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Answering questions about kids and the COVID-19 vaccine – CTV News London

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Exeter, Ont. –

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) has announced that as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, families can book COVID-19 vaccine appointments for those aged five to 11.

As part of the MLHU COVID-19 briefing on Monday, acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Alex Summers answered questions from CTV News London as it relates to kids and the vaccine.

 

Q: What if a child is close to turning 12? Do they wait to get a different dose or get what they can get now?

 

A: With the approval of the pediatric dose, we anticipate many questions about kids that are about to turn 12. It’s really important that we don’t delay in getting vaccinated. Kids have a robust immune system and will have a great immune response to either formulation when they’re around the ages of 11 or 12. For kids that are 11, they will receive the pediatric dose, once they turn 12 on their 12th birthday, they’ll receive that adult dose. If a child is vaccinated with a pediatric dose because they’re under 11 and then they turn 12 before they’re eligible for their second dose, they’ll receive the adult dose as their second dose. So it all depends on when your birth date is if you’re 12 and older, you get the adult dose. If you’re 11 years old and 364 days old, you will receive the pediatric dose and again, I anticipate no fundamental difference in the immune response amongst either of those situations. The important thing in all this is not to delay. Protection now is better than protection later. And either one of these vaccine doses for that age bracket will result in substantial protection.

 

Q: With discussion out there about the number of people developing myocarditis or pericarditis, should parents be concerned about thins in young kids being vaccinated?

 

A: Fortunately, the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis from the initial studies that have been done appear to be lower amongst kids under the ages of 12. So the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis just to emphasize that, appears to be lower amongst those under the age of 12. The other key variable that’s being considered is the extended second dose interval. As you may have heard, as I have not mentioned today, for kids five to 11 and for everybody frankly moving forward, the interval between your first and second dose will be highly recommended at 56 days or eight weeks and one of the reasons to do that is to decrease the potential risk of myocarditis and it appears that having an extended second dose interval reduces the risk of myocarditis pericarditis. So those are other precautions that are being put in place. I will also emphasize that the risk and severity of the myocarditis and pericarditis events that have been seen following immunization, are less, less severe and less frequent than the myocarditis seen from getting COVID. If you want to avoid myocarditis, the best thing to do is get vaccinated rather than take your chances with the virus itself. And as I mentioned, with the Delta variants, and with us moving indoors, the question of whether you will get COVID-19 is not the question to be asked. It’s a question of when. So I would reassure parents and guardians that the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis in people of all ages, but those under the ages of 12 in particular, is very, very low, likely lower than the age demographic above it, and reduced further by the extended second dose interval. And just to remember that you’re actually reducing the probability that somebody is going to get myocarditis by getting vaccinated because it reduces the risk that you’re going to get COVID-19.

Q: How extensively has the vaccine been studied in children that parents and guardians can trust that their kids will be safe in getting the vaccine?

A: The vaccine has been studied extensively in children. The pediatric formulation of the Pfizer vaccine underwent robust phase one, phase two and phase three trials and then was evaluated by Health Canada. Many will know that Canada was a few weeks delayed in in approving the Pfizer vaccine for children relative to the United States. And to me that’s encouraging, it demonstrates that the Canadian process was independent and was ours. And we can be confident that this has been reviewed in depth by Health Canada and by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. This vaccine went through a robust phase one, phase two and phase three study. The same studies in fact, that were used to evaluate the adult formulation, the same type of study where a vaccine and a placebo were given to a population of a group of being studied, and the effectiveness and the side effects of those vaccines were studied. And again, what has been shown repeatedly is that this vaccine is highly effective and safe. So we can be very, very confident in the ongoing role of this vaccine to kids in our community.

Q: For kids who were born in 2017 who will be turning five in early 2022, when will they be eligible to receive the vaccine?

A: The province actively is reviewing the plan for kids born in 2017. Obviously kids born in 2016 will be turning five before Dec. 31 of this year. Which means they’re either five or they’re four and 11 months years of age and the difference between a four and 11 month old and a five year old is immaterial with regards to getting this vaccine. Come January, it’s a little bit of a different story. In January we’ll have kids that will be potentially four years and one month old and the advisory committee at the provincial level is determining whether or not we will be moving forward and vaccinating those who are born in 2017 as opposed to turning five at some point next year. So more information to come and again, that’s just because the difference between somebody who’s four months, four years and 11 months old, to a five year old, is minor, whereas the difference between somebody who’s four years and one month old and a five year old is a little bit bigger. So we just need to evaluate that a little bit more closely.

Q: Are the doses for those age five to 11 in fridges in London ready to be administered or are we still waiting for them to arrive?

A: We’re still waiting for them to arrive. We anticipate arrival of the vaccine Wednesday or Thursday. Again, not within our control, but that’s why the first vaccines will go out on Friday. We want to make sure that we’re not canceling appointments. But we want to make sure we’ve got appointments as soon as possible. So Friday is our go live date. And we eagerly await the arrival of those vaccines. I understand from social media that they arrived in Canada yesterday [Sunday] on a UPS plane. So we know they’re in the country and now it’s just a function of distribution. I do reflect rather gratefully on the remarkable fact that this vaccine was approved for the pediatric population on Friday, and we already have it in the country and will likely be into kids as of Friday in our region. That’s a pretty amazing turnaround. And so we’re certainly grateful for that.

 

To book an appointment follow this link or call 226-289-3560 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days a week.

