An Ontario family was forced to wait a week for answers after their two children were mistakenly given an adult dose of a COVID-19 vaccine instead of the paediatric version, leading to many sleepless nights.
On Dec. 22, Angela and Felipe Neto took their two youngest kids, aged six and eight, to a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Napanee, Ont. for their first shot.
“After they received the shots and we were waiting to see if they were good to go and then a lady got us to the other room and informed us the kids have been vaccinated with the adult version of Moderna, which is not even tested for children,” Felipe Neto told CTV News Toronto last week.
“And then I asking about what we should expect and she had no idea.”
After asking for a new receipt that showed the adult dose, the family was simply told to monitor the children for any negative reactions. No further information was given to the family, who said they aren’t sure what to watch out for.
Felipe Neto said that he and his wife barely slept that first night.
“What if their hearts stopped beating and I’m sleeping because they took an untested vaccine. That’s so scary,” he said.
Angela Neto said that she called her colleagues, who work as nurses at a hospital in Kington, Ont., for advice
The children have not experienced any severe side effects to the adult vaccine dose, which the family is grateful for, but they say that it was the confusion and lack of communication that bothered them the most.
“It’s way too scary when someone tells you, ‘Oh, sorry. We messed up with your kids and we don’t know what may happen.’ What can happen?They can die? We don’t know. Holy cow,” Felipe Neto said.
“We were not causing a scene or anything. I understand mistakes happen. But to be put in a room aside, leave your kids alone to receive this kind of news and a goodbye, go home and see what happens… what is being done? Did they open an investigation? What is happening?”
An official with the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A)Public Health Unit got back to the family on Dec. 31 after numerous calls. The official apologized for the mistake and told the family that the kids should still get a second dose of vaccine.
KFL&A Public Health told CTV News Toronto in a statement Tuesday they do not comment on individual medical cases, but there are processes in place to review all incidents that are reported.
This includes “a review of the incident with staff involved and immediate actions taken to mitigate future recurrences as well as identified opportunities to improve clinical practices.”
“If a vaccine error or deviation occur, clinic practices would adhere to the most up to date Ministry of Health guidance document.”
According to provincial guidelines updated on Dec. 30, 2021—which have yet to be published online—if an adult’s shot of Moderna is administered to a child under the age of 12, it should be considered as a “valid dose.”
These children should still book a second shot of paediatric Pfizer vaccine, the government says, adding that officials should inform parents of “the potential for local and systemic adverse events.”
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GET THE WRONG DOSE IN ONTARIO?
Regardless of the error, the provincial guidelines say that the recipient of the erroneous vaccine should be informed of any possible side effects and be provided with recommendations for future doses. All errors should also be reported to the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System, as well as the local public health unit.
Here is what the guidelines say should happen if a child is given an incorrect dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario:
A child under the age of five gets a pediatric dose of COVID-19 vaccine: Children under the age of five are not yet eligible to get the shot. If t his occurs, a second dose may be offered at the recommended interval when they do become eligible.
A child under the age of 12 gets an adult dose of Pfizer: A second dose of the paediatric Pfizer dose should be offered at the recommended interval.
A child under the age of 18 gets the AstraZeneca vaccine: They should get the second dose of the correct age-appropriate Pfizer dose when eligible.
A child under the age of 18 gets the Janssen vaccine: No second dose is necessary. The vaccine series is considered complete.
If a child between the ages of 12 and 17 get a paediatric dose of Pfizer: This should be considered a valid dose and when eligible, the individual should get a second adult dose of Pfizer. If the paediatric dose was given as a second shot, the series should be complete. However, the province says that a repeated dose of the adult vaccine “may be administered at the Ontario recommended interval after the dose given in error” based on clinical judgement.
If someone aged 18 and up receives a paediatric dose: The dose is considered invalid and the individual should get the age-appropriate dose as soon as possible. The second dose should be given at the recommended interval following the age-appropriate vaccine.
If a child gets a paediatric dose within 14 days of another vaccine: The dose is considered valid and the series should be completed as normal.
COVID-19 vaccine targeting multiple variants needed: expert – CTV News
Health Canada’s chief medical adviser says variant-specific vaccines can be approved faster than the general ones first issued to combat COVID-19, but one targeting the Omicron strain still likely won’t be ready in time to help with the latest wave.
Dr. Supriya Sharma said what is really needed are vaccines that can possibly stop more than one variant at a time, including those yet to come.
Omicron became the dominant variant in Canada in just over two weeks, and the Public Health Agency of Canada said Friday it’s now believed to be responsible for more than 90 per cent of all COVID-19 cases.
Studies suggest two doses of the existing mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are not good at preventing infection from Omicron.
Multiple studies, however, suggest the vaccines are excellent at keeping symptoms mild, preventing hospitalizations, and shortening the stay and lowering the level of care for those who do get admitted to hospital. Fewer vaccinated Omicron patients, for example, need mechanical ventilation.
