate of 8.3 per cent.

Ontario’s public health authorities on Saturday reported 1,873 new cases and 17 more related deaths. The province’s York Region, north of Toronto, and Windsor-Essex will move into a partial lockdown on Monday.

The measures mean bars, restaurant dining rooms and indoor sports facilities must close, while private gatherings and indoor public events are banned. Non-essential shopping will be limited to curbside pickup.

In Quebec, health officials reported 1,898 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 40 additional deaths linked to COVID.

Manitoba reported 358 new cases and 18 additional deaths associated with COVID-19. The province said it has started scheduling vaccinations of health-care workers. It hopes to begin vaccinating around 900 health-care workers in critical, acute and long-term care units on Wednesday.

Saskatchewan reported 274 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday and 11 deaths associated with the virus.

Authorities in the province said there are nearly 120 people in hospital, with 23 in intensive care.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new infections. The province has 23 active cases. Officials in New Brunswick reported one new case, with 72 still active in the province and four people in hospital.

In Nova Scotia, health authorities urged residents near a poultry plant in Berwick to get tested for COVID-19. The Eden Valley Poultry plant has closed for at least two weeks after four cases of the virus were detected.

The Maritime province reported seven new infections on Saturday, with 61 active cases.

Public health officials in Prince Edward Island reported five new cases.

All of those cases were travel-related, PEI’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Heather Morrison said.

There are currently 17 active cases in the province.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Saturday that there are currently 73,297 active cases in Canada, with an average of 6,543 daily new cases reported between Dec. 4 and Dec. 10.

It said that an average of 2,900 people were being treated in hospital, with 565 in intensive care, each day between Dec. 4 and Dec. 10.

Canada reported an average of 100 deaths associated with the virus each day during that period, it said.

“Nationally, we remain in a rapid growth trajectory. The latest longer range forecasting, using a model from Simon Fraser University, forecasts that we could have 12,000 cases daily by the beginning of January.” the agency said.

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