Town of Mono's COVID-19 Message Centre

Third Vaccination Message: Local Update & FAQs

This message from the Town of Mono was posted on 
March 19, 2021

Local Update

First, since the “low-water” mark of February 18th , there has been a 30% increase in the 7-day rolling average of reported new cases in Ontario. This suggests that a third wave is occurring, at least in the Greater Toronto, Ottawa and Thunder Bay areas. New case numbers in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Public Health area have not yet seen an uptick.

Second, the Ontario Science Advisory Table estimates that variants of concern (VOCs) make up more than half of all new cases province wide.  The Advisory Table is particularly concerned about the COVID UK variant — referred to as B.117.  These more easily transmissible VOCs are likely to drive the third wave, and this is worrisome.

FAQs

1. How can I get an appointment for my vaccine shot?

  • Check the WDG Public Health website frequently and you will find when it is your turn to register.  The website is:  https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/
  • Currently, residents 60 years and over, persons with other diseases and all persons involved in health care and long-term care are eligible.
  • The first step (for those who are eligible) is to pre-register online at https://register.wdgpublichealth.ca/. Next, you will be contacted and given a unique code so that you can schedule a date, time and location.
  • Or you can register by phone: 844-780-0202 (although it may take time to get through)

2. I am hesitant to get the vaccine.  What is your advice?

  • People have different reasons for “vaccine hesitancy”.  Despite knowing that many diseases, such as smallpox and polio, have been eradicated or controlled by vaccines, the speed of development and political pressure to get a COVID-19 vaccine has created some scepticism.  However, a lack of understanding of the science is less likely the driver of hesitancy, than is the lack of trust in public institutions.
  • One vaccine – the AstraZeneca/Oxford (AZ) - has had a problematic rollout with a dosing error in the phase three trial and subsequent poor communications.  Recently it has been suggested that AZ vaccine has caused blood clotting in leg veins and lungs.  This has resulted in seven or more European countries suspending its use. However, there is no hard evidence that AZ does cause blood clotting.  Although this issue, and others, are disturbing, the openness of information should contribute to public trust.
  • A good way to help decide about vaccination is to educate yourself by getting as much vaccine information as you can, and by speaking with trusted acquaintances — family, friends, a family doctor or a religious leader.

3. How can I know that the vaccines are safe?

  • Before acceptance, each vaccine approved for use in Canada underwent three clinical trials.  The final and largest was a phase three trial that involved  two large groups of people.  One group was given the vaccine, the other was given a placebo - a “pretend” vaccine.  The effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 was compared between the two groups.  Side effects or adverse events were also identified.  These groups are large, often having 10,000 people in each group, in order that the trial results can be considered significant.  
  • Once a vaccine is approved and vaccination starts, the vaccine continues to be studied.  This is a phase four trial (a “real-life” trial), and these trials are massive.  The Israeli phase four trial, which has recently been published, had about 600,000 vaccinated people compared to a similar group of 600,000 non-vaccinated persons.  A huge study like this will provide further information about possible rare side effects, confirm the degree of efficacy, and identify other benefits such as the prevention of death.

4. What are the differences between the Canadian approved vaccines?

  • There are four approved vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen (or Johnson & Johnson). Based on the phase 3 trials, each vaccine resulted in a number that indicates the effectiveness (the efficacy). Largely these reported efficacy numbers only relate to the original COVID virus, although the J&J vaccine also provided evidence on some of the VOCs. The efficacy ratings are:
    • Pfizer BioNTech(Pf)
      95%
    • Moderna (Mod)
      94%
    • AstraZeneca (AZ) (two studies)
      62% and 79%
    • Janssen (two studies)
      66% and 85%

  • The Janssen vaccine is a single-dose vaccine. It is also effective in protecting against some of the VOCs – 82% efficacy with the South African variant and 88% with the Brazilian variant.

  • There are other differences. The four vaccines are produced by two quite different biological processes. And they also have quite different pricing – Pf.$20, Mod $37, AZ $4, J&J $10. (These are the approximate costs in $US per dose.)

5. Can you explain “efficacy” in real numbers?

  • For example, Pfizer’s efficacy is 95%. This means the vaccinated group tested positive and experienced some symptoms for COVID-19. 5/100 as often as the unvaccinated group. This was 1/20th as often as people in the unvaccinated group.

  • The AZ efficacy is 62% — meaning that people in the vaccinated group were experiencing symptoms and testing positive for COVID-19 38/100 as often as the unvaccinated group. This was a little more than 1/3rd as often as the unvaccinated group.

  • It is notable that the modest drop from 95% to 62% has a large implication in the degree of protection of the vaccine.

6. Currently in WDG the Pfizer vaccine is being given with an interval of 4 months between the first and second doses.  How effective is this vaccine after a single dose?

