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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday

Influential government advisers in the U.S. on Thursday endorsed extra doses of all three of the nation's vaccines — and said people eligible for a booster could choose a different company's brand for that next shot.

Americans seeking booster shots can mix and match say government advisers

Travel and vaccination questions answered

10 months ago
Duration 3:59
Dr. Samir Gupta spoke to CBC News about the advisory change regarding non-essential travel.

The latest:

A pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. U.S. government advisers have endorsed boosters of all three COVID-19 vaccines, and say people should be able to mix and match. (Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press)

Millions more Americans can now get a COVID-19 booster and choose a different company's vaccine for that next shot.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday that certain recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines should qualify for booster shots, in addition to those with Pfizer vaccinations who were already eligible. 

And in a bigger change, the agency is allowing the flexibility of "mixing and matching" that extra dose regardless of which type people received first.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had already authorized such an expansion of the nation's booster campaign on Wednesday, which was endorsed Thursday by a CDC advisory panel. CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky had the final word on who gets the extra doses.

"We're at a different place in the pandemic than we were earlier," when supply constraints meant people had to take whatever shot they were offered, said CDC adviser Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University.

Being able to choose a different shot is "priceless," she said, if, for example, someone might be at risk for a rare side-effect from a specific vaccine.

The vast majority of the nearly 190 million Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have received the Pfizer or Moderna options, while J&J recipients account for only about 15 million.

-From Reuters and The Associated Press, last updated at 8:30 p.m. ET


What's happening across Canada

WATCH | Canada to receive millions of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines for kids 5-11

Canada to receive millions of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines for kids 5-11

10 months ago
Duration 2:01
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says once Health Canada approves Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11, there will be millions of doses available to provide a shot to every child across the country.

What's happening around the world

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 242.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the case-tracking tool from Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.9 million.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called on the world's 20 richest nations, holding a summit next week, to step up donations of COVID-19 doses to the global south where vaccinations lag.

Gordon Brown, WHO ambassador for global health financing, said that if the world's richest countries cannot mobilize for a vaccine airlift to developing countries, an epidemiological and economic "dereliction of duty will shame us all."

There is still a shortfall of 500 million vaccine doses to reach WHO's 40 per cent vaccination target in all countries by year-end, while 240 million doses are lying unused in the West, Brown said. 

WHO aims to have 70 per cent of the population in every country vaccinated by mid-2022, a document posted last month says.

People wait to receive a vaccine outside a vaccination centre in Kyiv, Ukraine on Thursday. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

In Europe, Moscow will reintroduce COVID-19 lockdown measures from Oct. 28, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said, with supermarkets and pharmacies the only shops allowed to stay open.

People in Ukraine's capital Kyiv queued in the hundreds for COVID-19 vaccinations on Thursday after a surge in daily cases and related deaths rose above previous highs and led authorities to tighten pandemic restrictions. Only 15 per cent of Ukraine's population is fully vaccinated, the second lowest level in Europe after Armenia. 

British health minister Sajid Javid resisted calls from doctors for a return of restrictions to halt a rising wave of COVID-19 infections, but gave a stark warning they would be brought back if people did not take up vaccination offers.

In Africa, Kenya lifted a nationwide curfew that has been in place since March 2020.

Ministers from the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC will meet virtually on Friday, hoping to chart a path forward for the region to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and address other pressing issues including climate change.

Melbourne residents flocked to the city's pubs, restaurants and hair salons in the early hours of Friday after the world's most locked-down city emerged from its most recent spate of public health restrictions. Australia's second-largest city has so far endured 262 days, or nearly nine months, of restrictions during six separate lockdowns since March 2020.

In New Zealand, officials reported record daily COVID-19 cases for the second time in three days, as the delta variant continued to drive a spike in infections in the country's biggest city, Auckland.

In the Middle East, Israeli leaders on Thursday recommended reopening the country to fully vaccinated tourists beginning on Nov. 1, a year and a half after closing its borders to most foreign visitors. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's office said foreigners who were fully vaccinated less than six months ago, or who have received a booster shot more recently, will be eligible to enter the country, if the plan is approved by the government.

Meantime, Kuwait has lifted all restrictions for vaccinated people, the country's prime minister told a news conference.

In the Americas, the United States, under pressure to share its coronavirus vaccine supply with the rest of the world, has now donated 200 million doses to more than 100 countries, the White House said.

-From Reuters and The Associated Press, last updated at 6 p.m. ET

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the World Health Organization (WHO) wants to see 40 per cent of people in all countries vaccinated by mid-2022. In fact, WHO aims to meet that target by the end of the year.
    Oct 21, 2021 12:07 PM ET

With files from Reuters

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