They are finally here! Vaccinations against COVID-19 were at last approved for the youngest people ages 6 months to 5 years old. Studies in children have been done showing definite protective benefits and no major adverse reactions occurring. The first step was the FDA approval after an advisory panel deliberated the week of June 13 — only 2 days — to vote unanimously to recommend authorization, stating the benefits outweigh any risks for young kids.
Over the past month, thousands of Canadians have caught and recovered from the Omicron variant of COVID-19, with Canada’s chief public health officer saying cases have likely peaked nationwide.
People who have received two doses of the vaccine, a third dose or booster shot and a previous COVID-19 infection have more protection against the virus than ever before. But does the antibody cocktail of three doses and infection-based immunity make you bulletproof against another infection?
While data on re-infections of the Omicron variant is limited, experts say most people will have a grace period during which they are unlikely to become sick with the same variant again.
But they caution that immunity wanes with time, and the potential for more variants to emerge means the population-level immunity earned during the Omicron wave won’t remain stable.
“If you’ve had Omicron, you’re probably good for a minimum of three months before you’d really have to worry about catching it again, unless the next variant is super, super different than something we’ve seen before,” said Bruce Mazer, professor of pediatrics at McGill University and associate scientific director of the COVID Immunity Task Force.
“It really depends on how the virus mutates. If the virus stays the same as the ones that we’ve been vaccinated against, or Omicron, then you’ve got good protection for a while. Unfortunately if it mutates again then we don’t know.”
Samir Sinha, director of geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network, said the strength of immune response will depend on a person’s age and overall health. The very old, very young, and immunocompromised will have weakened responses, and the degree to which a person became ill may also come into play.
“Sometimes depending on the severity of your infection, it might also translate into the immune response that you might create. If someone had a severe infection that might have been prolonged as well, they might have a much more robust immune response and potentially a higher level of immunity,” said Sinha.
“But you can’t just tell by that — there are so many different factors to determine what your level of immunity is and how long that immunity will last.”
For that reason, it’s crucial to get your booster or third dose of vaccine even if you already have some degree of infection-based immunity from a previous infection. A third dose is a supplementary dose administered to people with conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus, whereas a booster is given to the general population as a form of re-vaccination some time after their initial doses.
“Getting vaccinated is more likely to ensure you a more consistent and stronger immune response or level of immune protection against potentially getting infected in the future,” he said, adding the timing of future waves will also depend on how much of the population experiences waning immunity from their most recent vaccines.
“We started to see in the fall an uptick in the number of cases in part because that was also the time that we were starting to see that second dose immunity starting to wane.”
How protected am I against other variants?
No one knows with certainty which COVID-19 variant they are infected with, but if you got sick in the past month, there’s a high probability it was with the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Mazer said both the vaccines and previous variants look very different from Omicron, which has at least 36 changes in its spike protein — the part of the protein people are vaccinated against. He said these features are what allowed Omicron to infect people previously vaccinated, but that Omicron also has features similar enough to previous variants to afford some immune protection.
“You should have a boost of your immunity against all the current types that we’ve seen,” Mazer said.
Still, Mazer and Sinha warn, with so many people getting sick, and much of the world still unvaccinated, the risk of new variants that could overcome current levels of immunity remains.
Already, the rise of Omicron subvariant BA.2, is raising questions about the possibility of re-infection after an Omicron case, though it is not currently considered a variant of concern.
“We’re hoping that our natural and vaccine level immunity that we have achieved with Omicron will support us with whatever thing comes next,” said Sinha.
“There’s a whole lot of variables here that wouldn’t allow people to rest on their laurels and say, ‘I’m done with COVID.’ A lot more can happen until we get the whole world vaccinated.”
Toronto-based general practitioner Peter Lin said while some people may feel “superhuman” after three doses of vaccine and a previous infection, he warns against throwing caution to the wind, especially with the risk of long COVID and the possibility of passing it on to someone more vulnerable.
“If you were infected with Delta or Omicron or the original virus, assume you can still get infected with junior,” he said, referring to the Omicron subvariant BA.2.
