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Planning already underway to vaccinate children in Ottawa as officials wait Health Canada approval – Ottawa Citizen

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Anticipation is growing for COVID-19 vaccinations to be approved for children between five and 11 — something that could happen in Canada within weeks.

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Toronto Public Health raised expectations this week when it said it was getting ready to vaccinate kids between five and 11 in that city as soon as Nov. 1.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu suggested that timeline might not be far off, saying Pfizer was expected to submit its data about the vaccine to Health Canada in early October. “As soon as we receive the data from the company, the regulators are well-situated to rapidly review that data,” Hajdu told CTV’s Power Play on Tuesday.

Ottawa Public Health is also preparing for the rollout of vaccines to the crucial demographic of elementary school-aged children so it can hit the ground running as soon as they are approved. It has not offered any possible dates for when it expects that to begin, but planning is well under way.

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Ottawa Public Health says it is working with Kids Come First, the health team that focuses exclusively on children and youth and includes more than 60 organizations, family and youth partners, nearly 1,100 physicians and thousands of individuals including children, youth and families on planning for the vaccination rollout.

Among options being considered are increasing staffing and clinic locations for public health vaccination clinics. Ottawa Public Health also says it will use “the best strategies to reach and communicate with children and their families about their options to get vaccinated.”

Estimating when approved vaccines for children 5-11 might be available in Canada remains a guessing game, though, with some suggesting it might not be until the end of the year or even later.

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Pfizer-BioNTech announced last week that it had obtained positive trial results using low-dose COVID-19 vaccines for children between five and 11. This week, the company, which produces one of two leading mRNA vaccines, submitted data about the trials to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It says its results show the vaccines are safe for children and create robust antibodies against COVID-19. The data has not yet been made public.

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  2. Parents Ariel-Ann Lyons and Neena Sidhu are trying to organize a rapid COVID-19 testing program for the kids at Hopewell Avenue Public School.

    Parents in Old Ottawa South are organizing rapid COVID-19 tests for school children

A spokesperson for Pfizer said it was “continuing our discussions with Health Canada and preparing to make our submission,” but did not confirm a timeline.

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Young children have been the missing link in the successful vaccination rollout strategy across Canada, which has some of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world. Among provinces, Ontario’s rates are high.

In Ottawa, 83 per cent of the population over 12 is fully vaccinated. Across the province, the rate is 80 per cent for people over 12. But health experts say herd immunity, which is 90 per cent or higher, will only be possible when children can be vaccinated.

In Ottawa, there are 77,000 children in the 5-11 age group. While children, generally, get less sick with COVID-19 than adults, especially older adults, some children do end up in hospital and become severely ill.

School-age children have among the most contacts in the community because of the nature of schools and daycares.

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In Ottawa, there were 18 COVID-19 outbreaks in schools as of Wednesday, including one in which 10 students and one staff member had tested positive.

Local health officials have created take-home test kits to help parents of school-age children avoid lineups and long waits for COVID-19 testing.

But there have been growing calls for rapid tests for school-age children — something the province provides free to businesses. A group of parents at Hopewell Avenue Public School in Old Ottawa South hoped to distribute rapid tests there, following parents in Toronto doing the same thing, but a Canadian Press report on Wednesday said the orders by parent groups were being cancelled and the free rapid-test program would remain for businesses only.

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Goldman Sachs moves to full ownership of China securities JV

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Goldman Sachs said on Sunday it received approval from China’s securities regulator to take full control of its mainland securities business.

The U.S. bank said it would buy the remainder of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Company Ltd (GSGH), and rename it as Goldman Sachs (China) Securities Company Ltd.

The migration of its onshore business units to GSGH from Beijing Gao Hua Securities was underway, it added.

“This marks the start of a new chapter for our China business following a successful 17-year joint venture,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement.

It becomes the second Wall Street firm to be granted approval to shift to full ownership of its securities business after JPMorgan Chase & Co moved to 100% in August https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/jpmorgan-gets-beijings-approval-first-fully-foreign-owned-brokerage-2021-08-06.

Securities businesses in China typically house investment banking, research, equities and fixed income businesses.

Unlike most of the other China JVs, Goldman had day-to-day operational control of its business even with its minority ownership.

Lucrative underwriting fees on equity and bond transactions – especially initial public offerings (IPOs) – in China’s expanding capital markets has been the driving force for Western banks to increase stakes in their mainland business.

Full ownership could allow foreign banks to expand their operations in the multi-trillion-dollar Chinese financial sector, and better integrate them with their global businesses.

Morgan Stanley currently owns 90% of its securities joint venture with partner Shanghai Chinafortune Co Ltd after increasing its stake https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/morgan-stanley-nears-full-ownership-china-ventures-with-stake-buys-2021-05-28 in May.

