The COVID-19 Brief: When can we expect vaccines for kids under five?

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The outbreak by the numbers (as of 12:30 p.m. EDT Monday, May 2, 2022):
  • Canada: 3,756,164 cases | 256,211 active | 39,292 deaths
  • Globally: 513,943,304 cases | 6,236,985 deaths
Hospitalizations (as of 12:30 p.m. EDT Monday, May 2, 2022):
  • Canada: 6,065 hospitalizations | 444 ICU admissions
Vaccinations by the numbers (as of 12:30 p.m. EDT Monday, May 2, 2022):
  • World: 11,603,940,635 doses | 65.5% one dose | 59.2% at least two doses
  • Canada: 86.23% one dose  | 81.76% at least two doses
Map shows percentage of eligible population (5+) vaccinated with at least one dose; percentages above are for total population.    

Eligible population (5+) in Canada: 90.7% one dose | 86% at least two doses

* Percentages have been adjusted to reflect updated population figures and third doses in some provinces

Here's what's been happening in Canada

When to expect vaccines for young kids. With Health Canada now reviewing Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of six, parents may be wondering when they can expect these vaccines to be approved. The health agency has yet to release a timeline for approval, after Moderna submitted its application on April 28. But perhaps Canadians can look south of the border for hints about the timing of the approval process, as the vaccine is also under review by the United States Food and Drug Administration. 

The FDA revealed that it would consider the application, alongside a submission from Pfizer, possibly as soon as June 8. That being said, Health Canada has taken months to authorize Moderna's vaccines for younger Canadians in the past. Click below for more stories on COVID-19 vaccines in Canada:

Have you gotten your booster shot yet? If you're between the ages of 18 and 29, but haven't gotten your third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you're not alone. Data compiled by the Canadian government reveals that young adults are far behind other age groups when it comes to getting their booster shot. About 35 per cent of Canadians between 18 and 29 years of age have received a third dose, compared to about 72 per cent of Canadians aged 40 and older. A few Canadians have shared their reasons for not getting boosted. For more coverage of COVID-19 booster shots in Canada, click below:

Snapshot across Canada. For the first time in weeks, it seems as though COVID-19-related hospitalizations are stabilizing across the country, according to data compiled by Ontario reported 1,423 COVID-19 patients in hospital on May 2, a slight drop compared to one week earlier. Health officials in Quebec, where hospitalizations have consistently risen since the end of March, are beginning to see these numbers fall as well. Nearly 2,200 patients are in hospital with COVID-19 as of May 2, a decrease of 175 compared to one week before. The province recently surpassed 15,000 deaths related to the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with health officials still reporting dozens of deaths each day

Hospital counts in Manitoba are also showing signs of levelling off. According to the province's most recent COVID-19 update, four more people were admitted to hospital between April 17 and 23, for a total of 188 hospitalizations. However, the number of patients in ICU dropped to 12 from 22 in the same timeframe. Meanwhile, other provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia continue to report increases in hospitalizations.
 For a closer look at how provinces and territories are doing, check out our interactive COVID-19 tracking map, and see how we rank against the U.S. Click below for more coverage of COVID-19 in Canada:

The latest headlines...

In vaccines and COVID-19 therapeutics. Based on a new pre-print study from South Africa, the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants are able to evade immunity from past COVID-19 infections. However, data also revealed that these sub-lineages are not able to develop in the blood of those who have been vaccinated against the virus. As a result, it's possible for these sub-lineages to trigger a new wave of infections, particularly among those not vaccinated against COVID-19. For more headlines on vaccines, COVID-19 therapeutics, related research and reports, click below:  Around the world. Since the last edition of this newsletter, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases reported worldwide has continued to fall. At the same time, countries across the globe are lifting more of their pandemic-related restrictions. Tourist havens such as Italy and Greece, for example, have both relaxed a number of travel measures ahead of what is expected to be a busy travel season in Europe.

Meanwhile, after grappling with an outbreak that prompted a citywide lockdown, residents of Shanghai, China are starting to see a decrease in the number of new infections. China's largest city logged about 7,000 new COVID-19 cases per day on both April 30 and May 1, a significant drop from the 27,605 cases recorded in mid-April. Local authorities have begun to ease lockdown measures as a result. Countries such as South Africa, however, are witnessing a drastic rise in the number of hospitalizations and new cases reported. Over the last two weeks, infections have grown from a few hundred per day to several thousands, with new infections largely made up of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants. The latest rise in cases could mark the start of yet another wave of COVID-19 in South Africa, the country's health minister said. For a detailed breakdown of how COVID-19 is spreading across the world, take a look at our Global Tracker. Click below for more international stories:
Your questions answered

As we continue to receive a number of Omicron-related questions from viewers, we'll take some time each week to answer them. This one comes to us from Karen:

"Have we forgotten about our precious babies that are under 5 years old? Why is nobody talking about them and asking when the vaccine will be available to them?"

Even as Canadians contend with a sixth wave of COVID-19 infections, children under the age of five remain the only age group in Canada without access to vaccines designed to protect against the virus. The lack of vaccines, combined with high levels of community transmission, may leave some parents concerned about their youngest children being exposed to infection.

Dr. Martha Fulford is an infectious disease expert and chief of medicine at the McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ont. She said that, until a vaccine has been proven to provide the youngest children with significant protective benefits, there's no reason to rush the process.

"You can't vaccinate a zero to four-year-old until you have a vaccine that actually does something for the child, and where the benefit has been shown to outweigh any potential risk," Fulford told in a phone interview on April 25. "Eventually, I think we'll have one, but it shouldn't be rushed."

Read the entire story here.

Do you have a question about COVID-19? Let us know here.

Thank you for reading and have a great week,
Jennifer Ferreira, writer

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