COVID REPORT for Friday, March 5, 2021

Rolling out the vaccines

The Ford government is set to detail the next phase of its vaccination program later today.

Those who live in congregant care, people with specific health risks, and those living in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates will top the list.

Starting in April, they’ll be prioritized for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

As well, people between the ages of 60 and 64 will be first in line for the AstraZeneca vaccine, to make sure that more than 114-thousand doses are used before they expire in early April.

They’ll be directed to pharmacies to receive their inoculations.

Starting in June, essential employees who can’t work from home will head the list.

The final phase, everyone else, will begin in August.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the timeline might be quicker, now that a federal advisory panel has approved a 16-week delay between first and second shots.

Vaccination papers

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the government will provide people with proof that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Elliott says they’ll receive a printed “proof of vaccination” document once they’ve received their second dose.

She adds the document will also be sent in the digital form later, if people wish, so they can keep it on their mobile phone.

The Ford government has suggested some sort of vaccination proof may be needed in the future to attend crowded locations, such as movie theatres.

But Elliott says they’re not looking at that just yet.

Premiers want more federal health dollars

Canada’s premiers are calling for a big boost in health care spending in the coming federal budget.

Currently, Ottawa pays about 22 percent of the 188-billion dollars the provinces spend on health care.

But the premiers want the Canada Health Transfer to be increased to cover 35 percent of the total.

The premiers say the federal government’s financial position is forecast to improve rapidly once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

But provinces will be faced with increasing debt loads due to health costs.

They say if Ottawa doesn’t pick up a larger share, the most vulnerable will suffer.

Premier Doug Ford says the increase is critical to solving the massive problems exposed by the pandemic in long-term care facilities.

Coronavirus job losses affect women

The Royal Bank of Canada says women have borne the brunt of job losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and there are concerns those changes may be permanent.

In a new report, RBC says nearly 100-thousand working-aged women have completely left the workforce meaning they’re not even bothering to look for a job.

The rate is ten times higher than that for men.

The bank’s report says the longer these women remain out of the job market, the more their skills will erode.

That will make it harder for them to be re-hired, or transition to new jobs, once the economy starts to pick up.

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