“You have some defences, so you’re not going to get very sick, but you could pick up junior and grow it in your nose and pass it on to someone unvaccinated, like kids.”
Lin said the more people test positive for COVID-19, the likelier it is that new variants able to evade infection-based and vaccine-derived immunity will arise and spread.
“Not getting infected is how we get out of this pandemic. The way out is not to let everyone get infected.”
Health Minister Adrian Dix must come clean on why B.C. is restricting fourth COVID-19 vaccinations – The Georgia Straight
Former senior civil servant and diplomat Norman Spector shared a fascinating article with me this weekend from the Ottawa Citizen.
A family physician in the national capital, Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, hoped to conduct mass vaccinations for people who want a fourth dose of COVID-19 but don’t qualify under Ontario’s rules.
She reportedly wanted to create a large outdoor “jabalooza” clinic but health officials refused to provide her with vaccines.
Ontario restricts access to fourth shots of COVID-19 vaccines to those who are 60 years of age or older.
Next door in Quebec, people can get fourth shots if they are 18 and older.
“I am receiving lots of individual requests for help,” Kaplan-Myrth tweeted on Sunday (June 26). “I can’t give you the vaccine at this time, but hands up (and DM) if you as plaintiffs want to bring this to court as a group. Would require a litigation team.”
There’s a tremendous amount of scientific data showing that COVID-19 vaccines lessen the severity of COVID-19. They reduce the likelihood of dying or being hospitalized from the disease.
However, COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness wanes over time. This is why Kaplan-Myrth is such a strong advocate for booster shots. She believes that these boosters are particularly important when so many people are not wearing masks indoors.
Keep in mind that COVID-19 initially presents as a respiratory infection.
In some cases, however, it causes serious brain injuries and cardiovascular problems. It’s especially dangerous for the immunocompromised, who are at higher risk of suffering severe COVID-19.
That’s because the virus that causes COVID-19 not only damages blood vessels and triggers blood clots, but also disrupts the immune system. Researchers have even linked immune dysfunction to serious brain injuries, which is explained in the video below.
B.C. doesn’t want most under-70s to get fourth shots
In the face of all of this, B.C. continues adopting a hard line on the distribution of fourth vaccine doses.
This is the case even after Global News B.C. reporter Richard Zussman revealed that 226,000 doses intended for the vaccine-hesitant will expire at the end of July.
In B.C., you have to be 70 years of age or older and have gone six months since a previous COVID-19 vaccination to qualify for a fourth dose.
There are exceptions: Indigenous people, for example, can get a fourth dose if they’re 55 or older.
Below, you can read other exceptions listed by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control for those between the ages of 60 and 69.
However, when the Georgia Straight asked the Ministry of Health about who qualified for a fourth COVID-19 vaccination, it did not include what’s written after the letter “d”: “Caregiver of a frail elderly or moderately to severely immunosuppressed person”.
So it remains unclear in B.C. if a person between 60 and 69 who is a caregiver for either a frail elderly person or a moderately to severely immunosuppressed person is able to receive a fourth COVID-19 vaccination.
Yet it seems pretty clear from the exemptions above that if you are a cancer survivor or have kidney disease or have heart disease or have multiple sclerosis or have had a transplant and you’re under 70 in B.C., you will not qualify for a fourth COVID-19 vaccination under existing rules.
Why is B.C. being more restrictive with COVID-19 booster shots than Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan (where you only need to be 50-plus), as well as the entire United States?
Health Minister Adrian Dix needs to come clean on that.
What possible justification is there for withholding a fourth COVID-19 shot for British Columbians under 70, especially the immune-compromised, when 226,000 vaccine doses are set to expire next month?
Why is Dix so convinced that he knows better than the governments of Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan?
We don’t know the answer.
That’s in part because our pusillanimous B.C. Liberal MLAs refuse to hold the provincial NDP government accountable for its COVID-19 policies.
Some on social media are speculating that the booster shots are being withheld as part of a population-level experiment—conducted without the people’s consent—on the efficacy of delaying second booster shots.
Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, through their actions, are giving oxygen to this hypothesis.
Who knows? There might even be a scientific justification for withholding booster shots.
But in the absence of evidence provided by the B.C. government, the health minister must get in front of a microphone on Monday (June 27) and provide a coherent explanation.
Failure to do so will only fuel more suspicion about the motives behind the government’s policy.
Perhaps it’s worth noting that in January 2021, Science published a study involving 188 people, which offered a glimmer of hope.
It showed that more than 95 percent of those who had recovered from COVID-19 had immune systems demonstrating “durable” memories of the virus, lasting up to eight months.
This prompted speculation on the National Institutes of Health website that the immune systems of those who are vaccinated would have lasting memories of the virus.
But a study of 188 people is insufficient as the basis for an entire provincewide policy.
Some might wonder if the government isn’t making fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines available to those under 70 because of the cost of distribution or due to the labour shortage in the health-care sector.
Others might suspect it’s because the B.C. government thinks everyone is going to get COVID-19 anyway, so why bother?
If that’s the real reason, it’s a monumental disservice to those with compromised immunity. This should demand a response from Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender that goes well beyond writing a letter to Henry. Like by holding a public inquiry under section 47.15 of the B.C. Human Rights Code.
In the meantime, show us the evidence, Minister Dix, for why so many British Columbians are being denied a fourth COVID-19 vaccination.
And if you’re unwilling to do that, then please step aside so another health minister can do this in your place.
Frank Bures: COVID shots for tots | Column | winonadailynews.com – Winona Daily News
The CDC signed off on the vaccines June 18 with another unanimous vote. The two vaccines consist of the Pfizer mRNA version in adults, but a much-reduced dose of 3 micrograms instead of 30 micrograms, given in three doses to induce a high level of antibodies equivalent to young adults. The first two doses are spaced three weeks apart, and the third at least two months later. The study found only 10 COVID cases in the three-dose group and seven in the placebo group for an efficacy of 80%. The study included only a small number of patients. Most of the infectious disease and pediatrician experts cautioned not to lose sight of the fact that the vaccines were saving children’s lives.
People are also reading…
The Moderna mRNA vaccine is the same as the adult one but only a quarter of the dose at 25 micrograms in a two-dose series given four weeks apart. Both this and the Pfizer vaccine achieved the same levels of immunity that have protected young adults against severe disease. None of the developed COVID vaccines have achieved the ideal of elimination of the infection. But they have saved many lives.
In children, the risk from COVID is very real, even though hospitalization and deaths are lower than in adults. In children ages 1-4, COVID is the fifth leading cause of death. One source that looked at the period from January 2020 through May 2022 said 202 kids in this age group died from COVID. Another source quoted 480 kids dead from COVID. That’s more deaths per year than hepatitis, meningitis, rotavirus, and other common infectious diseases each caused before routine vaccinations for them were recommended. And the risk wasn’t limited to any particular group. More than half of the youngsters hospitalized due to COVID had no underlying conditions.
These vaccines have proven to be some of the safest of any for adults. In the preliminary studies in this age group the adverse reactions/side effects were mostly mild and short lived, much like those in adults, and similar to those from other vaccines. The main one was pain and redness or tenderness at the injection site. There might be some irritability, fatigue, or sleepiness, loss of appetite, headache, abdominal pain or discomfort, mild diarrhea, vomiting. But everyone got better quickly! Fevers were uncommon and mild in the participants. Those can be treated with acetaminophen.
A pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital, Denver, Colo., said it’s important to keep in mind that COVID-19 is now one of the vaccine-preventable diseases with the highest mortality rate. Hospitalization rates for children with COVID were five times higher during the recent wave than the worst previous points of the pandemic. Katherine Poehling, director of pediatric population health at Wake forest School of Medicine, said, “I am struck by these numbers. I’m also concerned there’s a real underappreciation of the potential severity.” FDA commissioner Robert Califf said, “Any death of a child is tragic, and should be prevented if possible.”
