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A look at when Canada could start administering COVID-19 vaccines to teens, children – Global News



As vaccines to protect against the novel coronavirus continue to be administered across the country, one question remains unanswered — when will shots be approved for children and when will kids be vaccinated?

On Sunday U.S. Dr. Anthony Fauci said high school students in America will “very likely be able to be vaccinated by the fall term.”

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He said elementary school children in the U.S. would likely be ready to receive vaccinations by the first quarter of 2022 once studies on the safety of the vaccine are completed.

However, in Canada, no vaccines have been approved for use in children younger than 16 years of age.

Health Canada says it is waiting on data from the vaccine manufacturers before it approves any shot for use in children.

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Here’s a closer look at what’s going on in Canada.

Vaccines approved

To date, Health Canada has approved four vaccines for use in Canada.

In December, the regulatory body approved two mRNA vaccines — one from Pfizer-BioNTech, the other from Moderna.

Last month, a shot from AstraZeneca was given the green light, and in early March, a shot from Johnson & Johnson was given the OK for use in Canada.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can be used in anyone 16 and older, Health Canada says, while the other three shots have been approved for adults 18 and up.

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By Saturday morning, 2,830,586 doses of the approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada.

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That means approximately 3.79 per cent of the country’s population is now vaccinated against the virus.

Trials underway

Speaking to reporters earlier this month after the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Health Canada’s chief medical advisor Dr. Supriya Sharma said a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in children aged 12 to 17 had been authorized by the agency.

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“This will be important research to support vaccine availability for all Canadians of all ages,” she said.

Sharma said the clinical trial from Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is the first trial Health Canada has authorized in younger adults that includes Canadian sites. It has not yet begun recruiting patients.

The other vaccine manufacturers are either looking into beginning clinical trials in children or have already started, Sharma confirmed.

“So the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines, with respect to their clinical trials in younger-age adults — and that’s 12 to 15 for Pfizer, 12 to 17 for Moderna — have clinical trials that are ongoing, that actually finished recruiting patients into the clinical trials,” she continued. “So they’re the ones that are most far — they’re the furthest advanced in that.”

Sharma said AstraZeneca has also started a clinical trial to test its vaccine in younger age groups.

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However, she said she expects Health Canada will receive data from Pfizer and Moderna first “because their trials in children are most advanced.”

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In an email to Global News, Christina Antoniou, director of corporate affairs at Pfizer Canada, said the vaccine is being studied in children aged 12-15, “and the study is ongoing.”

She said as the results of the trial become available “we will share them with Health Canada.”

“At this point, I cannot confirm when that will be,” she wrote.

However, on Thursday, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said he expects younger teens to be eligible for the vaccine in the fall, and elementary school students by the end of the year.

Bourla said the company plans to submit the data for children between the ages of 12 and 16 very soon.

He added that data for children aged five to 11 can be expected year-end.

Global News also reached out to Moderna to determine when exactly the data from its trial would be shared with Health Canada, but did not hear back by publication.


Asked by reporters whether Health Canada could approve a vaccine for use in children before school begins in the fall of 2021, Sharma said that timeline “may be a bit optimistic.”

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Montreal pediatric specialist answers questions about the coronavirus and kids – Jan 1, 2021

“So the trials in children tend to be a bit slower to get up and running in terms of recruiting individuals,” she said. “And then, of course, we have to conduct the trials and then take that information and assess that.”

She said it’s “not inconceivable that we might have some data in the summer.”

“And potentially by the end of this calendar year, we might have some indications in children, but … that’s still pretty optimistic.”

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She said Health Canada is not expecting results from the Jannsen clinical trial until 2022.

“So potentially by the end of the calendar year we might have some answers for children, but it really will depend on how those clinical trials are conducted and most importantly the results that we get from them,” she said.

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In a previous interview with Global News, Dr. Karina Top, a pediatric and infectious disease physician at IWK Health Cente in Halifax and vaccine researcher at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, said children are lower on the priority list for COVID-19 vaccines because they have less severe outcomes when they contract the virus, and because they have a lower transmission rate.

“Fortunately, COVID is generally or almost always a very mild disease in children,” Top told Global News.

“And young children (don’t) contribute to the spread of COVID as much as adults or older age groups,” she continued. “So for that reason, the focus has been on vaccinating the older populations and then working our way down in age groups to protect the most vulnerable.”

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As of Friday, a total of 152,578 cases of the novel coronavirus had been reported in those under 19 years of age.

