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What you need to know about Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids – The Globe and Mail



The federal government is set to announce Friday that Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11.LM Otero/The Associated Press

Health Canada is expected to announce on Friday that it has approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12, setting in motion a new national vaccination campaign that will help protect kids from the virus and could reduce overall transmission rates in Canada.

For many, the news comes as a long-awaited relief. For nearly two years, the pandemic has upended children’s lives with school closings, cancelled social gatherings and countless other disruptions. Here’s what parents need to know about the vaccine and how it will be rolled out.

The basics

The vaccine, produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, is the same mRNA formulation as the one given to those 12 and older, but the dosage has been reduced to 10 micrograms, one-third the amount in the original version. Children tend to have robust immune responses, so reducing the dosage ensures kids will have high levels of protection while minimizing the risk of side effects.

Nearly three million doses of the vaccine, or one for every child aged 5 to 11 in Canada, are expected to arrive imminently. Manitoba Health Minister Audrey Gordon said this week that the province expects to have vaccines available for children as soon as a week after Health Canada gives the go-ahead.

Once the vaccine is approved, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization will issue recommendations to provinces on administering the shots, including guidance on how much time to leave between the first and second doses. In its application to Health Canada, Pfizer/BioNTech requested a three-week interval. But it’s likely that NACI will recommend an eight-week interval, the same time period it recommends for the adult version of the vaccine. Studies have shown that extending the interval to eight weeks helps ensure a strong and lasting immune response.

It’s unclear if children will need boosters, but it’s likely they will be recommended at some point. Studies show that immunity tends to wane after the second dose.

What do we know about the efficacy of the vaccine?

Pfizer/BioNTech’s study of its COVID-19 vaccine’s effects on kids aged 5 to 11 was published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this month.

Researchers gave the 10 microgram version of the vaccine to 1,517 children, while 751 children received a placebo. The children received second doses three weeks after the first.

At the end of the study, three children who received the vaccine became infected with COVID-19 seven days or more after their second doses, compared with 16 kids in the placebo group. That means the vaccine efficacy rate is about 91 per cent, similar to the strong protection seen in older age groups.

What are the side effects?

Injection site pain was the most common side effect reported in children during the study, followed by fatigue and headache. Side effects were generally mild, and they usually lasted one to two days, according to the study’s authors.

There were three serious adverse events reported in two children who participated in the study, but the authors say none of the harm was actually caused by the vaccine. One child who received a placebo suffered abdominal pain and pancreatitis after an unrelated injury, and a child who received the vaccine suffered an unrelated arm fracture.

What about the risk of heart inflammation?

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have been tied to rare cases of heart inflammation – myocarditis and pericarditis. The group that appears to be most at risk is young men who have just received second doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The trial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in kids aged 5 to 11 didn’t find any cases of heart inflammation. But it’s possible that some young people will experience it after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, which is why officials will be monitoring the situation closely.

The majority of cases of heart inflammation tied to vaccines are mild and resolve with medication.

Experts have highlighted the fact that the health risks associated with actually becoming sick with COVID-19 are much greater than any risks associated with vaccines. The virus itself can cause heart inflammation.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, as of Nov. 5 nearly 59 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the country. There had been 5,899 reports of serious adverse reactions. Those serious side effects included anaphylaxis and heart inflammation.

How and where can my child get vaccinated?

The federal government is in charge of approving vaccines and procuring them. Provinces and local health authorities are responsible for determining where the vaccines will be given and the logistics of how to run clinics.

Health experts say the mass immunization clinics seen earlier in the pandemic likely aren’t the best fit for kids, who may be more sensitive to the sights and sounds of others being vaccinated around them.

Manitoba said this week that it will be giving the vaccine to kids in multiple settings, including schools, doctor’s offices, urban Indigenous clinics and pharmacies. The province hopes to make walk-in appointments available.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Thursday that the province’s booking system will be ready to take appointments for kids 5 to 11 next week. In many parts of the province, it’s unclear where vaccine clinics will take place, but Toronto Public Health has said it will use a combination of mobile school clinics, pharmacies and other health clinics to help vaccinate kids.

Explainer: Where do I go to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment? The latest rules by province

Is it safe to combine the COVID-19 vaccine with other immunizations?

Research shows that it’s safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as a flu shot, which means parents can have their children immunized against both infectious diseases at the same time. Experts say it’s particularly important to get as many people as possible immunized against the flu this year, because the ailment is poised to make a big comeback as more people gather indoors.

Will vaccines be mandatory for school attendance?

No province has said it will require children to be vaccinated in order to attend school. However, many universities and workplaces have introduced vaccine mandates in order to control virus spread. Some health experts believe that school vaccine requirements are inevitable.