Both Pfizer and Moderna are working on new versions of their vaccines that specifically target the Omicron variant.
Moderna is hoping to get its product into trials early this year. Pfizer said it could have 100 million doses of theirs ready as early as March, and Canada has contracts for boosters from both companies that would include vaccines for variants too.
But Sharma said even with the expedited review process for vaccine variants, that’s “probably not” fast enough.
“By that time, based on what we’ve known about the Omicron wave, it might well and truly be through,” she said. “And then the question is always, ‘is there another variant that’s coming up?”‘
The solution, she said, likely lies with vaccines that can target more than one variant at a time.
The COVID-19 vaccine technical committee of the World Health Organization said the same thing on Jan. 11, noting Omicron is the fifth variant of concern in two years and “is unlikely to be the last.”
Booster shots that heighten antibody development became the immediate response to Omicron for many governments, including Canada.
Dr. Srinivas Murthy, a British Columbia pediatrician and co-chair of the WHO’s clinical research committee on COVID-19, told The Canadian Press that boosters aren’t a long-term viable option.
“Boosting your way out of a pandemic is going to inevitably shoot you in the foot in the sense that you’re going to have a future variant that’s going to emerge that’s going to cause problems,” he said. “It’s going to evade your vaccines, and then you’re going to have to scramble.”
Omicron doesn’t evade the existing vaccines entirely but a future variant could, he said. The issue largely stems from the fact that the original vaccines train the body’s immune system to recognize what is called the spike protein found on the surface of a virus, and that spike protein is mutating significantly.
Think of the mutated spike protein as a bit of a disguise that makes it harder for the immune system to recognize the virus and mount a defence to kill it off.
Omicron has more than 50 mutations, and at least 36 are on the spike protein.
Multivalent vaccines that use the spike protein from more than one variant, or that target the genetic components of a virus rather than the spike protein, are possibly the ones that could offer protection for both this pandemic and the next novel coronavirus that emerges.
“It’s pan-coronavirus, where it’s looking at big broad neutralizing responses and you don’t have to update it every season and so on,” said Murthy. “That’s been the Holy Grail of flu vaccinology for the past number of decades. We haven’t achieved that yet, because flu is a bit tricky, but we think that it’s achievable for coronavirus, specifically.”
The United States Army has a version heading into Phase 2 trials that can attach multiple spike proteins. A vaccine with the specific spike proteins from all five COVID-19 variants of concern would likely be more successful, even against future variants, because they all share some of the same mutations and what one might miss another may catch.
Moderna is working on trials for multivalent vaccines using combinations of the spike proteins from the original virus and one of the variants, or two of the variants together. It’s not clear when they would be ready for use.
Sharma said even if the vaccines aren’t working as well against variants as they were against the original virus, to her “they’re still miraculous.”
“To have a vaccine that was developed that quickly, that still has, through multiple variants ΓÇª with boosters, up to 70, 80 per cent effectiveness against serious disease, ailments, hospitalization and death,” she said. “That is miraculous for a new vaccine for a new virus.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2022.
Another COVID outbreak at BGH – Brantford Expositor
The Brant Community Healthcare system declared a COVID-19 outbreak Friday on Brantford General Hospital’s B5 surgical floor.
In a news release, BCHS, which operates BGH and the Willett urgent-care centre in Paris, said two people have tested positive for the disease. They did not indicate if those infections were in staff members or patients.
Visitors will not be permitted in the unit, though exceptions may be made for compassionate reasons.
BCHS said safety precautions remain in place, including enhancing cleaning and disinfection efforts, screening, mandatory masks, and contact tracing.
Outbreaks were declared Jan. 7 at three units at BGH – B6, B7 and B7- and on Jan. 5 at the Willett transitional unit.
Ontario woman who had cancer surgery delayed gets her date after media blitz – Timmins Times
Surgery will be at Mt. Sinai in two weeks
Cassandra Dimaria has a new surgery date.
The young Woodbridge woman was the subject of intense media attention last week after she revealed that life-saving cancer for her stage 4 colon cancer had been repeatedly cancelled.
On Saturday, Dimaria said her cousin, Vanessa Pilieci, had been in touch with Philomena Servidio, President and CEO of Colorectal Cancer Resource & Action Network.
“She’s been my advocate,” she said of Servidio.
“I had no idea people like her existed. If I’d known, my journey would have gone much smoother than it did.”
Her surgery is scheduled to happen in two weeks at Mt. Sinai; Dimaria needs a specific surgery that’s only done there, she said.
And she said she’s grateful for the media attention to her situation and to those who contacted her surgeon on her behalf.
“I am definitely relieved. I just want to have my surgery, heal, and put all this behind me.”
It’s been an experience, she adds, watching people come together to help her.
“In a matter of just a few days, look what the community has done for me. People I don’t know have helped fight for me.
“It shows you — share your story!”
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