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The new Covid-19 booster shot: what you need to know – The Guardian



A retooled single-dose Covid “booster” shot is expected to hit pharmacy shelves just as cold and flu season is ramping up. This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized new shots for emergency use, and a panel of experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended nearly everyone in the US get one.

But just how soon should people in the US head to their local pharmacies for the new vaccine? And, after so many people have already been vaccinated or sickened by Covid, how urgent is it to get another dose? Below, we fill in details of the agencies’ latest recommendations.

What exactly did the FDA authorize?

The FDA authorized updated versions of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. As Covid continues to circulate, the virus mutates, a lot like the influenza virus. For that reason, pharmaceutical companies have developed a booster to target one of the most widely circulating strains of Covid-19 this season, the XBB. 1.5 variant.


This fall is the first time adults will be able to get the flu, respiratory syncytial (RSV) and Covid-19 shots, all of which protect against commonly circulating respiratory illnesses. This year’s Covid booster is targeted to the XBB. 1.5 variant.

Who should get the new booster shot?

When the FDA authorizes a new vaccine, the CDC makes recommendations on who should get them and when. In short, the agency recommended this booster for everyone older than six months – with a couple of caveats.

Anyone who recently had Covid-19 can wait three months to get the updated booster, and anyone who was recently boosted should wait two months before getting the new shot. The agency’s expert panel placed special emphasis on some groups getting the new shot.

“The most important are those at greatest risk for severe illness,” said Dr Peter Hotez, a vaccinologist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

The people at highest risk are those older than 65; with health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic lung or heart disease; and those who may be immune-compromised, such as those on immune suppressant medication and people who are pregnant.

If I am already vaccinated or had Covid, why should I get another shot?

Even though most people in the US will have some immunity to Covid-19 through prior infection or vaccination, the likelihood of catching Covid again increases over time as new variants circulate and immunity from prior vaccines wanes.

The agencies hope that providing updated vaccines will help prevent serious illness, the sort that might lead someone to go to the hospital or even lead to death. In addition, data shows getting a Covid-19 vaccine can help reduce the chance of getting so-called long Covid, in which symptoms of fatigue and fog can drag on for months. As a result, the agencies have recommended broad swaths of the American public get the shots.

“I’ll be first in line,” to get the updated shot, said Hotez, who supports the CDC’s broad recommendation. “Even though the amount of hospitalizations will not come anywhere close” to the waves of 2021 and 2022. “In terms of making an individual health choice, I think there’s still vulnerability there.”

How long does immunity from the new shot last?

Peak protection should come a couple weeks after the dose, and last a few months. After that time, immunity declines, either because of new circulating variants or because of waning vaccine efficacy (according to materials from this week’s meetings, it’s difficult for experts to parse the exact answers in the available data).

Do all experts agree with the CDC’s recommendation?

Although a panel of CDC experts voted in favor of the new recommendations, not all experts agree on the strategy. Dr Paul Offit, a virology and immunology expert at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the FDA’s expert panel on vaccines, argues the government should focus on the nation’s most vulnerable groups.

In 2022, just 43% of people older than 65 – a group at high risk of hospitalization from the disease – got a booster dose. That group in particular should be the focus of a booster campaign, he said.

“My feeling on this, and it’s a feeling that is shared by health advisers in many other countries, is the goal of this vaccine is to prevent serious illness,” said Offit. “Then, the question becomes who is most likely to suffer serious illness? Who is at greatest risk?”

The people at highest risk are those older than 75, with underlying health conditions (such as those mentioned above) and the immune-compromised, according to CDC data. With narrow exceptions, such as nursing home workers and those living with the immune-compromised, the “best strategy is to target those of greatest risk”, said Offit.

Will I have to pay for the new vaccine?

Probably not. Health insurance will cover the cost of the booster dose for most Americans. For those who do not have health insurance – about 27 million Americans, according to the CDC – the federal Bridge Access Program will cover the cost of shots through 2024. For those who pay cash, Pfizer and Moderna have set the list price of their vaccines at $120 and $129 respectively.

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The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life




Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.

That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.

What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?

Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.

Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.


Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations

As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.

Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:

  1. Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
  2. Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
  3. Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.

Determining a Fair Payment Plan

Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.

Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.

Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers

When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:

  • Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
  • Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
  • Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
  • Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.


Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.

Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.

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Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home



THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.

The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.

No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.

Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.




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Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister



Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.

Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.

“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”


Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.

“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.

LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.

“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.

The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.

LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.

On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.

“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.

LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.

“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.

She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.

Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.

LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.

“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.

–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News



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