National vaccine committee recommends high-risk teens get COVID-19 booster

Teens urged to get booster

UPDATE: 9:25 a.m.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is now recommending teenagers with underlying conditions or at high-risk of COVID-19 exposure get a booster shot.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says kids and adolescents are still at low risk of serious illness in general from COVID-19 but because of the high rate of infection due to Omicron more kids are being admitted to hospital.

NACI's new advice for teenagers between 12 and 17 is to get a booster if they have an underlying medical condition or live in congregate settings or racialized or marginalized communities that have been hard hit by COVID-19 infections.

Health Canada data suggest in the last week 251 children under 12 and 84 adolescents between 12 and 19 years old were admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

Canada's advice is not as broad as that from the United States Centers for Disease Control which recommended Jan. 5 that all kids between 12 and 17 years old get a booster shot five months after their second dose.

Just over half of Canadian children five to 11 now have at least their first dose of vaccine, while 82 per cent of teens 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated.

ORIGINAL: 7 a.m.

A number of provinces are tweaking their public health protocols to ease restrictions as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to show signs of stabilizing.

Saskatchewan's government said Isolation rules would be relaxed today as the province transitions to treating COVID-19's highly communicable Omicron variant like other common respiratory viruses such as influenza.

The changes include no longer requiring close contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus to self-isolate.

In Ontario cinemas, theatres, arenas and concerts will be reopening Monday, with capacity limits, but also with the ability to serve snacks and drinks.

Indoor dining will be back on the menu at restaurants, and Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that some non-urgent surgeries would be resuming.

Indoor dining at restaurants, with capacity limits, will also resume in New Brunswick starting Saturday, and students there are to return to in-person classes on Monday.

In Quebec, officials reported a significant drop in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Thursday, although 56 new deaths were linked to the virus.

Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau will be working from home for a while after being exposed to COVID 19.

The prime minister said in a tweet Thursday that he learned of the exposure the previous night, adding that despite a subsequent rapid antigen test that was negative, he would follow public health rules and isolate for five days.

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