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Today’s coronavirus news: Child vaccine clinics ramping up in Ontario; Legault under fire following explosive report on long-term care homes

Today’s coronavirus news: Child vaccine clinics ramping up in Ontario; Legault under fire following explosive report on long-term care homes
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The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

5:30 a.m. COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged five to 11 are ramping up in Ontario today.

The City of Toronto s pediatric vaccine campaign is picking up in earnest today with kid-friendly clinics and others happening in schools and communities.

Public health in Windsor, Ont., says it is also taking appointments for young kids today, and the city s police force has said it will be on-site for planned protests at the sites.

A clinic in Hamilton is offering shots today for Indigenous people and their household members above the age of five.

Parent or guardian consent is required for kids to get the shots.

Other health units are offering the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech shots on designated days this weekend and in the coming weeks.

5 a.m. As Ontario tries to keep a resurgence of COVID-19 cases under control, shows only nine fully vaccinated people under 60 have ended up in the ICU.

The report paints the most detailed picture yet of breakthrough cases — and who is getting very sick despite being fully vaccinated — showing that the majority of those who need hospital care are adults over the age of 60, with the highest proportion in their 80s.

Experts say the findings underscore that vaccines are working well to prevent infections and hospitalizations. But they also support opening up third doses of the COVID vaccine to more older adults, and highlight why masking and other public health measures are still critical at this stage of the pandemic to protect the most vulnerable.

“It’s clear that vaccines are working phenomenally well,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert and a former member of Ontario’s now disbanded vaccine task force.

4:30 a.m. After congratulating itself for months for its management of the COVID-19 pandemic, Quebec s governing Coalition Avenir Québec party is on the defensive following an explosive report of its handling of long-term care during spring 2020.

The vulnerable residents of the province s underfunded long-term care homes were largely an afterthought in the government s pandemic preparedness plans, Quebec Ombudswoman Marie Rinfret concluded in her report released Tuesday.

She said 4,000 residents died between February and June 2020 — nearly 70 per cent of the COVID-19 deaths in Quebec during the first wave.

Rinfret s report and an ongoing coroner s inquiry into long-term care deaths have been at the heart of testy exchanges this week at the legislature. They have also renewed the opposition s demands for a public inquiry into the government s pandemic response.

4 a.m. The Liberal government on Wednesday introduced its newest — and what it hopes to be its last — pandemic aid legislation, proposing a scaled-back suite of financial supports for Canadians still bruised by the public health crisis.

“Bill C-2 is designed with an understanding that our economic recovery is still uneven, and that the public health measures that are saving lives continue to restrict some economic activity,” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters.

“I see this legislation as very much the last step in our COVID support programs,” she added. “It is what I really hope and truly believe is the final pivot.”

Freeland introduced the aid bill one month after she first announced that the Canada Response Benefit, as well as the emergency wage and rent subsidy programs, would wind down on Oct. 23. At the time, she said those programs would be swapped out and revamped into $7.4 billion worth of targeted supports for workers facing local lockdowns, those in the tourism and hospitality sectors and other hard-hit businesses.
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