  • In the Israel study, the largest study yet reported, efficacy was 90% by day 21 after the first jab with the Pfizer vaccine.  So, you do have some very good protection even after the first dose.

7. Are the vaccines effective against the new variants?

  • The vaccines provide significant protection from the dominant VOC now in Ontario (the UK variant), however the effectiveness against the South African and Brazilian variants is not generally as high.  However, the vaccine manufacturers say that they can readily adapt their vaccines and create booster doses to manage variants.

8. What other factors are important in addition to quoted efficacy numbers?

  • The vaccines are very effective not only for increasing your resistance to developing symptoms or carrying (without symptoms) the COVID-19 virus, but importantly, if you are infected, all vaccines are very effective at reducing the likelihood of severe disease or death.

9. Do I have a choice of which vaccine I will receive?

  • At this time, WDG Public Health is only giving the Pfizer vaccine.  It is expected that all four vaccines will be available some day in the future.  There has been no mention about the option of personal selection of a vaccine.

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Previous Messages

Time to get very strict — or to ease off?

A few months back we hardly knew the word.  Now, “variant” has become achingly familiar. Variants create a threat that may radically complicate our global pandemic response.  VERY worrisome is that the longer the pandemic prevails, the more that new variants will develop.

A variant is a virus whose genetic make-up is slightly altered.  It is a spontaneous change — a mutation — that occurs when the virus replicates.  Of the hundreds of COVID-19 variants, today there are three variants of concern (VOC).  Current they are — the UK,  the South African, and the Brazil variants.  Other candidates for the VOC list include one from California and one just identified from Nigeria.

The problem with a VOC is that their slightly altered genetics affect how they react when they contact a host like yourself.  The mutations in all three VOCs are changes to the knobby protuberances called spikes on the surface of the virus.  The spikes enable the virus to invade human cells, to replicate, damage the cell and create disease.  The changes to the spike allow the virus to more easily invade our cells and thus produce disease more readily than did the original coronavirus.

If a VOC is more infectious — the UK variant spreads between 50% and 70% more easily than the original coronavirus — it will soon become the dominant virus in a community.

A short math lesson….

The basic reproduction number — Ro — is the number of people on average who will get the disease from one person who has the disease. An Ro of 1.0 means every infected person will give the disease on average to one other person, and the total case numbers never change.
With an Ro of 1.1 the case numbers will gradually increase, as each infected person will on average infect slightly more than one other. The goal of any epidemic control is to get the Ro below 1.0 . This will eventually close down the epidemic. (Ro numbers are determined by the degree of infectivity of the virus, vaccines and public health measures such as distancing and mask wearing).
Here is the scary math. If 1,000 people were infected with the usual SARS-CoV-2 variant with an Ro number of 1.1, they would transmit the virus to another 1,100 people. After 10 cycles of this there would be 2,593 active cases. If the Ro number grew to 1.5 (e.g.the UK variant), after 10 cycles there would be 57,665 active cases. A cycle length is 1-2 weeks.

In England, Ireland, and Israel, the UK variant became the dominant virus in a couple of months.  This evolution was accompanied by a surge in the total number of cases.  If other factors are equal, with a more infectious coronavirus, the basic reproduction number (Ro value) will increase, and quickly we will move into another wave of increased cases.

Recent reports from England suggest that the mortality rate for the UK virus is about 33% higher than the original coronavirus.  The 53% mortality for the recent outbreak at Roberta Place in Barrie also points to a potentially higher mortality rate for the UK variant.

Another difference is very worrisome. Children almost universally shrug off the coronavirus, however children and young and older adults seem to be equally susceptible to the UK variant.

If the virus continues to circulate uncontrollably in different parts of the world, no one can return to normal. The hoped-for solution is in the creation of effective vaccines.  The hope is that vaccines will enable global control.  After the start of the pandemic the first vaccines were produced, put through phase I, 2, and 3 trials, and were approved for emergency use in 11 months — an incredible  accomplishment.

Currently we have three different vaccines that are in the public space.  They are remarkable for having up to 95% efficacy.  In comparison the flu vaccines are 40-60% effective at preventing influenza.   The thinking is that if we can get enough of the population immunized — estimates are 50-80% — the Coronavirus will become markedly diminished in its ability to spread through the community.

With the advent of VOCs, the ugly possibility is that new variants will not be sensitive to the vaccines now in use.  Studies suggest that the three vaccines in current use are quite effective against the UK Variant and somewhat less so against the South African variant.  The vaccine makers are now playing catch-up, altering their vaccines in response to the changing genetics of the mutating virus — a process that will reward the nimble, and will have a huge effect on the success of global pandemic control.

There has been recent emphasis on the importance of the quality of face masks.  Initially it was suggested that any cover including a head scarf was valuable protection for yourself and others. These inadequate face coverings are still seen in public.

