Trial results have found that having a third or “booster” dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is more than 95 per cent effective at preventing disease.
The clinical trial findings, released by the two companies that developed the shot, are described as the first efficacy results from a “randomised, controlled Covid-19 vaccine booster trial”.
There were more than 10,000 participants in the trial, all of whom had completed an initial two-dose programme with the vaccine.
Half the participants then received a third dose of the vaccine, and half were given a placebo, with the third dose given an average of 11 months after the second.
Researchers recorded whether participants subsequently developed symptomatic Covid-19 at least seven days after the booster was given, with individuals followed up for an average of 2.5 months.
In the boosted group there were just five Covid-19 cases, while in the non-boosted group 109 cases were recorded, which gives an efficacy – or effectiveness at preventing disease – of 95.6 per cent.
Prof David Taylor, professor emeritus of pharmaceutical and public health policy at University College London, said the results indicated “having a booster is an extremely sensible idea” for people in at-risk groups.
“The message to everybody, including if you’re 50 or 60 or over, is having a booster dose after six months or longer is extremely sensible,” he said.
In a statement, Ugur Sahin, the chief executive and co-founder of BioNTech, said the results added to the “body of evidence” that the vaccine protected “a broad population of people from this virus and its variants”.
“Based on these findings we believe that, in addition to broad global access to vaccines for everyone, booster vaccinations could play an important role in sustaining pandemic containment and a return to normalcy,” he said.
Pfizer and BioNTech said detailed analysis of the results indicated that efficacy of a booster did not vary with age, sex, race, ethnicity, or any other serious medical conditions a person has.
The companies plan to share the results with regulators, including the Food and Drug Administration in the US and the European Medicines Agency.
A booster programme using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that began in Israel in July has been credited with helping the country overcome its fourth wave of Covid-19 infections.
Infection rates fell faster in over-80s, who were given boosters first, than in other age groups, indicating that the third doses were improving immunity, which may have waned over time after the second dose.
Other countries are also launching booster programmes, including the UK, which began a programme last month focused on over-50s and other vulnerable groups.
In August, Abu Dhabi mandated a third dose of the Sinopharm vaccine for people who had previously received the Chinese-developed shot.
More recently, at the beginning of this month, the UAE authorised booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Russian-developed Sputnik vaccines for over 60s and members of other vulnerable groups, with the third dose to be given at least six months after the second.
Prof Taylor said it was unclear at the moment whether people would need to have Covid-19 vaccination boosters indefinitely.
“For the next few years, it does look like especially the older population will need top-up immunisation. Whether that will be twice-yearly or yearly we don’t know,” he said.
Updated: October 22nd 2021, 3:20 AM
Waterloo Region COVID-19 vaccine for kids Q and A aims to ease parents' concerns – TheRecord.com
Rashmi Aggarwal is a mom of two. Her six-year old son had switched to online learning for over a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But this September, the Vista Hills resident wanted him to participate in in-person classes again. “I see he was missing school, socializing, playing with his friends, so this time I really wanted him to go to school.”
Going back to school came with the fear of her son contracting the virus especially since the vaccine had not been approved for children yet. But a solution to her worry would soon come.
On Nov. 19, Health Canada announced the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children between five and 11-years-old, and the Region of Waterloo Public Health began administrating vaccines for kids on Nov. 26.
“Definitely, it’s a relief that now kids can be vaccinated so they are more protected,” said Aggarwal, but she wants to wait a bit before her son receives the vaccine.
“As a mother, how I feel is I just want to wait a month or two and see how it goes. Definitely, I want to get him vaccinated.”
No one in their home ever came down with the virus. She and her husband got vaccinated early enough to protect their 18-month-old daughter who has a congenital heart disease.
Aggarwal is one of many Canadian parents who intend on vaccinating their children but are worried about the side effects.
The City of Waterloo hosted a Q and A session on Dec. 2 where Kelly Grindrod, associate professor at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy, made a presentation on the importance of children being vaccinated.
According to a survey Grindrod shared, two-thirds of Canadian parents or guardians said they intended to vaccinate their child once the vaccine becomes available. Sixteen per cent were unsure and 19 per cent had no intention of doing it.