China’s regulators had examined Goldman Sach’s application to move to full ownership https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/goldman-sachs-signs-pact-wholly-own-china-joint-venture-2020-12-11 since the bank flagged its intention to buy out its partner in December.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Stephen Coates)

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From Canada? Want to go to the U.S.A.? Better have the right vaccine – Boing Boing

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The last couple of years have been hard on Canadian Snowbirds. Many of us, myself included, are used to heading south in the fall, to escape the icy bullshit of a Canadian winter. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID-19, a lot of us have been trapped, north of the wall, since March 2020. 

I’ve been fine with this. 

When the land border was closed down to everyone but essential travellers, my mindset was that if I was going to get sick, I’d just as soon do it in my own nation where healthcare is free (yeah, we pay our taxes, but still.) Then, last winter, the vaccines started to roll out. By early spring, both my wife and I had been injected with two doses of Pfizer’s version of the brew. We breathed a sigh of relief and began to hope that we might, one day soon, be able to start our travels again. I’m sure that lots of other folks did too. Unfortunately, depending on where in Canada they live, it wasn’t a sure bet that they’d wind up with two doses of the same vaccine. In the rush to get as many Canadians vaccinated against the plague as possible, many provinces started mixing and matching whichever vaccines that they had on hand.

So, you could wind up with Pfizer for your first jab and Moderna for your second. It’s cool, they told us. Mixing vaccines affords tons of protection, we were assured. Why, we’d all be able to get back to our lives in no time… provided said life doesn’t include travelling to one of many countries where vaccine mixing is considered to be a dangerous load of bullshit. You may have guessed by now, that America is one of those countries.  

From The CBC:

…at the same time the U.S. reopens the land border, it will start requiring that foreign land and air travellers entering the country be fully vaccinated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently doesn’t recognize mixed COVID-19 vaccines — such as one dose of AstraZeneca, and one dose of Pfizer or Moderna — and hasn’t yet said if travellers with two different doses will be blocked from entry when the vaccine requirement kicks in.

So that sucks. 

According to the CBC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might soon consider changing their stance on mixed vaccines. I’d like to think that a crap load of data on the effectiveness of mixed vaccine dosing will play into such a decision. No matter how badly folks might want to head south for the winter, Americans deserve to be as safe as they can be. 

In the meantime, I suspect that, just like last fall, many snowbirds will wind up on Vancouver Island, where I hang my hat, these days. It’s warm enough here that living in an RV is both possible and comfortable.

But I’ll tell ya, it’s a far cry from kicking back in the trade winds on the cusp of Texas’ southern border.

Image via Wikipedia Commons

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Travel industry, health experts applaud U.S. decision to allow travellers with mixed doses – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The organization representing Canada’s tourism industry is applauding the U.S. government’s decision to allow Canadian travellers with mixed vaccine doses once the border opens in November.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that travellers with “any combination” of two doses of vaccines approved by the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “are considered fully vaccinated.”

Beth Potter, who is president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, says the announcement is “really good news.”

“What it does is it provides a little bit more clarity, and this is something that we’ve talked about a lot. We know now that if you’ve got that mixed dose, as of November you’re going to be able to enter into the United States,” she told CTV News Channel on Saturday.

Infectious disease expert Isaac Bogoch of the University Health Network in Toronto says allowing mixed dosed travellers is “a smart and data driven approach.”

“This will be a huge relief to many Canadians who did the right thing and got vaccinated and even took those mixed and matched vaccine approaches. It’s safe, it’s effective, and now there’s a recognition of this,” Bogoch said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Saturday.

“I’m really happy to hear this. It’s about time.”

This announcement came after the White House confirmed that the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico would be open to fully vaccinated tourists by Nov. 8.

On the American side, the U.S. Travel Association also applauded the Biden Administration’s plans to reopen the border.

“Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions,” said association president and CEO Roger Dow in a statement on Friday.

“We applaud the administration for recognizing the value of international travel to our economy and our country, and for working to safely reopen our borders and reconnect America to the world.”

But while the U.S. won’t require Canadians to show proof of vaccination to cross, returning to Canada requires a negative PCR test conducted at most 72 hours before crossing the border.

PCR tests can cost upwards of $200. The Canadian government does not accept rapid antigen tests, which can be had for only $40.

Brian Higgins, a New York congressman whose district includes the border cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, wants to see Canada drop the COVID-19 PCR test requirement.

“I think that the U.S. decision to allow Canadians coming into the United States without a test again underscores the potency of the vaccine,” Higgins told The Canadian Press on Friday. “I would like to see that reciprocated by our Canadian neighbours.”

However, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that Canada will continue to require PCR tests so long as the Public Health Agency of Canada advocates for it.

“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that advice has evolved as new evidence and new data is available. We’ll continue to follow the advice in the Public Health Agency Canada​,” he said in an ​interview with CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

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