That means approximately 16.9 per cent of Canada’s total coronavirus infections have been detected in children and teenagers.

–With files from Global News’ Marney Blunt

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada aims to raise safety along notorious “Highway of Tears” with cell phone service



By Moira Warburton

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Canadian authorities will help fund mobile phone service to increase safety along a remote stretch of highway in British Columbia known as the “Highway of Tears” for the number of women who have gone missing on the route, most of them indigenous.

Indigenous groups recommended the move in 2006 in a report on disappearances and murders of women along the highway between the cities of Prince Rupert and Prince George, roughly 800 km (500 miles) north of Vancouver.

The recommendation was endorsed by a provincial government-mandated commission several years later.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating 13 cases of murdered women and five who disappeared on or near the Highway of Tears, although no new cases have been added since 2007. Advocates believe the number of homicides and missing is significantly higher.

Lisa Beare, British Columbia’s minister of citizens’ services, called the project “a critical milestone in helping prevent future tragedies along this route.”

Cell phone plans in Canada are among the most expensive in the world, according to government data, and the cost and lack of coverage in rural areas was a top issue in the last election.

The provincial and federal governments will contribute C$4.5 million towards the C$11.6 million ($9.24 million) cost for Rogers Communications to install 12 cell phone towers, the British Columbia government said on Wednesday.

Lorraine Whitman, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, applauded the plan but said it was only one step in making the area safer for indigenous women.

“This truly is a blessing for the women,” she said. “But not all women have a phone. These towers are being put up, but it makes no use to the person that has no cell phone.”

($1 = 1.2558 Canadian dollars)


(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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Canadian fertilizer producer Nutrien to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030



By Rod Nickel and Rithika Krishna

(Reuters) –Canada‘s Nutrien Ltd, the world’s largest fertilizer producer by capacity, said on Thursday it aimed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% by 2030, in a plan costing the company up to $700 million.

Agricultural companies, including Mosaic and Corteva, have set carbon emissions targets as climate-conscious investors push firms to become more environmentally friendly.

Nutrien plans to spend $500 million to $700 million to meet the carbon emissions target, which includes cutting emissions from nitrogen production by 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually by the end of 2023.

“We’re in a really unique spot to address two big societal challenges – food security, and in a way that reduces our environmental footprint,” said Mark Thompson, Nutrien’s chief corporate development and strategy officer, in an interview.

Synthetic fertilizers account for 12% of global emissions from agriculture, according to a 2016 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report.

Nutrien’s target includes Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which reflect direct operations and electricity use. Nutrien is addressing Scope 3 emissions – those related to on-farm activity – with a program that encourages growers to adopt sustainable practices that generate monetary credits.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company plans to deploy wind and solar energy at four potash plants by the end of 2025, replacing electricity generated by coal and natural gas.

It also plans to expand its sequestration of carbon emissions from nitrogen fertilizer production and to invest in technology to capture nitrous oxide gas from its facilities.

Nutrien estimates that its carbon credit program could directly amount to $10 to $20 per acre for farmers, and it expects to benefit financially itself as well.

“If we can provide agronomic value and the value of the carbon credit over time, we’ll have customer loyalty – we anticipate that we’ll be a preferred supplier,” Thompson said.

(Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Steve Orlofsky)

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Iran indicts 10 over Ukraine plane crash, prosecutor says; Canada demands justice



DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran has indicted 10 officials over the shooting-down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in January 2020 that killed all 176 people on board, a military prosecutor said on Tuesday.

In a report published last month, Iran’s civil aviation body blamed the crash on a misaligned radar and an error by an air defence operator. Ukraine and Canada, home to many of those who died, criticised the report as insufficient.

“Indictments have been issued for 10 officials involved in the crash of the Ukrainian plane…and necessary decisions will be taken in court,” Gholam Abbas Torki, the outgoing military prosecutor for Tehran province, was quoted as saying by the semi-official news agency ISNA. He did not elaborate.

In Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “tremendously concerned about the lack of accountability” from Iran about the disaster.

Canada, along with its partners, will continue to press Tehran to deliver justice and compensation for families of the victims, he told a briefing when asked about the indictments.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight on Jan. 8, 2020, shortly after it took off from Tehran Airport.

The Iranian government later said the shooting-down was a “disastrous mistake” by its forces at a time when they were on high alert in a regional confrontation with the United States.

Iran was on edge about possible attacks after it fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces in retaliation for the killing days before of its most powerful military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. missile strike at Baghdad airport.


(Reporting by Dubai newsroom and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Heinrich)

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