Grindrod addressed some of the parents’ concerns about the side effects of the vaccine.
She said the National Advisory Committee on Immunization advised that kids be given the vaccine at an eight-week interval between the first and second doses. “Because those two doses a bit further apart, provides stronger and longer lasting immunity,” she said.
In Canada, second doses should be due for administering around mid to late January.
Grindrod said doing this may also lower the risk of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscles.
The doctor explained that a study was done from March till October 2021 before the vaccine became approved. It was a randomized placebo controlled trial of 4,500 children between the ages of five to 11.
Three thousand of them were given the vaccine and 1,500 were given the placebo (saltwater vaccine.) The kids were given two doses of 10 μg each, three weeks apart.
Grindrod siad the kids who were given the vaccine had less COVID than those who were given the placebo.
Grindrod explained that COVID-19 vaccines lower the risk of getting infected, infecting others and complications. She advised that children get vaccinated so that they can go back to being kids again.
As of the time of writing, the Waterloo Region had vaccinated 83.11 per cent of eligible residents who are age five and older with the first dose, 79.34 per cent with the second dose.
As of Dec. 2, 8,613 doses had been administered to children five to 11 years old.
To book an appointment for your child, visit the Region of Waterloo website: Get a Vaccine – Region of Waterloo
Grindrod said for parents whose kids are nervous about getting needles, they should use the CARD system to have a positive vaccination experience. Comfort, Ask, Relax and Distract. She also advised parents to apply numbing patches to the upper arm prior to vaccination.
STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Since the vaccine approval for kids, we wanted to speak to parents to find out how they are feeling about their children getting vaccinated.
RELEASE: COVID concerns at Signal Brewery – Quinte News
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is advising individuals who attended Signal Brewery (Corbyville) between November 19 – December 4 that they may have had an exposure to COVID-19. HPEPH is in the process of investigating multiple cases of COVID-19 that were present at the restaurant during this time frame. Signal Brewery has closed voluntarily while the investigation is underway.
All individuals who attended Signal Brewery between November 19 – December 4 are:
- Advised to seek testing immediately for COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms.
- Monitor closely for symptoms of COVID-19.
- If symptoms develop, even mild ones such as a runny nose or sore throat, isolate at home and away from others, and seek testing again, even if you were negative the first time.
While HPEPH does not typically disclose the location of COVID-19 cases in order to protect individuals’ privacy, this information is disclosed when needed to meet public health objectives such as prompt notification of potential contacts and reducing the risk of further transmission. HPEPH is in the process of contacting identified high-risk contacts related to these cases. All high-risk contacts will be instructed by HPEPH to self-isolate immediately and to get tested.
“I am urging individuals who attended Signal Brewery on these dates to seek testing, even if they do not have symptoms, in order to protect those around them,” says Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Acting Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH. “All residents are asked to remain vigilant and protect one another – and this includes getting tested if advised, staying home and getting tested if you have symptoms, and limiting your close contacts. If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
WECHU issues additional COVID-19 measures | CTV News – CTV News Windsor
The Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has issued a letter of instruction, aiming to address a surge in COVID-19 cases.
With cases of COVID-19 climbing steadily in the past month, local health officials say they are once again putting in place restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
According to the health unit, the updated letter addresses the key settings associated with COVID-19 transmission identified through ongoing case investigations, which have identified social gatherings as an area of significant concern.
In particular, the revised Letter of Instruction contains the following additional measures:
- Social gatherings limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.
- Added measures for wedding receptions and the social events tied to funerals and religious services.
- Limiting indoor capacity for bars and restaurants to 50% of their total occupancy.
- Strict adherence to face covering requirements in all public settings.
Without further intervention, WECHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai believes cases can reach levels similar to those seen at the same time last year.
“We are very worried that we are already seeing this surge of cases in advance of the holiday season and its associated social gatherings,” said Nesathurai. “Immediate action needs to be taken by all residents to address the known sources of transmission which are social gatherings, both in homes and in the community.”
The updated changes go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 10.
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