CFB Wainwright- May 14, 2019
I was fortunate recently to take part in the Canadian Forces Liaison Council’s (CFLC) ‘ExecuTrek’ to see Exercise Maple Resolve in Wainwright, AB. There were about 80 of us; business leaders from the region, some of my fellow Honorary Colonels from across the west, and a group of International Studies students from Simon Fraser University in BC. We travelled in a Hercules aircraft from Edmonton International. From there, buses took us to see everything from battles to briefings.
The scale of Maple Resolve is quite extraordinary. Approximately 5,500 soldiers, 250 actors, contractors and consultants are on site at the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre at Wainwright, AB. Every asset in the field, from tank to LAV to every weapon, every soldier, has sensors attached. Every metric is captured on each and every asset; if a gun is only accurate at 300 metres, then a shot from 400 metres will fail, etc. etc. If wounded, a soldier is assessed a 3 hour window in which to get medical attention. If they don’t receive it, they become a casualty. Computer modelling allows every activity in the operation to be easily recreated and reviewed in real time.
Canadian Army soldiers serving with 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (CMBG) based at the Edmonton Garrison and in Shilo, Manitoba will train with elements of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the British Army, the French Army, the United States (U.S.) Army, U.S. National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, and U.S. Marine Corps. There are more than 900 soldiers from the U.S. Armed Forces, about 150 soldiers from the British Army, and 40 soldiers from the French Army. There are a number of US Blackhawk helicopters from the Colorado National Guard being used for medical air support.
As the premier Canadian Army training event of the year, Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 19 is a proving ground for soldiers in the contemporary operating environment.
During the exercise, soldiers will test their ability to integrate with Allies, non-governmental organizations, and host nation forces as they hone their skills within a realistic, complex and challenging environment. The exercise, designed and developed by the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre, provides Canadian Army soldiers, leaders, and other Canadian Armed Forces personnel a unique opportunity to enhance their combat readiness.
A wide variety of tactics, weapons, simulation technology, armoured fighting vehicles, and aircraft are used within a realistic, evolving and challenging operating environment. This exercise puts elements of our Canadian Armed Forces and our allies together in the most realistic setting possible short of an actual deployment.
CMTC’s mission is to design and deliver full-spectrum, immersive, joint and collective training events for the Canadian Armed Forces in a complex Contemporary Operating Environment in order to certify High-Readiness forces. In conjunction with the Royal Canadian Air Force, CMTC is a focal point in the Air Land Integration of the CAF. While major exercises are conducted within the Wainwright training area, support to exercises and training is exportable to any location, and CMTC frequently deploys in support of exercises around Canada and the world.
CFLC ExecuTrek program brings together business leaders to experience, firsthand, Reservists training for domestic and international response. The Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC) mandate is to build diverse relationships that promote the value of reservists to Canadian communities and to improve understanding and support for the military.
“As Alberta Chair for Canadian Forces Liaison Council it was a privilege to host business leaders at our CFLC ExecTrek Maple Resolve, says Carolyn Patton.” Alberta Chair of Canadian Forces Liaison Council.
“It was an exceptional day to experience, firsthand, CAF members training for domestic and international support. Reservists are an incredible resource of talent and bring a wealth of experience, professionalism, and leadership to many organizations. Our guests truly got to see them in action, up close and personal. Our community, workplaces and country are the beneficiaries of their well respected training. Many thanks to 3rd Canadian Division and the staff and leadership at CMTC Wainwright. I mentioned to the business leaders, when you see a Reservist thank them for their service. Better yet, hire them!”
There is more information about Exercise Maple Resolve here.
For more information about the Canadian Forces Liaison Council, click here.
Here are links to several videos from Exercise.
Here are a few photos from the day.
Thousands of doctors are treating covid. What you need to know to help you stay out of hospital.
In countries around the world, doctors have found that treating COVID patients at home quickly when symptoms develop leads to better outcomes, dramatically lower death rates than if doctors send people home to wait until they are so sick they need hospitalizations, ICU admissions, mechanical ventilators and even dialysis when kidneys fail.
If you’ve been unaware of the extent to which many doctors already know about early treatment the following videos will be incredibly informative. These videos are exerts from a longer interview by Dr. Alfred Johnson from a medical group in the United States which was published August 20
“Waning immunity?” Experts say term leads to false understanding of COVID-19 vaccines
The idea of waning immunity has picked up steam in recent weeks, with some countries using it to justify rolling out third-dose COVID-19 vaccine boosters to their populations. But immunologists say the concept has been largely misunderstood.
