COVID-19: Voluntary booster shots for select groups begin Saturday; Ontario reports 378 new cases; 22 new cases in Ottawa; The United States begins child vaccinations

Extended eligibility for a booster is only given to those who have had at least six months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose.

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About 2.75 million ontarians will be eligible to book COVID-19 booster doses from Saturday, a group that includes people 70 and older, health professionals and key caregivers, recipients of two doses of AstraZeneca and indigenous peoples and their household members.

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The general population will have to wait until the new year for a booster shot, as the province prioritizes access for vulnerable groups, awaits further expert guidance on boosters and prepares a full-tilt effort to start vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 once . The Pfizer vaccine is approved for this currently unprotected population.

Announcing the groups that recently qualified for boosters on Wednesday, the province stressed that a two-dose COVID vaccine line continues to offer plenty of protection against COVID infection and serious outcomes in the general population. They are voluntary, not mandatory, and there are currently no plans to make third doses part of the provincial vaccine passport requirements.

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Extended eligibility for a booster is only given to those who have had at least six months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose.

While some gradual fading of immunity has been seen in some populations, “in the general population we do not see it at present, and therefore I think we have time to reflect on the best science and the best timelines that we then provides third-dose at the population level, ”said Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore on Wednesday.

The newly eligible groups were selected based on factors including increased risk of gradually declining immunity – many were among those vaccinated early in the official rollout and had a shorter interval between first and second doses (NACI now says that eight weeks between them is optimal). Risk of exposure and risk of serious illness were also considerations.

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When boosters are made available to the rest of Ontario’s population, the expansion will be based on age and risk, according to the province, with an interval of six to eight months between second and third doses.

At present, 65 percent of the more than 250,000 people currently eligible to receive a third dose have done so.

Either mRNA COVID vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) can be used as a booster, Moore said, regardless of which vaccine was used for the first two shots.

Eligible persons can start booking vaccination appointments at 8 on Saturdays via the provincial web portal or call center and at selected pharmacies. Hospital-based health workers were encouraged to contact their employers to be vaccinated through the hospital. Do not call your primary providers with appointment requests, the province said.

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Ontario on Wednesday reported 378 new COVID-19 cases with 236 cases in people who are not fully vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown, and 142 in fully vaccinated people.

The seven-day average for new cases now stands at 379, up slightly from 366 a week ago and down from 574 at this point last month.

Those in the hospital who tested positive for COVID-19 counted 237, while the number of people in the intensive care unit due to COVID-19 and still tested positive was 114. One week ago, these totals were 215 and 105, respectively.

The province reported that 25 of the ICU patients are from Sasksatchewan.

Five more COVID-19 deaths were reported in Ontario within the previous 24 hours.

In terms of active cases, the top five most affected public health units in Ontario as of Tuesday were Sudbury & District (84.9 cases per 100,000 people), Chatham-Kent (44.2), Algoma (41.1), Haldimand- Norfolk (40.3), and Brant County (40).

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In health care regions near the capital, the number of cases increased by 14 in Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington, three in Hastings Prince Edward, two in Renfrew County and District and Eastern Ontario, and one in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark.

Latest COVID-19 news in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health reported 22 new cases on Wednesday, for a total of 30,925 since the pandemic began

A new death was reported, bringing the total to 604.

OPH is aware of 186 active cases of the virus.

There are 10 people in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms while one patient is in the intensive care unit.

There have been three new outbreaks in schools and childcare centers, bringing the number of outbreaks to 13.

There are three ongoing outbreaks in the healthcare sector, including two on the Ottawa Hospital Civic campus. There are no active outbreaks in community environments.

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In statistics of interest, the seven-day rolling average of cases is 16.6, while percent positivity in testing is 1.4 percent. The reproduction rate remains at 0.99, indicating that the vaccine spread is declining.

Vaccination news

The United States began vaccinating children ages five to 11 against COVID-19 on Wednesday, with about 28 million school-age children now eligible for the shots.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Pfizer Inc / BioNTech SE for wide-ranging use in that age group after a panel of external advisors voted in favor.

While about 58 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, children under 12 have not yet been eligible for shots.

The vaccine, which has been shown to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infection in children, allows for fewer quarantines or school closures and more freedoms.

“I think it will make the issue of schools much easier, much safer,” said White House Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anthony Fauci, in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

Canadian officials have estimated that vaccination of young children will not begin until mid-November.

Health Canada tweeted on Wednesday that it had posted that it would take months to review a submission from Pfizer BioNTech to allow the use of their Comirnaty CovidVaccine for children ages 5-11.

“It was wrong. The review will take weeks, not months.”

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Latest COVID-19 news from Quebec

Quebec reported 525 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The rolling seven-day average rose for the eighth day in a row. It is now 523, the highest since October 20th.

In addition, eight new deaths were reported.

There was a net decrease in admissions of a total of 248. There are 70 patients in the intensive care unit, a net decrease of one.

The province administered 11,058 vaccine doses during the previous 24 hours.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Quebec has reported 427,472 cases and 11,510 COVID-19 deaths.

-With files from news services

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