By Gordon Lambie
On Friday Health Canada announced the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11.
The recommendation from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) states that the pediatric formulation of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to children 5-11 years of age who do not have contraindications to the vaccine, with an interval of eight weeks between a first and second dose. Whereas the adult dosage used so far has been 30 micrograms, the new formulation of the vaccines is one third of that amount, or 10 micrograms.
Not long after the much-anticipated announcement Quebec’s Health Minister, Christian Dubé, reiterated the province’s intention to get a first dose to every newly eligible child by Christmas, but more details on how that will happen are not expected until later this week.
The Province of Quebec reported 2,267 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the total number of people infected since the start of the pandemic in the province to 439,071.
Eight more people died as a result of the virus in that time, bringing the total to 11,558.
The number of people hospitalized for Covid dipped slightly, going from 205 with 46 in intensive care at the time of the last update in The Record, to 199 with 41 in intensive care on Sunday.
As of Friday, Quebec’s institute of public health reported 6,128 active cases across the province, but that number is not updated on weekends.
In Friday’s update from the Eastern Townships, the number of active cases reached 777 following the addition of 198 new cases between Wednesday and the end of the week. Of that total 242 were in Sherbrooke, 143 were in Memphremagog, 112 were in Granit, 74 were in the Haut-Saint-François, 73 were in the Haute-Yamaska, 49 were in Des Sources, 45 were in La Pommeraie, 24 were in the Val Saint-François, and 15 were in the Coaticook region.
Asked about the rise in cases in the territory, Dubé said that he blames vaccination rates.
“I think it is a good example of what happens when we don’t have the same level of vaccination (in one region) as the population as a whole,” he said, noting that although the overall second-dose vaccination rate for the entire Estrie region is now at 85 per cent, some of the sub regions, or age groups within those areas, are far below that number. He offered the Granit region in particular as an example, although it is actually the Des Sources region that has the lowest rate of vaccine protection.
“Vaccination is the answer,” he repeated.
As of Thursday evening the number of schools reporting at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Townships was 56.
By Gordon Lambie