The more recent understanding about COVID-19 transmission through aerosols (the tiny droplets that are swept into the air from our throats and lungs by simple breathing and then linger in the air) is that they play a huge part in indoor COVID-19 transmission.  Masks, to be effective, should obstruct the passage of these aerosol droplets.  The best masking options are to use a three layered tightly-fitting mask; to wear two masks at the same time as Dr. Anthony Fauci has recently been doing; or to use the now available KN95 masks (a version of an N95 used by at risk health care workers)

What can you do if a more infectious variant enters our community?

The answer is to do more of the same,

     and to be stricter about it!

  • physical distancing,
  • wearing a good mask,
  • not travelling or meeting indoors except with your immediate family,
  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Waterway Signing Survey

Please view the pictures & map below and use the intersections, roads, etc. for geographical context. There is a spot to fill in any alternative current, historical, or colloquial names of the rivers/streams/creeks/etc.

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will be used for the purposes of collecting alternative names for waterways for potential inclusion in signage. Questions about this collection should be directed to the Clerk’s Office: ClerksOffice@townofmono.com, 347209 Mono Centre Road, Mono ON L9W 6S3, 519.941.3599.

Please fill out your contact your preferences: phone and/or email

Reference Map for All Waterways

29 Road Crossings Selected for Signage

Please provide a list of name corrections or alternatives in the fields. Please separate each name with a comma (,).

Graphic representation of a stream

10 Other Road Crossings Not Selected

Please provide a list of name corrections or alternatives in the fields. Please separate each name with a comma (,).

↑ Go Back to Reference Map

Are there any of the above "10 Other Road Crossings Not Selected", that you feel should be selected for signage. Please reference the stream number from the previous section. Provide one waterway per line and include the reason why you feel the additional waterways should be signed.

From what resources did you obtain the information? Please let us know if there would be an opportunity for the Town to examine the resources. If you are listing multiple resources, please list one resource per line.

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An Informational Guide to Town of Mono's New Checkout Bag Bylaw

Please select whether you are a Resident / Member of the General Public or a Business

Information for Residents

On January 1, 2021, you should no longer receive checkout bags from stores in Mono. You may only receive a bag if:

  • You are first asked whether you need a bag and you respond that you require one
  • The bag you receive is a paper bag
  • You must pay for the bag

Businesses must allow you to use any reusable bag that you may already have, including bags from competitors.

Woman receiving purchased products in reusable bag

Are There Any Exceptions? 

You may still receive bags in situations when the bag is being used to do any of the following:

  • Package loose bulk items, such as fruit / vegetables, nuts, grains, or candy;
  • Package loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts;
  • Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry or fish;
  • Wrap flowers or potted plants;
  • Protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not already packaged;
  • Contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy;
  • Transport live fish;
  • Protect linens, bedding, or other similar large items that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Protect newspapers or other printed material that may be left outside;
  • Protect clothes after laundering or dry cleaning;
  • Protect tires that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Collect and dispose of animal waste

You may also receive small paper bags at no charge for smaller purchases.

For more information, view the Plastic Bag Bylaw.

Remember Your Bags Graphic

Information for Businesses

On January 1, 2021, you should no longer provide checkout bags to customers. You may only supply a bag if:

  • You first ask customers whether they need a bag and they respond that they require one
  • The bag you provide to customers is a paper bag
  • Customers must pay for the bag. Businesses can set whatever price they feel is appropriate for these bags.

Customers should be allowed to use any reusable bag that they may already have, including bags from competitors.

Customer receiving purchases in a reusable bag

Are There Any Exceptions? 

You may still provide bags in the following situations if the bags do any of the following:

  • Package loose bulk items, such as fruit / vegetables, nuts, grains, or candy;
  • Package loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts;
  • Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry or fish;
  • Wrap flowers or potted plants;
  • Protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not already packaged;
  • Contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy;
  • Transport live fish;
  • Protect linens, bedding, or other similar large items that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Protect newspapers or other printed material that may be left outside;
  • Protect clothes after laundering or dry cleaning;
  • Protect tires that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Collect and dispose of animal waste

You may also provide a small paper bag at no charge for small purchases.

Penalties

Contravening the new Plastic Bag Bylaw will result in a fine of $150. Any person who is charged with multiple or repeat offences under this Bylaw is liable to the following fines if found guilty under Part 3 of the Provincial Offences Act:

  • $500 for each day or part day that the offence continues, limited to $10,000
  • $500 for each offence in a case of multiple offences and the total of all fines for each included offence is limited to $10,000

For more information, view the Plastic Bag Bylaw.

We're Listening

We are interested to hear about what the switch away from plastic will mean for you at checkouts. What changes will you as a customer or a business need to take? What supports may be helpful? Let us know in the comments. We are ready for your feedback and we are listening.


Comments & Feedback

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