As we approach the end of the year, health experts and officials in Canada are facing questions about booster shots for COVID-19, including when the general population will need them.
On Oct. 29, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) released interim guidance on the use of booster shots in Canada, which states that Canadian populations “at highest risk of waning protection” and “at highest risk of severe COVID-19 illness” should be offered a booster shot of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completion of their primary vaccination series.
These populations are specifically adults living in long-term care or other congregate care settings for seniors, and all adults age 80 and older.
NACI also stated that boosters may be offered a at least six months after the primary course of vaccination if individuals fall into the following categories:
Adults 70 to 79 years of age
People who received two doses of the AstraZeneca Vaxzevria/COVISHIELD vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine
Adults in or from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities
Adults who are frontline healthcare workers who have direct in-person contact with patients and who were vaccinated with a very short interval
“There is currently no evidence of widespread waning of protection against severe disease in the general Canadian population who have been vaccinated against COVID-19,” the NACI guidance reads.
“Emerging evidence suggests vaccine effectiveness against asymptomatic infection and mild COVID-19 disease may decrease over time. A booster dose could help restore and maintain protection against infection in certain populations. It is currently unknown how long effectiveness from a booster dose may last.”
The priority in Canada still remains administering as many first and second doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as possible.
“With over 5.5 million adults and eligible youth yet to be fully vaccinated in Canada, it is important to emphasize that getting more people to complete their two-dose primary series remains a key focus of the COVID-19 immunization effort in Canada,” a statement from Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, reads.
In an interview with CTV News, Dr. Tam said that while the Canadian data shows that we still have “great protection against severe outcomes” from COVID-19 in the country, the general population may need a booster dose next year, but “not right now.”
A study conducted by Israel’s Clalit Research Institute and researchers from Harvard University found that administering a third dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine reduced COVID-19-related hospitalization by 93 per cent, reduced severe COVID-19 disease by 92 per cent and COVID-19-related deaths by 81 per cent, compared to individuals who received two doses.
This study examined data on 728,321 individuals in Israel who received a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, compared with 728,321 individuals who received two doses at least five months prior.
“These results show convincingly that the third dose of the vaccine is highly effective against severe COVID-19-related outcomes in different age groups and population subgroups, one week after the third dose. These data should facilitate informed policy decision-making,” a statement from Ran Balicer, senior author of the study, director and chief innovation officer of the Clalit Research Institute, reads.
COVID-19 shows up in Canadian wildlife for first time with three Quebec deer infected – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
OTTAWA – For the first time, the COVID-19 virus has been detected in Canadian wildlife.
Environment Canada says the virus was detected late last month in three wild white-tailed deer in Quebec.
The department says the deer all appeared healthy and showed no clinical signs of COVID-19.
The discovery follows recent reports of the virus spreading among white-tailed deer in the United States.
There has so far been no known transmission of COVID-19 from deer to humans and Environment Canada says it remains “largely a disease of human concern and typically spreads from human to human.”
Still, until more is known, it says anyone exposed to respiratory tissues and fluids from deer should wear a well-fitting mask and avoid splashing of fluids as much as possible.
COVID-19 has infected multiple species of animals, including dogs, cats, farmed mink and zoo animals. But this is the first time in Canada that it has spilled over into wildlife.
Deer in the Estrie region of Quebec were sampled Nov. 6 to 8. The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed the virus in three of them on Monday. The World Organisation for Animal Health was notified on Wednesday.
“As this is the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife in Canada, information on the impacts and spread of the virus in wild deer populations is currently limited,” Environment Canada said in a news release Wednesday.
“This finding emphasizes the importance of ongoing surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife to increase our understanding about SARS-CoV-2 on the human-animal interface.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.
KFL&A reports 34 new COVID-19 cases, 304 active – Globalnews.ca
The Kingston region is once again over the 300 active cases mark, as Wednesday’s 34 new cases bring the daily active case count to 304.
Of the new cases, 10 are in the five-to-11 age group.
Nineteen people remain in hospital, with 11 of those cases are in the intensive care unit. Six people are on ventilators.
The cases per 100,000 over the past week is up slightly to 104.7, from 102.8 Tuesday.
The rise in cases locally has also forced the postponing of at least one local event. The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was scheduled to have its grand opening on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.
“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have significant impacts throughout our communities, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is committed to supporting the community through this time of heightened risk and uncertainty,” the Marine Museum said in a statement Wednesday.
“We consider the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors paramount.”
As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Roussin takes aim at HIV stigma – Brandon Sun
Wednesday was World AIDS Day and the province is getting behind the message to end the stigma of the disease.
There were 117 new cases of HIV identified in the province in 2020, slightly fewer than in 2019.
“Even though there are fewer cases, there was also significantly less testing,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday.
“Around 25 per cent of people with HIV are unaware they have it, and that can contribute to the spread.”
The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to be a significant public health issue in the province. Roussin said the populations most at risk are also facing problems of accessibility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roussin urged people who may be at risk to get regular testing and speak to their health-care providers regarding prevention, testing and treatment options.
All these services are confidential and free of charge.
Those living with HIV are also encouraged to stay connected to care and treatments.
Roussin said it is considered a chronic infection and there are effective treatments for HIV, with many being able to get the virus level down to undetectable levels and minimizing risk of transmitting it to other people.
» The Brandon Sun
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