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Tentative deal between union workers and beef producer Cargill struck | CTV News – CTV News Calgary



With less than a week to go before workers were set to go on strike at Cargill’s High River, Alta. beef processing plant, the company says a tentative deal has been reached.

The company announced the development on Wednesday and says it is “encouraged by the outcome” of recent talks.

“After a long day of collaborative discussion, we reached an agreement on an offer that the bargaining committee will recommend to its members. The offer is comprehensive and fair and includes retroactive pay, signing bonuses, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract and improved health benefits,” Cargill wrote in a statement to CTV News via email.

The company adds it also “remains optimistic” a deal can be finalized before the strike deadline.

“(We) encourage employees to vote on this offer which recognizes the important role they play in Cargill’s work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. While we navigate this negotiation, we continue to focus on fulfilling food manufacturer, retail and food service customer orders while keeping markets moving for farmers and ranchers,” it wrote.

The United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union (UFCW) Local 401 was expected to go on strike on Dec. 6.

It rejected the most recent attempt at a deal on Nov. 25 by a 98 per cent margin.


According to a statement from UFCW Local 401, the negotiating team engaged in “a marathon day” of talks with the company on Tuesday.

“Late in the evening, our bargaining committee concluded that they were in receipt of a fair offer and that they were prepared to present that offer to their coworkers with a recommendation of acceptance,” it wrote in a statement.

The union says the tentative deal will “significantly improve” the lives of Cargill workers and will be the ‘best food processing contract in Canada.”

Highlights from the deal include:

  • $4,200 in retroactive pay for many employees;
  • $1,000 signing bonus;
  • $1,000 COVID-19 bonus;
  • More than $6,000 total bonuses for workers three weeks before Christmas;
  • $5 wage increase for many employees;
  • Improved health benefits; and
  • Provisions to facilitate a new culture of health, safety, dignity and respect in the workplace

While UFCW Local 401 president Thomas Hesse calls the deal “fair,” he will support workers on the picket line if they decide to reject the proposal.

“If they do accept it, I’ll work with them every day to make Cargill a better workplace,” Hesse said in a statement. “I will do as our members ask me to do.

“I respect all of the emotions that they feel and the suffering that they have experienced.”

Employees are expected the vote on the new deal between Dec. 2 and 4.

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Afterpay delays vote on $29 billion buyout as Square awaits Spain’s nod



Afterpay Ltd will delay a shareholder meet to approve Square Inc’s $29-billion buyout of the Australian buy now, pay later leader, as the Jack Dorsey-led payment company awaits regulatory nod in Spain.

The investor meet was set for Dec. 6, but Afterpay said it would likely take place next year as Square, which has rebranded itself to Block Inc, is likely to get an approval from the Bank of Spain only in mid-January.

The delay is unlikely to impact the completion of Australia‘s biggest deal, which is set for the first quarter of 2022, Afterpay said.

“We continue to believe the risks of the transaction closing are minimal,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Chami Ratnapala said in a brief client note.

Meanwhile, Twitter Inc co-founder Dorsey is expected to focus on Square after stepping down as chief executive of the social media platform as it looks to expand beyond its payment business and into new technologies like blockchain.

Afterpay shares fell more than 6%, far underperforming the broader Australian market, tracking Square’s 6.6% drop overnight in U.S. market on worries over the Omicron variant.


(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian, Sameer Manekar and Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur)

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Canada Goose under fresh fire in China over no-return policies



China’s top consumer protection organisation has warned Canada Goose Holdings Inc against “bullying” customers in China with its return policies, just three months after the winterwear brand was fined for false advertising.

The premium down jacket manufacturer has been a hot topic on Chinese social media in recent days over its handling of a case involving a customer who wanted a refund of her purchases amounting to 11,400 yuan ($1,790.17) after finding quality issues.

She said she was told by Canada Goose that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were strictly non-refundable, according to her account which went viral online.

State-backed media such as the Global Times newspaper later cited Canada Goose as denying that it had a no-refund policy and that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were refundable in line with Chinese laws. The company did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

That has not failed to quell criticism of the brand.

“No brand has any privileges in front of consumers,” the government-backed China Consumer Association (CCA) said in an opinion piece posted on its website on Thursday morning.

“If you don’t do what you say, regard yourself as a big brand, behave arrogantly and in a superior way, adopt discriminatory policies, be condescending and bully customers, you will for sure lose the trust of consumers and be abandoned by the market,” the CCA said.

Representatives of the brand were summoned for talks on Wednesday by the Shanghai Consumer Council to explain its refund policy in China.

The dressing down of Canada Goose comes as tension between China and Western countries has fuelled patriotism and driven some shoppers to turn to home-grown labels.

Canada Goose was also fined 450,000 yuan in September in China for “misleading” consumers in its ads.

($1 = 6.3681 Chinese yuan renminbi)


(Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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