Quebec expands access to Paxlovid and makes the oral antiviral treatment for COVID available in pharmacies.

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Updated throughout the day on Thursday, March 17. Questions/comments: [email protected]

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top updates

  • Health Canada approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 6 to 11
  • Omicron BA.2 subvariant becoming dominant in Canada, representing potential risk
  • Canada to drop pre-arrival testing for vaxxed travelers on April 1
  • Quebec expands access to the antiviral Paxlovid and makes it available in pharmacies
  • Montreal St. Patrick’s Parade will be a much smaller scaled-down event in 2022
  • Medicago’s vaccine faces WHO rejection over Quebec company’s tobacco links
  • Quebec urged to keep spending in check in budget, focus on productivity: think tank
  • MDMA use drops due to COVID lockdowns, other drugs rise: EU report
  • China’s factories opt for isolation bubbles to beat COVID curbs and keep running
  • Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, testing, restrictions
  • Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter

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11:30 a.m.

Health Canada approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 6 to 11

On Thursday, Health Canada approved the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of six and 11 years old, The Canadian Press reports.

The two-dose vaccine known as Spikevax had already been approved for those ages 12 and up.


11:20 a.m.

Omicron BA.2 subvariant becoming dominant in Canada, representing potential risk

The rise of the more-contagious Omicron subvariant in Canada could represent a threat to the elderly and others who are vulnerable, warns a leading expert on BA.2.

Read our full story.


10:45 a.m.

Canada to drop pre-arrival testing for vaxxed travelers on April 1

Starting April 1, Canada will no longer require fully vaccinated travelers to provide a COVID-19 test to enter the country.

Travelers will still but subject to random testing upon arrival but they will not need to quarantine while waiting for results.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra are providing an update on Canada’s pandemic border measures at a press conference in Ottawa.

“We are now entering into a transition phase of this pandemic,” Duclos said.

“As the weather warms and people spend more time outdoors, we can expect to see transmission decline in the coming months. But we have to be prepared for a desire of collective and individual immunity.”

Watch the press conference:

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10:15 a.m.

Quebec expands access to the antiviral Paxlovid and makes it available in pharmacies

From La Presse Canadienne:

The provincial government is expanding access to the antiviral drug Paxlovid to more Quebecers.

In a press release, Quebec also announced that Paxlovid can now be obtained from community pharmacies, with a prescription from a doctor or a specialized nurse practitioner following a positive COVID-19 test result.

Quebec received its first doses of Pfizer’s Paxlovid in January.

It’s the first COVID-19 treatment approved in Canada that can be taken by swallowing it at home, raising hopes for a significant reduction in deaths and hospitalizations of those with suppressed immune systems.

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The oral antiviral, approved on January 17 by Health Canada, aims to reduce the severity of symptoms of COVID-19 in people at risk of developing serious complications from this infection. It also reduces the risk of being hospitalized or dying from the coronavirus.

Paxlovid treatment should be started within five days of the onset of symptoms.

It will now be available for certain adults with moderate to severe immunosuppression, for people aged 60 and over, for pregnant women and for people who have not been vaccinated or who have only been partially vaccinated.

Access will also be possible for people aged 18 and over with specific conditions including hemoglobinopathy, renal or chronic insufficiency, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart failure and chronic lung disease.

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9:50 a.m.

Aislin

A downsized St. Patrick’s Parade returns for the first time in three years on Sunday morning. While most COVID protocols have been lifted, you’ll still need a mask to join in some festivities.


9:50 a.m.

Montreal St. Patrick’s Parade will be a much smaller scaled-down event in 2022

The good news is the St. Patrick’s Parade is back for the first time in three years.

The not-so-good news is that the parade this Sunday will be a much smaller affair and will kick off at 9:30 on Sunday morning, which pretty well guarantees there will be a lot fewer Montrealers on hand to celebrate. The parade normally starts at noon.

Read our full story, by Brendan Kelly.


9:30 a.m.

Medicago’s vaccine faces WHO rejection over Quebec company’s tobacco links

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Medicago Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine is poised to become the first Western shot to be rejected by the World Health Organization, because of the company’s links to cigarette-maker Philip Morris International Inc.

The Quebec biopharma company’s request for pre-qualification of its Covifenz shot was not accepted, according to the WHO’s guidance document dated March 2. That means the WHO is unlikely to approve the vaccine for emergency use, which would also keep it out of the Covax global vaccine-sharing facility.

Trending on Canadian News  Edmonton weather: Some sun, some clouds and maybe some rain tomorrow

Read our full story.


9:30 a.m.

Quebec urged to keep spending in check in budget, focus on productivity: think tank

Finance Minister Eric Girard should resist the temptation to be too generous in his next budget — the last before the Oct. 3 general election — and focus instead on steps aimed at boosting productivity and easing the labor shortage while he still has ammunition to do so, a new report suggests.

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Read our full story, by Frédéric Tomesco.


9:30 a.m.

MDMA use drops due to COVID lockdowns, other drugs rise: EU report

The closure of nightclubs and bars during COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe is likely behind a significant drop in the use of party drug MDMA last year but consumption of other substances such as cocaine and cannabis kept rising, an EU study said on Thursday.

Read our full story.


9:30 a.m.

China’s factories opt for isolation bubbles to beat COVID curbs and keep running

To keep factory lines open in the face of COVID curbs Chinese firms are asking workers to eat, sleep and work in bubbles isolated from the wider world, sterilizing premises as often as three times a day and testing for COVID daily.

Read our full story.

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9:15 a.m.

Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, testing, restrictions

vaccinations

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8:30 a.m.

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