Health Canada has approved Moderna’s COVID-19 booster shot, in hope of bolstering the country’s defences as the respiratory virus season looms closer.
On Tuesday, the health regulator gave the green light to Moderna’s updated vaccine for all Canadians aged six months and up. The updated Pfizer and Novavax vaccines are still under review.
The mRNA vaccine is tailored to the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant that is circulating in the country, but also has additional sequences that target other variants.
The vaccine is expected to rollout in most provinces and territories at the beginning of October, in alignment with the influenza shot.
“Vaccine protection decreases over time, which means many of us are due for another dose. Receiving a shot of the new formulation will help protect people against the variants circulating currently and expected to circulate through the fall and winter,” Health Canada senior medical advisor Dr. Supriya Sharma said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Read more about the updated vaccine and how many doses a person should get.
That’s because this particular strain of bacteria is not only highly infectious, it can act “like acid” on the wall of people’s intestines, explained Dr. Iris Gorfinkel, a family physician based in Toronto.
The bacteria, known as a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, can cause kidney failure, bloody diarrhea, blood clots and even death, Gorfinkel told Global News’ The Morning Showon Tuesday.
“Most E. coli is not a concerning disease — we carry E. coli in our intestines — but the problem is the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. This is different,” she said.
“So if a person ingests as few as 10 of these bacteria, it produces a toxin in the intestine that works like acid on the intestinal wall. It causes initially watery diarrhea, but then because it’s like acid on the wall, it causes bloody diarrhea, and boy does it hurt, a lot of cramping.”
The outbreak in Calgary daycares was first reported on Sept. 4, and since then there have been 329 lab-confirmed cases of bacterial infection related to it. Thirteen children are still in hospital, 10 of whom have hemolytic uremic syndrome — a complication affecting the blood and kidneys. Six of those children are receiving dialysis.
Read more about the E. coli outbreak and how to prevent an infection.
— THE TOPIC —
Are nasal decongestants ineffective?
— WHAT EXPERTS ARE SAYING —
A key ingredient found in oral versions of popular nasal decongestants like Sudafed and Dayquil was deemed ineffective by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel on Tuesday.
The advisory panel said the drug in the decongestants, called phenylephrine, has not been shown to improve decongestion.
If the FDA follows through on the panel’s recommendations, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer and other drugmakers could be required to pull their oral medications containing phenylephrine from store shelves.
In Canada, over-the-counter decongestants containing phenylephrine are still available for purchase.
“We actually issued a statement basically saying that in terms of children’s cough and cold medications, we didn’t recommend use of any of them,” Dr. Michael Rieder, a pediatric clinical pharmacologist told Global News.
Phenylephrine as a drug is very poorly absorbed, Rieder explained, and none of the clinical studies conducted by he and his team led to any evidence of its effectiveness in children or adults.
“It doesn’t make you better. You’re going to get better by yourself,” he said. “So the challenge is if they don’t make you feel better, then why take them?”
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