While antibodies — proteins created after infection or vaccination that help prevent future invasions from the pathogen — do level off over time, experts say that’s supposed to happen.
And it doesn’t mean we’re not protected against COVID-19.
Jennifer Gommerman, an immunologist with the University of Toronto, said the term “waning immunity” has given people a false understanding of how the immune system works.
“Waning has this connotation that something’s wrong and there isn’t,” she said. “It’s very normal for the immune system to mount a response where a ton of antibodies are made and lots of immune cells expand. And for the moment, that kind of takes over.
“But it has to contract, otherwise you wouldn’t have room for subsequent immune responses.”
Antibody levels ramp up in the “primary response” phase after vaccination or infection, “when your immune system is charged up and ready to attack,” said Steven Kerfoot, an associate professor of immunology at Western University.
They then decrease from that “emergency phase,” he added. But the memory of the pathogen and the body’s ability to respond to it remains.
Kerfoot said B-cells, which make the antibodies, and T-cells, which limit the virus’s ability to cause serious damage, continue to work together to stave off severe disease long after a vaccine is administered. While T-cells can’t recognize the virus directly, they determine which cells are infected and kill them off quickly.
Recent studies have suggested the T-cell response is still robust several months following a COVID-19 vaccination.
“You might get a minor infection … (but) all of those cells are still there, which is why we’re still seeing very stable effectiveness when it comes to preventing severe disease,” Kerfoot said.
A pre-print study released this week by Public Health England suggested protection against hospitalization and death remains much higher than protection against infection, even among older adults.
So the concept of waning immunity depends on whether you’re measuring protection against infection or against severe disease, Kerfoot said.
Ontario reported 43 hospitalized breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated on Friday, compared to 256 unvaccinated hospitalized infections. There were 795 total new cases in the province that day, 582 among those who weren’t fully vaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status.
British Columbia, meanwhile, saw 53 fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients hospitalized over the last two weeks, compared to 318 unvaccinated patients.
“You’ll hear people say that vaccines aren’t designed to protect infection, they’re designed to prevent severe disease,” Kerfoot said. “I wouldn’t say necessarily it’s the vaccine that’s designed to do one or another … that’s just how the immune system works.”
Moderna released real-world data this week suggesting its vaccine was 96 per cent effective at preventing hospitalization, even amidst the more transmissible Delta variant, and 87 per cent effective at preventing infection — down from the 94 per cent efficacy seen in the clinical trials last year.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said that dip “illustrates the impact of waning immunity and supports the need for a booster to maintain high levels of protection.”
Pfizer-BioNTech has argued the same with its own data, and an advisory panel to the U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration voted Friday to endorse third doses for those aged 65 and older, or at high risk for severe disease.
However, the panel rejected boosters for the general population, saying the pharmaceutical company had provided little safety data on extra jabs.
Gommerman said the efficacy data presented by Moderna doesn’t signal the need for a third dose.
“The fact it protects 87 per cent against infection, that’s incredible,” she said. “Most vaccines can’t achieve that.”
Bancel said Moderna’s research, which has yet to be peer reviewed, suggested a booster dose could also extend the duration of the immune response by reupping neutralizing antibody levels.
But Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious physician in Mississauga, Ont., said looking solely at the antibody response is misleading, and could be falsely used as justification for an infinite number of boosters.
Israel, which has opened third doses for its citizens, recently talked about administering fourth doses in the near future.
“This idea of waning immunity is being exploited and it’s really concerning to see,” Chakrabarti said. “There’s this idea that antibodies mean immunity, and that’s true … but the background level of immunity, the durable T-cell stuff, hasn’t been stressed enough.”
While some experts maintain boosters for the general population are premature, they agree some individuals would benefit from a third jab.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended boosters for the immunocompromised, who don’t mount a robust immune response from a two-dose series.
Other experts have argued residents of long-term care, who were prioritized when the rollout began last December, may also soon need a third dose. The English study suggests immunity could be waning in older groups but not much — if at all — among those under age 65.
Chakrabarti said a decrease in protection among older populations could be due more to “overlapping factors,” including their generally weaker immune systems and congregate-living situations for those in long-term care.
“These are people at the highest risk of hospitalization,” he said. “Could (the length of time that’s passed following their doses) be playing a role? Yeah, maybe.”
While we still don’t know the duration of the immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, Gommerman said immune cells typically continue to live within bone marrow and make small amounts of antibodies for “decades.”
“And they can be quickly mobilized if they encounter a pathogen,” she said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2021.
Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
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