Had your first COVID-19 vaccine? Expect a longer wait for the second dose

Ontario has moved to a 16-week interval between first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, said the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU). According to the health unit, the extension allows the government to give more people their first vaccine. This is based on guidance from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations and aims to maximize the number of people benefiting from the strong protection provided by a first dose of the vaccine, said the health unit. If you had a second dose appointment booked with a shorter interval, it has been cancelled. The health unit said it will provide details about how to book a new appointment for second doses.  For more information, visit

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Asthma attacks, hospitalization: These are the health effects of wildfires

Ontario’s wildfires make headlines in July and August each year and are then, for the most part, forgotten until the following summer. But the long-term effects of these fires can persist well after they’re knocked down.  One of the most harmful air pollutants worldwide is fine particulate matter, and in Canada, wildfires are the biggest natural source of this pollutant. As people in Toronto experienced last month, winds can spread wildfire smoke containing fine particulate matter for hundreds of kilometres, triggering air quality advisories. Rebecca Saari is an assistant professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo who has studied the consequences of climate change and climate policy on human health and environmental inequality. She answers some questions about the consequences of forest fires and how to mitigate them. How do wildfires affect air quality and our health?  Heavy wildfire activity can result in poor air quality as smoke deposits pollutants like fine particulate matter in the air. Fine particulate matter consists of microscopic particles that can create negative health effects when inhaled. In general, fine particulate matter can be aerosols, smoke, fumes, dust, ash and pollen, and will generate different health effects depending on the size and composition of the particles. “Wildfire releases smoke and gases that include a harmful mixture of pollutants. Individually, many of th […]

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Ontario reports 348 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths

Ontario is reporting another 348 cases and 10 more deaths. Of the 10, six of the deaths being reported are part of a data cleanup from more than two months ago, released Tuesday morning. Ontario has administered 40,626, with 20,254,502 vaccines given in total as of 8 p.m. the previous night. According to the, 10,641,637 people in Ontario have received at least one shot. That works out to approximately 81.6 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 71.6 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine. The province says 9,612,865 people have completed their vaccinations, which means they’ve had both doses. That works out to approximately 73.7 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 64.7 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine. The province is now including new data that reflects. Ontario is warning that the new process may cause discrepancies between other hospitalization numbers being collected using a different process, and that the data may not match daily COVID-19 case counts. The province’s new data reports 203 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in unvaccinated people, 49 were partially vaccinated, and 79 cases in fully vaccinated people. Again, the province warns the data may not match daily COVID case counts because records with a missing or invalid health card number can’t be linked. The seven-day average is […]

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What you need to know about Canada’s vaccine passports

After months of discussion around the idea of implementing a vaccine passport for international travel in Canada, federal officials have said it’s a go — and they expect a launch in the coming weeks.  Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship of Canada; Omar Alghabra, minister of transport; and Dominic LeBlanc, minister of intergovernmental affairs, announced the latest details of the federal government’s plan during a news conference on Aug. 11. Here’s what you need to know. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE VACCINE PASSPORTS? The purpose of a federal vaccine passport is to facilitate international travel, Mendicino said, adding that while there is presently no international standard for vaccine credentials, the Canadian government is working on a standardized national passport that will be recognized in other countries around the world. “We know that many countries, including Canada, are beginning to open their borders. We also know that vaccination rates are increasing across the world. Canadians will soon need a reliable means of demonstrating their proof of COVID-19 vaccination,” he noted.  “Our government is collaborating with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities right across the country to address the matter of vaccine credentials. I am pleased to inform Canadians that we are working actively with the provinces and territories on a secure, pan-Canadian proof of vaccination for […]

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Barrie woman pockets $100,000 after buying lotto ticket on a whim

Playing the lottery every once in awhile was enough for Melissa Gagnon of Barrie after she pocketed $100,000 with the purchase of a Big Spin ticket at an Innisfil convenience store. Gagnon, 24, said she usually doesn’t play the lotteries, but decided to buy a Big Spin ticket on a whim. “When I scanned the ticket on my phone, I didn’t believe it at first,” she said at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto while picking up her winnings. “I told my mom and then my fiancé! He thought I was joking.” The personal support worker plans to put some money away for her children, pay for her upcoming wedding and save some for a house. The winning ticket was purchased at Pioneer On The Run on Yonge Street in Innisfil.

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