Canada’s national advisory body on vaccines now recommends giving third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to certain immunocompromised individuals, but still hasn’t reached a decision on whether to provide additional shots to the broader population.
Released on Friday, the new recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) stipulate that moderately to severely immunocompromised Canadians should be vaccinated with a primary series of three doses of an authorized mRNA-based vaccine, which includes those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
For those who’ve already had a two-dose series, NACI recommends providing a third dose, ideally of an mRNA vaccine — but the committee stressed this should not be considered a “booster.”
Dr. Shelley Deeks, NACI’s chair, explained in a statement that the goal is providing an extra shot to people who “may have somewhat lower responses to their first vaccinations.”
“This is not unusual for immunocompromised groups, where we often recommend different vaccine schedules to help them achieve better protection,” she continued. “This is different from a booster dose, which would be used to boost an immune response that has waned over time.”
The committee is also looking at whether additional doses might be needed for other groups, “but it is too early to comment on the state of the evidence for general boosters at this time,” Deeks said.
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Debate over offering additional shots
NACI’s recommendations come as much of the world is debating the merits of additional COVID-19 vaccine doses for various groups.
Here in Canada, some residents are already set to get third doses. Ontario and Alberta are offering additional shots for certain vulnerable populations including some transplant recipients, cancer patients, immunocompromised individuals and residents of various care homes — while Saskatchewan and Quebec are offering extra rounds of mRNA shots to people who want to travel to countries that may not recognize mixed-vaccination status.
But that kind of broad approach has come under fire given the disparities in the global vaccine rollout during this pandemic.
“We’re planning to hand out extra life-jackets to people who already have life-jackets, while we’re leaving other people to drown without a single life-jacket,” Dr. Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization’s top emergencies expert, said during a recent news conference.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has also said there is no need to rush out booster shots for the general public because all authorized vaccines are highly protective against hospitalization, severe disease and death from COVID-19.
And other wealthy nations with ample vaccine supply have taken a slightly more nuanced approach, with France, Germany and the U.K. announcing third doses only for certain vulnerable populations.
As for the new recommendations on third doses being offered in Canada, NACI said it is referring to moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals with the following conditions:
- Active treatment for solid tumour or hematologic malignancies.
- Receipt of solid-organ transplant, taking immunosuppressive therapy.
- Receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within two years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy).
- Moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
- Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
- Active treatment with certain immunosuppressive therapies.
Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids? – Delta-Optimist
Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids?
Experts say there’s no strong evidence that it makes children and teens sicker than earlier versions of the virus, although delta has led to a surge in infections among kids because it’s more contagious.
Delta’s ability to spread more easily makes it more of a risk to children and underscores the need for masks in schools and vaccinations for those who are old enough, said Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Weekly infection rates among U.S. children earlier this month topped 250,000, surpassing the wintertime peak, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association. Since the pandemic began, more than 5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19.
The delta variant has been identified in at least 180 countries, according to the World Health Organization. In many of them, the spike in infections has also meant an increase in hospitalizations in young children and teens.
In the U.S., the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 was less than 2 per 100,000 children in late August and early September — similar to the peak last winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the portion of kids hospitalized with severe disease hasn’t changed significantly.
The sheer numbers can make it seem like children are getting sicker with the delta variant, but experts say that does not appear to be the case. Most infected kids have mild infections or no symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized.
COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against delta. Among children 12 and older — who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations — the weekly hospitalization rate in July was 10 times higher for the unvaccinated than those who have had the shots, CDC data show.
The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:
Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press
Data from 3 major hospital systems reveals how many COVID-19 patients are fully vaccinated – Bring Me The News
While the COVID vaccines are shown to be effective albeit not bulletproof at preventing infection from the virus, their effectiveness at preventing hospitalization and death is much greater.
Four Minnesota healthcare institutions provided specific data that shows the percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are fully vaccinated, and how many are unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated.
Allina Health, which has 14 hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, reports that almost four out of five COVID-19 patients hospitalized through Sept. 20 were unvaccinated.
Its data show that of 176 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 20, 32 were in the ICU and 21 required a ventilator. Hospitalized patients who were fully vaccinated represented 22.7% of the total, and just 15.6% of the ICU cases and 9.5% of the cases with a ventilator.
HealthPartners, which has nine hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, told Bring Me The News that it has cared for 338 COVID-19 patients in the past 30 days and 53 of them (15.7%) were fully vaccinated.
“Of those 53 patients, only six required intensive care, two needed the support of a ventilator and nobody died. Year-to-date, 6.3% of hospitalized patients have been fully vaccinated,” a spokesperson from HealthPartners said.
Sanford Health, which operates 22 regional hospitals, is reporting that 10.1% of all COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 21 were fully vaccinated. Only two of 45 in the ICU and one of 34 patients on a ventilator were fully vaxxed,
More of the same from CentraCare, which operates eight hospitals in the region. The latest data provided Thursday (it changes daily and even hourly) had six of 67 COVID-19 inpatients documented as fully vaccinated.
To recap, that’s four major hospital systems that are reporting between 9% and 22% of all COVID-19 patients being fully vaccinated, with even lower percentages of vaccinated patients in the ICU or on a ventilator.
“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best tool in stopping the spread of infection and preventing serious illness and death,” the HealthPartners spokesperson said.
Bring Me The News has requested vaccinated and unvaccinated ratios from other major providers, including Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Hennepin Healthcare and Essentia Health.
330 people are in BC hospitals with COVID-19 – MY PG NOW
B.C. is reporting 832 new cases of COVID-19, 117 in Northern Health, 153 in Interior Health.
There are 5,697 active cases in the province, of those cases, 330 individuals are in hospital and 148 are in intensive care.
The north has 977 active cases, and the interior has 1,181.
87.3% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a vaccine and 79.9% received their second dose.
The new/active cases include:
* 377 new cases in Fraser Health
* Total active cases: 1,932
* 114 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health
* Total active cases: 909
* 153 new cases in Interior Health
* Total active cases: 1,181
* 117 new cases in Northern Health
* Total active cases: 977
* 71 new cases in Island Health
* Total active cases: 654
* no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada
* Total active cases: 44
There were five new deaths reported, one was in Northern Health.
From Sept. 15-21, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 75.5% of cases and from Sept. 8-21, they accounted for 82.6% of hospitalizations.
Past week cases (Sept. 15-21) – Total 4,417
* Not vaccinated: 2,996 (67.8%)
* Partially vaccinated: 342 (7.7%)
* Fully vaccinated: 1,079 (24.4%)
Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Sept. 8-21) – Total 437
* Not vaccinated: 327 (74.8%)
* Partially vaccinated: 34 (7.8%)
* Fully vaccinated: 76 (17.4%)
Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 15-21)
* Not vaccinated: 289.0
* Partially vaccinated: 87.9
* Fully vaccinated: 27.0
Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 8-21)
* Not vaccinated: 46.5
* Partially vaccinated: 13.3
* Fully vaccinated: 1.8
After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 25.8 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated.
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