“Kids have a really great immune system and so respond well to vaccines,” explained Dr. Kawsar Talaat, an investigator on Pfizer’s vaccine trials, in a recent interview with the CBC.

Speaking to Quirks and Quarks host Bob McDonald, Talaat, an infectious-disease physician and vaccine scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that even though kids tend not to get sick from COVID-19 as frequently or seriously as adults, getting them vaccinated is still crucial.

The minister followed up with a statement noting that while 90 per cent of long-term care workers have received at least one dose, “there is variation among homes.” This “variation” means that close to half of homes have vaccination rates below that 90 per cent figure – a threshold that the health minister deemed far too low, especially for those caring for such a vulnerable population.

“We know that long-term care residents have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As new variants continue to spread, we are seeing a growing number of outbreaks in long-term care homes where the risk to those most vulnerable remains high,” said Phillips, explaining why the province was reversing a previous order that allowed unvaccinated workers and volunteers to submit a test to show that they weren’t carrying the virus.

Long-term care workers have until Nov. 15 to comply with the new order. Those who refuse to get their shots will not be allowed to enter any LTC facility. While the measure doesn’t currently apply to family members or friends visiting loved ones in nursing homes, the health minister didn’t rule out the possibility that, down the road, this too could change.

“It exceeded what I thought the drug might be able to do in this clinical trial,” said Dr. Dean Li, vice-president of Merck research. “When you see a 50 per cent reduction in hospitalization or death that’s a substantial clinical impact.”

The study tracked 775 adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who were considered higher risk for severe disease due to conditions such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease. Among patients taking molnupiravir, 7.3 per cent were either hospitalized or died at the end of 30 days, compared with 14.1 per cent of those getting the placebo.

Only limited information on side effects was made public in the press release, but the companies said rates were similar between both groups. An adverse event occurred in 35 per cent of those who received molnupiravir and 40 per cent of those who received placebo. Only 1.3 per cent from the molnupiravir group discontinued the drug because of an adverse event, compared to 3.4 per cent who discontinued placebo.

Premier Kelvin Goertzen and David Monias, vice-chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, held a joint press conference Friday to announce that the government will spend $2.8 million to increase the reach of urban vaccination clinics in urban neighbourhoods with low vaccination rates, estimated to be at least 10 per cent lower than other areas.

“A few months ago I said that COVID does not discriminate. I’m here to tell you, I learned a lot from society, it does discriminate,” Monias said. “It discriminates against the weak, against the people who have compromised body immune systems, it discriminates against people who are not vaccinated.”

Premier Goertzen said that the bulk of the money will go toward supporting Indigenous-run clinics in Winnipeg. “This will help ensure another COVID-19 immunization option is available to people who might otherwise face barriers in being immunized at other locations,” he said.

As such, the committee has recommended that seniors living in such settings get another shot of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine — Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna — six months after their last shot. A booster dose of a viral vector vaccine, like Oxford-AstraZeneca, is only recommended when Pfizer or Moderna are unavailable or the person can’t have an mRNA vaccine for medical reasons.

“He is a man that understands the value of freedom better than most people on this earth. He felt that he must ensure his safety and health so he can heal & enjoy his life,” Maseh said on Twitter.

After two doctors in Alberta — one who was the chief medical officer of health for the province from 2012 to 2015 — called for a province-wide “fire break” lockdown on Sunday, Premier Jason Kenney said no to such a measure.

In a radio interview later the same day, Kenney said a “hard lockdown” would make “no sense for the 80 per cent of the population that is vaccinated,” and who he said are much less likely to transmit COVID-19 and are far less likely to be hospitalized. The premier said the roughly 20 per cent of Albertans who remain unvaccinated are the reason for the fourth-wave surge in cases, adding that they are also less likely to follow restrictions recommended by public health to help curb spread.

But in a letter to the province’s Health Minister Jason Copping, Dr. Dr. Noel Gibney — a critical-care specialist and professor emeritus at the University of Alberta — and Dr. James Talbot — Alberta’s former top doc — said measures including a lockdown are needed to address the “crushing COVID-19 burden being borne by Alberta and Alberta Health Services.”

And addressing questions about whether people who have been infected still need to get get immunized, Hinshaw said, “The bottom line is that my advice for those who have had COVID-19 remains the same: it is still best for everyone to be fully vaccinated with two doses to obtain the greatest possible protection against infection.”

A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine may provide better long-term protection against virus-related hospitalizations than Pfizer’s.

The results also showed that Moderna’s vaccine scored higher marks for long-term efficiency than any of the doses approved in the U.S., including Pfizer’s. While the study showed that Pfizer’s vaccine worked well in the first 120 days, its effectiveness began to wane over time. In the first four months after receiving it, the Pfizer vaccine was  91 per cent effective in preventing hospitalizations. But after four months, its effectiveness “declined significantly” to 77 per cent.

Premier Doug Ford, who had dug in his heels on implementing a vaccine passport until relenting in August, said Tuesday that although he appreciates that some people are concerned about the program, it is needed to avoid another lockdown.

“I understand your concerns about protecting your civil liberties and right to privacy.,” Ford said in a statement. “While many fully vaccinated people share these concerns, the greater concern is having to shut down again or experience a sudden surge in cases like in Alberta or Saskatchewan.”

And, with vaccine passport programs going into effect across the country, it’s perhaps not surprising that 28 per cent of unvaccinated people indicated that pandemic-related restrictions will impact their mental health in coming months, as compared to 12 per cent of vaccinated people.

However, as the poll’s summary points out, even with the vast majority of Canadians now double vaccinated, levels of self-rated anxiety and depression have not decreased. And vaccinated Canadians still have more worry about the ongoing threat of the coronavirus — 75 per cent as compared to 38 per cent of the unvaccinated.

And, it would appear Ontario has passed the pandemic worry torch to Alberta, now with the highest proportion of people in Canada feeling high levels of anxiety, 31 per cent, which is close to levels seen in Ontario this past April, 33 per cent, whereas now 26 per cent of Ontarians report high anxiety.

As the U.S. announced Monday that it is loosening restrictions on foreign travellers, allowing in fully vaxxed visitors from any country starting in November, it extended, by another month, land border closures with Canada and Mexico.

The program applies to restaurants, nightclubs, casinos, concerts and fitness facilities, but is not mandatory. This weekend, retail stores and libraries were taken off the list of venues who will have the option of asking for proof of vaccination to exempt themselves from public health restrictions.

Residents were able to apply for proof of vaccination cards as of yesterday, but as Global News reported, health ministry spokeswoman Amanda Krumins acknowledged in an email Sunday that “a motivated individual” can edit the PDF that is currently provided, but that “work continues on a more secure QR code that will be available in the coming weeks.”

Premier Jason Kenney, who has been a strong opponent of vaccine passports, said last week that the measure was now necessary to protect the province’s hospital system. Alberta declared a health emergency last week, on Thursday postponing all non-emergency surgeries to free up space, and staff, for makeshift ICUs to treat patients with COVID-19.

This content was originally published here.