It’s a guarantee that, if a respiratory germ gets into a home, it gets into everyone living there. It may not take hold in each individual to create what we call disease for a host of reasons, but the microbe made the rounds, positive test or not. That includes every kid kissing you or sharing food with you.
The COVID variants currently crawling down our craws are killing fewer Americans daily than during any other period except the summer of 2021. But the country is now recording 10 times as many cases as it was at that time, indicating that a smaller number of cases are causing deaths. But COVID is still killing an average of 314 people a day. These darling little Petri (not “peach tree”) dishes we parents and grandparents love to hug and kiss can be vectors of so many viruses. The vaccines are a tool to help prevent that spread and contagion. It’s an incomplete tool, but it’s part of a larger effort to stop infections, along with hand washing, etc.
Maybe you could liken it to a fork among our eating utensils. We could eat most everything on the plate with that fork, but a knife and spoon sure help us to divide and down the delectables we can’t spear. The vaccines are essentially safe and a valuable tool. One preventable child’s death is one too many. Get your tot shot!
Dr. Bures, a semi-retired dermatologist, since 1978 has worked Winona, La Crosse, Viroqua and Red Wing. He also plays clarinet in the Winona Municipal Band and a couple dixieland groups. And he does enjoy a good pun.
#lee-rev-content margin:0 -5px;
border-left: 8px solid var(–lee-blox-link-color);
font-family: “serif-ds”,Times,”Times New Roman”,serif!important;
@media (max-width: 991px)
padding: 15px 0 20px;
border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8);
border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2);
font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, “Segoe UI”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, “Apple Color Emoji”, “Segoe UI Emoji”, “Segoe UI Symbol”;
margin: 15px 0 5px 0;
font-family: “serif-ds”, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif;
padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px;
#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .disclaimer a
border-bottom: 3px solid #222;
padding: 0 10px 5px 10px;
@media (max-width: 991px)
padding: 10px 0 5px 0;
Moderna COVID-19 shots now an option for older kids in U.S. – CGTN
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children six months through five years old is seen, June 21, 2022. /AP
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children six months through five years old is seen, June 21, 2022. /AP
There is now a second COVID-19 option for kids aged six to 17 in the U.S.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday announced it is recommending Moderna shots as an option for school-age kids and teens. This group has been able to get shots made by Pfizer since last year.
CDC sets the federal government’s vaccine guidance for U.S. doctors and their patients.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots – full-strength doses for children ages 12 to 17 and half-strength for those six to 11. The doses are to be given about a month apart. An expert advisory panel this week voted unanimously to recommend that CDC endorse the Moderna shots, too.
Moderna officials have said they expect to later offer a booster to all kids aged six to 17.
Key Indicator Shows China’s Economy Set For Further Slump – Forbes
vivo iQOO 10 series to be the first with a Dimensity 9000+ smartphone – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com
Apple's entry-level MacBook Pro M2 has slower SSD speeds than its M1 counterpart – The Verge
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Global Media Markets, 2015-2020, 2020-2025F, 2030F – TV and Radio Broadcasting, Film and Music, Information Services, Web Content, Search Portals And Social Media, Print Media, & Cable – GlobeNewswire
News24 hours ago
Ahead of planned Canada Day protests, federal minister says he hopes lessons have been learned – CBC News
Science21 hours ago
Esteemed Australian Kit Home Expert Informs On Using Eco-Friendly Materials – Digital Journal
Health23 hours ago
People with COVID-19 can infect and sicken cats and dogs by cuddling them: study – CTV News
Art23 hours ago
Tycoon Dimitris Daskalopoulos gives away huge haul of modern art – The Guardian
Economy13 hours ago
India's Economy Shows Spark on Pent-Up Demand After Reopenings – BNN
Media24 hours ago
Toronto politician accused of homophobic social media posts resigns from city council – blogTO
Science20 hours ago
See the moon shine near Mercury before dawn on Monday as it concludes its planet tour – Space.com
Sports10 hours ago
Lightning’s Brayden Point remains out of lineup for Game 6 – Sportsnet.ca