COVID-19 Brief Nov. 25 2021: Kids vaccine campaign begins, vaccines and breakthrough cases, Germany reaches 100K dead

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The outbreak by the numbers (as of 2:00 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov 25, 2021):
  • Canada: 1,776,779 cases | 24,754 active | 29,594 deceased
  • Globally: 259,819,859 cases | 5,180,137 deceased
Vaccinations by the numbers (as of 2:00 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov 25, 2021):
  • Total vaccine distribution as of November 18, 2021: 67,417,580
Map shows percentage of eligible population (5+) vaccinated with at least one dose; percentages table below are for total population.    

Eligible population (5+) in Canada: 82.77% first dose | 79.5% fully vaccinated

  • World: 7,808,877,518 doses given | 53.8% first dose | 42.3% fully vaccinated
  • Canada: 78.7% have received at least one dose  | 75.6% fully vaccinated
  • British Columbia: 80.6% at least one dose  |  77.5% fully vaccinated
  • Alberta: 75.3% at least one dose  |  70.9% fully vaccinated
  • Saskatchewan: 75% at least one dose  |  70.3% fully vaccinated
  • Manitoba: 80.8% at least one dose  |  73.6% fully vaccinated
  • Ontario: 78.1% at least one dose  | 75.6% fully vaccinated
  • Quebec: 79.8% at least one dose  |  76.8% fully vaccinated
  • New Brunswick: 82.4% at least one dose  |  77.3% fully vaccinated
  • Nova Scotia: 82.9% at least one dose  | 79.4% fully vaccinated
  • Prince Edward Island: 86.7% at least one dose  |  80.1% fully vaccinated
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 88.5% one dose  |  83.5% fully vaccinated
  • Yukon: 80.5% at least one dose  |  77.7% fully vaccinated
  • Northwest Territories: 83% at least one dose  |  79.5% fully vaccinated
  • Nunavut: 68.6% at least one dose  | 60.5% fully vaccinated
* Percentages have been readjusted to reflect new inclusion of children ages five to 11, and third doses

Here's what's been happening in Canada

Vaccines for kids. The big development this week is that COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged five to 11 finally kicked off. In Quebec, for example, parents have pre-registered 80,000 children for the first day of vaccinations alone. And Vaccine Hunters Canada, a grassroots volunteer effort that helped Canadians find available appointments, reactivated their social media accounts to provide updates on available appointments for children. Have questions and looking for advice? We try to answer some of your questions in the "How it affects you" section below.
New pandemic aid. The Liberal government introduced a new pandemic aid bill this week that would maintain some financial supports for businesses and workers until at least the spring. Bill C-2, if passed, would deliver several new targeted programs, recreated from pre-existing benefits introduced at the start of the pandemic.
Snapshot across Canada. The number of new infections this week continued to be somewhat mixed across the country, with some regions seeing clear declines and others seeing numbers tick higher. Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, are among those seeing increases, while Manitoba and Yukon have seen a choppy rise. This week, Quebec logged the highest number of new cases in a single day since mid-September. Ontario, which saw numbers jump higher over the past week as well, extended emergency orders under the Reopening Ontario Act until March.
Vaccinations, passports, and mandates. In Ontario, the head of the province's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table is not optimistic that vaccine certificate mandates will begin to go away early in the new year. There was some hope that mandates could be lifted sometime in January, depending on pandemic trends at the time. "When I look at what's happening right now and when I see what's happening in Europe, the probability that we drop them in mid-January is next to zero per cent," according to Dr. Peter Jüni, the scientific director of the advisory group.

The latest headlines...

In vaccines and COVID-19 therapeutics. Data from a new Public Health Ontario report examining breakthrough cases illustrates clearly why vaccines continue to work: There have been 17,596 breakthrough cases among the more than 11 million Ontarians who are fully vaccinated over the last year. That's 3.8 per cent of all lab-confirmed cases -- and only nine people under the age of 60 out of the 83 that required hospitalization have ended up in an intensive care unit (ICU). In comparison, 8,355 unvaccinated individuals under 60 have ended up in the hospital over the same period, with 1,722 requiring ICU care.

Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday Health Canada gave full approval to its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 years and older, making it the first full approval for the vaccine globally. The vaccine was previously authorized under an interim order. In research and data. I've heard countless stories in recent months about those who are  pregnant declining the vaccine over safety concerns and despite pleas from health-care workers seeing more severe infections among that particular demographic. A new study is adding further insight into the risks of the disease, finding that "COVID-19 infection during pregnancy leads to distinct immune alterations in mothers and babies," making them susceptible to inflammation and pregnancy complications. Around the world. In the early days of the pandemic, Germany's efforts were hailed as a success, particularly due to its sharply lower fatality rate compared to European counterparts like Italy and France. But this week, it became the latest country to mark the tragic milestone of surpassing 100,000 deaths. Angela Merkel warned that more death were looming, with the country setting a record for daily confirmed cases -- 75,961 over the past 24 hours. How it affects you

We've got you covered this week with all your biggest questions regarding the vaccine for kids.

Scared of needles? If your little one is like mine, the fear of needles can be a challenge. We share what some clinics in Toronto are doing to make the experience less anxious and more fun.

Concerns about the vaccine? Several experts spoke with to address parental concerns about side-effects, a supposedly "rushed" trial, whether COVID-19 risks are smaller than vaccine risks, natural immunity, divided parenting views, and more.

Co-parenting disputes on child immunization? At least one lawyer who has dealt with a number of similar vaccine battles prior to the pandemic says cases that end up in courts usually do not end well for the parent who does not wish to vaccinate their child.

One last thing...

What began as a group of like-minded, unvaccinated individuals opposing Quebec's vaccine mandate turned into shouting matches and division between neighbours and schoolmates within a once tight-knit community near Montreal after three of their own died of COVID-19. When the disease killed Stefanos Govas in early September, it came as a shock. A Laval athlete and just 39 years old, he was unvaccinated when he became infected. His girlfriend's father, Nick, also became sick around the same time, and died in late October at the age of 57. "He gave me 35 wonderful, wonderful years," said his wife, Helen. But her daughter lost even more, she said. "My daughter didn't have that, you know?" she said. "She lost him at the beginning of their life." Selena Ross with has this story.

Thank you for reading,
Solarina Ho, writer

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