NORTH BAY —
On Nov. 19, Health Canada announced the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech two-dose COVID-19 vaccine for children between five and 11-years-old, allowing children in that age group to be vaccinated with a dosage that is one third the size that has been offered to those aged 12 and older.
To date, it is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for that age group. Health Canada says clinical trials showed that lower doses provided good protection, with no safety issues detected.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that second doses be given at least eight weeks after the first. Children who turn 12 before their second dose, meanwhile, may receive an adult dose.
As a precaution, Health Canada advises that children not receive the vaccine within 14 days of other vaccines, such the flu vaccine, in order to monitor any side effects from either the COVID-19 or another vaccine.
ELIGIBILITY AND ROLL OUT PLANS BY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY
British Columbia: Parents are able to register their child for a COVID-19 vaccine using the province’s Get Vaccinated system. As of Nov. 19, officials said more than 75,000 children had been registered. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children who are four-years-old will only be able to get vaccinated after their fifth birthday. The vaccines are free and children do not need B.C. Care Cards to receive them. First and second doses for children aged five to 11 will be offered eight weeks apart, an FAQ from ImmunizeBC says. B.C. also has made material, including a comic, available to parents for talking to their child about getting vaccinated. Consent from one parent or guardian is required.
Alberta: COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children aged five to 11 in Alberta are available as of Nov. 24 following the receipt of more than 394,000 doses. Doses will be administered at more than 120 Alberta Health Services vaccination clinics and four pharmacies across the province, with more than 390,000 Albertans aged five to 11 able to get vaccinated as early as Nov. 26, a government press release said. Although a number of walk-in vaccine clinics are available, the province says walk-in appointments are not available for children aged five to 11. Parents and guardians are encouraged to talk to their pediatrician or family physician about getting their children immunized against COVID-19. The province also has created an online game where users can take down “COVID-zilla” while learning about COVID-19 immunization.
Saskatchewan: Childhood vaccination booking for Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) clinics became available on Nov. 23. Parent or guardian consent will be required, but only one parent is needed. The Saskatchewan government says more than 112,000 doses of the children’s COVID-19 vaccine are expected in the province, enough to provide every child in the five to 11 age group with a first dose. The SHA will offer the pediatric vaccine in 141 communities. Clinics also will be offered in more than 100 schools, along with specialized clinics for children with additional needs, such as autism and those in hospital, and vaccinations from Indigenous Services Canada, Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority and participating pharmacies. Although NACI has recommended an eight-week interval between doses, the province says Saskatchewan families may choose to receive the second dose as early as 21 days after the first.
Manitoba: Manitoba has allowed parents and caregivers to book appointments online or by phone for children aged five to 11 to receive the Pfizer vaccine as of Nov. 22. Children must be five-years-old at the time the appointment is booked. Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force has said vaccines for kids aged five to 11 will be available at pharmacies, physician clinics, urban Indigenous clinics and vaccine clinics. Manitoba also is recommending individuals receive their second dose of vaccine eight weeks after the first. The province has created an interactive map, called the Vaccine Finder, showing where immunization sites in Manitoba are located.
Ontario: Ontario families were able to start booking appointments for their children as of Nov. 23. Appointments can be booked online, by phone, through local public health units, participating pharmacies and select primary care providers. Children must be turning five-years-old by the end of 2021 to be eligible and doses will be offered at least eight weeks apart. Ontario is expected to receive 1,076,000 doses of the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government. About one million children are eligible to get the shot in the province. Those with an appointment are asked to bring their booking confirmation code or email, an Ontario health card or a letter from their school, medical provider or faith leader for those without a health card, an immunization record if available, an allergy form if needed, a mask and a support person if necessary. Anyone getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, including children and youth, must provide informed consent indicating they understand what the vaccine involves, why it is recommended, and the risks and benefits of getting it or not. Parents or “substitute decision makers” for children aged five to 11 will, for the most part, need to provide consent on behalf of the child at the time of the appointment before a vaccine is given, the province says.
Quebec: Vaccine appointments for children aged five to 11 are open, with residents able to book online on the Clic-Santé website. The first vaccine appointments started Nov. 24 and vaccinations at schools are slated to begin Nov. 29. Anyone between five and 17 years of age can be vaccinated at a clinic with or without an appointment. Vaccinations for children and youth are being done in vaccination centres or at school, but not in pharmacies. Children 13-years-old and younger need consent from a parent or legal guardian in order to be vaccinated, while adolescents 14-years-old and older can give their own consent.
New Brunswick: Vaccination appointments for children aged five to 11, offered through the Vitalité and Horizon health networks, can be made online as of Nov. 23. Anyone aged five, turning five this year, or older is eligible to get the vaccine. About 54,500 children are eligible to receive it, according to the province. Under the New Brunswick Medical Consent of Minors Act, children can give consent as a mature minor to receive health care, like the vaccine. While they do not require parental consent under certain conditions, the province says it is “preferred” that parents or legal guardians consent to immunizations for minors younger than 16.
Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia announced Nov. 24 it expects vaccines for children aged five and 11 to arrive this week, with parents and guardians expected to be able to start booking appointments soon. Pharmacies and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax will be the province’s main vaccinators. Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, says they will be ready to start giving children vaccines by Dec. 2. Children will need two doses of vaccine, administered at least eight weeks apart. A child who turns 12 during that eight-week period may receive an adolescent or adult dose for their second. The province has a map available showing where vaccination clinics are located.
Prince Edward Island: Vaccinations will initially be offered at immunization clinics on dedicated dates and times. Starting in January 2022, in-school vaccinations will be offered to students in grades four, five and six. Eligible students in other grades will need to be vaccinated at a COVID-19 immunization clinic. An eight-week interval between doses is recommended. The province says, as with all immunizations, a parent or guardian must provide signed consent before their child can be vaccinated. Children who are 11-years-old can receive the adult version of their second dose if they turn 12 within the recommended eight-week interval.
Newfoundland and Labrador: The province expects to have vaccines arrive by Nov. 26, with the immunization campaign for children beginning “within days.” Appointments can be booked on the province’s Get the Shot webpage. Vaccines also are expected to be offered in schools. It is recommended that the second dose be booked at least eight weeks after the first. Children who receive a pediatric dose will receive the adult dose for their second vaccine if they turn 12-years-old during the eight-week period. Signed consent from a parent or guardian will be required.
Yukon: Yukon Premier Sandy Silver said on Wednesday that vaccines for children between the ages of five and 11 will begin in early December, with the vaccine supply expected to arrive in the territory within the coming days. Children will wait eight weeks between doses.
Northwest Territories: The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority says while the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children aged five to 11, clinics are not yet scheduled and residents are asked not to book appointments until then. The territory expects to receive its vaccine allotment before the end of November. Eligibility for the five to 11 age group will be based on age at the time of appointment and not the year the individual was born.
Nunavut: Nunavut has no readily available information on their government websites on vaccinations for children aged five to 11.
VACCINES AND CHILDREN
Although children and youth are less likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19, Health Canada says they can still spread it to others, experience long-term effects from infection or develop a rare but serious complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
Common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine include redness, soreness and swelling at the injection site, along with more general symptoms such as chills, fatigue, joint pain, headache, mild fever and muscle aches.
Myocarditis and pericarditis — inflammation of the heart muscle and lining around the heart respectively — have been reported following vaccination with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines but appear to occur more often in adolescents and young adults, males, following a second dose and, while mild, typically shortly after vaccination, Health Canada says.
A statement in October from the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health also noted that the risk of cardiac complications, including myocarditis, substantially increases following COVID-19 infection compared to after vaccination.
With files from CTVNews.ca Writer Ben Cousins
S&P/TSX composite down nearly 200 points, U.S. stock markets also lower – Business News – Castanet.net
Canada’s main stock index was down nearly 200 points in late-morning trading, led lower by losses in the technology, base metal and industrial sectors, while U.S. stock markets also fell.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 176.86 points at 20,585.17.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 160.83 points at 34,478.96. The S&P 500 index was down 48.14 points at 4,528.96, while the Nasdaq composite was down 341.27 points at 15,040.05.
The Canadian dollar traded for 78.05 cents US compared with 78.03 cents US on Thursday.
The January crude oil contract was up US$1.54 at US$68.04 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up eight cents at US$4.14 per mmBTU.
The February gold contract was up US$14.90 at US$1,777.60 an ounce and the March copper contract was down two cents at US$4.28 a pound.
Canada secures orders of Merck, Pfizer COVID-19 antiviral pills – Globalnews.ca
The federal government has signed purchase agreements with two pharmaceutical companies for their oral COVID-19 treatments.
Filomena Tassi, Canada’s minister of public services and procurement, told reporters on Friday the government has signed agreements with Pfizer and Merck to buy up to 1.5 million courses of their antiviral treatment, PF-07321332 and Molnupiravir.
Both treatments are under Health Canada review, Tassi added.
“We also know that access to effective, easy-to-use treatments is critical to reducing the severity of COVID infections and will help save lives,” she said.
“As soon as these drugs are authorized for use, the government will work on getting them to provinces and territories as quickly as possible so that health-care providers can help Canadians who need them most.”
As part of its initial order, the government has reached an agreement with Pfizer for one million courses of its treatment, pending Health Canada approval.
The government’s deal with Merck is for up to 500,000 courses of its treatment, with an option to add 500,000 more pending approval, Tassi added.
Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19
On Wednesday, Pfizer started a rolling submission with Health Canada for its pill, which it said is designed to block a key enzyme needed for the COVID-19 virus to multiply.
Pfizer also said its treatment can cut the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease by 89 per cent.
Meanwhile, Merck’s pill is still under review by Health Canada as the company continues its rolling submission.
Last week, Merck shared data suggesting its drug was significantly less effective than previously thought, reducing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk individuals by around 30 per cent.
The treatment has received approval in the United Kingdom.
— with files from The Canadian Press and Reuters
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canada added 154,000 jobs last month, pushing jobless rate down to pandemic low of 6% – CBC.ca
Canada’s economy added 154,000 new jobs last month, surging past expectations and enough to move the jobless rate down to just six per cent.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that the jobless rate fell by 0.7 percentage points, to six per cent. That’s the lowest jobless rate since the pandemic began.
Prior to COVID-19, in February 2020, Canada had a jobless rate of 5.7 per cent. It topped out at 13.7 per cent in May of that year, before sliding steadily lower.
The data agency calculates that more than 19.3 million people in Canada had a job last month. That’s 183,000 more than had one pre-pandemic.
Wages up, too
There was good news on the wage front, too, as the data agency calculates that wages during November 2021 were 7.7 per cent higher than they were the same month two years ago, before the pandemic. That’s an extra $2.18 an hour, on average, since the same period two years ago.
Workers on the whole are moving up the wage scale. The number of people making less than $12 an hour has fallen dramatically over the past two years, from more than a quarter of a million people to just 165,000 people today. There are also fewer people earning between $12 and $20 an hour, as that number has fallen from 5.1 million workers to 4.4 million now.
Those salary bands are shrinking because people are moving up the pay scale. The number of people making between $20 and $30 an hour has grown from 4.9 million to 5.2 million, and the ranks of those in the highest band have swollen to more than 6.8 million people. That’s more than a million more than there were two years ago.
While higher wages are good for workers, they’re a double-edged sword, as the cost of living is going up quickly, too. Those bigger paycheques are tempered by the fact that Statistics Canada data shows prices have increased by 5.3 per cent compared with two years ago.
Tanya Gullison, chief revenue officer with human resources consulting firm LHH, said people are heading back to the workforce in droves because they need the money to pay for the higher cost of everything.
“We’re still seeing a significant war for talent,” she said in an interview. “We’re finding that employers have to do really unexpected things to attract and retain the talent that they have.”
Gullison said companies winning that war are the ones that are able to entice the best workers by offering flexible work requirements, good benefits and other perks.
But cold, hard, cash is enticing people, too. Statistics Canada data says average wage gains are increasing at a faster rate for new hires than they are for existing workers.
“Over the next fiscal year, bonuses and other perks are also likely to trickle over as a means of drawing new talent and retaining existing staff,” Gullison said.
Jason Murray, president of recruiting firm BIPOC Executive Search, says while companies are more optimistic about the recovery, they’re also worried “about whether or not they’ll be able to compete in a market that is looking for talent all at the same time,” he said in an interview.
Companies are coming up with whatever they can — flexible hours, more vacation time, bonuses — to get the right worker for their needs, he says. “There’s all sorts of interesting and creative ways that employers are trying to incentivize people choosing them.”
Long-term unemployment ebbing
In the depths of the pandemic, policy-makers had warned about a growing cohort of “long-term unemployed” people, which Statistics Canada defines as people who lost a job and didn’t find a new one for at least 27 weeks.
There were about 185,000 Canadians in that category before the pandemic, or about 15 per cent of everyone without a job.
That number skyrocketed to 510,000 people by April of this year, or almost a third of those who were jobless.
The figure has inched steadily lower since then, but in November it had its biggest drop since the pandemic started, plunging by 62,000 people to 305,000 people.
A new start for many
Erika Albert is one of the many Canadians who managed to find a job last month after an extended stretch on the sidelines.
She lost her finance job in December 2020 and took an extended break “to reassess what I wanted to do at this stage of my career.”
After spending much of the year trying to find the perfect position, Albert says she finally found it this month, when she was hired as an office manager at a Guelph, Ont., engineering firm specializing in renewable energy.
“I learned so many things in my career up until this point, [and] I really enjoy doing something that actually included a bit of everything that I learned,” she said in an interview.
“I’m well rested now and gung-ho to be a part of the team and work toward making the world a better place.”
Albert isn’t the only one feeling that optimism.
Tu Nguyen, an economist with consulting firm RSM Canada, says despite the ongoing pandemic, there’s a groundswell of demand for labour and a new sense among workers that they can be a bit more choosy than they might otherwise have been.
“The rising tide of economic recovery is finally lifting everyone up across demographic groups, across industries, across sizes of businesses and across provinces,” she said in an interview. “It is going to be a very competitive couple months ahead.”
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