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'I was shocked': Mother, child mistakenly given COVID-19 vaccine instead of flu shot – Vancouver Is Awesome

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WINNIPEG — A Manitoba mother says a routine appointment for her and her three-year-old to get flu shots ended in frustration and mixed messages after they were each mistakenly given an adult dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Jenna Bardarson is calling for policy changes at the province’s vaccination centres to make sure that doesn’t happen to another family. 

The shots were administered on Nov. 24 at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.

Bardarson says that shortly after she and her daughter, Dali, got their shots, the health worker who had given them excused herself to speak with a supervisor. When the worker returned, she told them she had made a mistake and given them both the adult Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. My immediate concerns were, of course, would my daughter be OK and also who could I speak to about this,” Bardarson said in online social media messages Friday to The Canadian Press.

Once she got home, Bardarson made multiple calls to different departments with the regional medical authority, hoping to speak with someone about the error and her concerns, she said.

She said no one was able to provide her with the answers or information she needed. “The conversations with various Prairie Mountain Health members have been frustrating, to say the least.”

Bardarson said she already had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and was due for her booster shot next month. Her daughter is too young to be eligible.

Health Canada last month approved a pediatric version of the Pfizer shot for children ages five to 11, but it has not yet approved a vaccine for those under five. 

Bardarson said she and her daughter had headaches and sore arms the following day. Her daughter had no appetite and was throwing up.

Manitoba Health confirmed the mistake in a statement and said staff from Prairie Mountain have reached out to the mother to discuss what happened as well as to provide an update on an investigation.

“Patient safety is a critical aspect of all health-care services in Manitoba. We are constantly reviewing our processes to ensure that our systems support our staff in preventing errors,” it said.

“In this case … our team reviewed the existing processes to make adjustments that would help avoid a similar error from occurring in the future.”

Bardarson said the health region has not provided her with updated information on the investigation and would not discuss any consequences the health worker may have faced. 

Manitoba Health said no further action would be taken against the worker, because she immediately recognized the error and told a supervisor. 

For Bardarson, that’s not enough.

“I by no means want her fired; however, there should be some sort of measures in place for harm reduction.”

Bardarson suggested taking away the worker’s injection privileges or enhanced supervision during vaccinations. 

She said she would also like to see areas at vaccination centres separated by vaccine types, instead of having different vaccines offered in the same booth.

Manitoba Health could not say if others have been given a COVID-19 vaccine by mistake, but acknowledged that medication errors, although rare, do occur. It added that Bardarson was provided with information about the risks of the COVID-19 vaccine, which in this case it says are low.

Health Canada said it is not in charge of immunization monitoring and could not comment on whether similar mistakes have occurred in other parts of the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2021.

___

The story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. 

Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press


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Vaccine makers could make Omicron-specific booster, says Fauci

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COVID-19 vaccine makers have contingency plans to deal with the Omicron variant that include a combination vaccine against the original version and the variant as well as a variant-specific booster dose, a top U.S. health official said on Friday.

The U.S. government is working with Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J on multiple contingency plans, infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told reporters at a White House briefing.

“One is to rev up the production of the vaccines that they already have. The next is to make, for example, a bivalent, where you have the vaccine against both the ancestral strain and the new variant, and the other is to make a variant-specific boost,” said Fauci.

“They are now assuming they may have to do that and are being prepared for that,” he added.

Data from a National Institutes of Health study strongly suggest that existing boosters provide cross protection against a number of variants, including Omicron, Fauci said.

“Although we haven’t proven it yet, there’s every reason to believe that if you get vaccinated and boosted that you would have at least some degree of cross protection, very likely against severe disease, even against the Omicron variant.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with local authorities to investigate suspect cases of the Omicron variant in states other than those where cases have already been reported, Director Rochelle Walensky said at the briefing.

There have been cases of Omicron detected in about 40 countries, she said, but the Delta variant remains the dominant strain in the United States.

“I know that the news is focused on Omicron. But we should remember that 99.9% of cases in the country right now are from the Delta variant. Delta continues to drive cases across the country, especially in those who are unvaccinated,” she said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein and Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Dan Grebler)

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FDA adds strict safety warnings on arthritis drugs from Pfizer, AbbVie and Lilly

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The U.S. health regulator has added its strictest warning to the labels of drugs from Pfizer, Eli Lilly and AbbVie belonging to a class of anti-inflammatory treatments called JAK inhibitors, citing risk of serious health issues and death in patients 50 and over, the drugmakers said on Friday.

The addition of the warning on the labels follows the agency’s review of Pfizer’s Xeljanz after initial results from a February trial showed an increased risk of serious heart-related problems and cancer in some patients being treated with the drug.

Xeljanz, which brought in worldwide sales of $2.44 billion for Pfizer in 2020, is approved in the United States for the treatment of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ulcerative colitis – an inflammatory bowel disease.

AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Rinvoq and Pfizer’s Xeljanz are now recommended for use only in patients, who have had inadequate response or intolerance to one or more TNF blockers, which are another class of drugs used against inflammatory conditions.

The Food and Drug Administration’s boxed warnings on the labels of Rinvoq , Xeljanz and Lilly’s Olumiant flags the risk of cardiovascular death and stroke in high-risk patients who are aged 50 and above, and are current or past smokers.

Additional information about the risk of some types of cancer and death was also added to their labels.

The marketing applications for Rinvoq’s expanded use in atopic dermatitis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and ulcerative colitis remain under review by the FDA, AbbVie said.

 

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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