March 11, 2022

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Why people testing positive for COVID-19 after getting fully vaccinated isn’t as dire as it sounds

At first glance, reports of people getting infected with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated can sound alarming, as if the long-awaited vaccines aren’t doing their job.

But there are two key things to keep in mind about these “breakthrough infections.” For one thing, they’re rare — making up around 0.5 per cent of reported COVID-19 cases since vaccination efforts began, the latest Canadian data shows. 

And when post-vaccination infections do happen, they typically tend to be mild.

While no vaccine offers perfect protection for every single person, the relatively infrequent examples of serious infections after full vaccination — coupled with the dramatic drop in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 — show these vaccines are indeed doing their job, and excelling at it, experts say.

WATCH | Immunologist explains how “breakthrough infections” can happen”: 


“Ultimately, what we want the vaccine to do is prevent people from getting severely ill,” explained immunologist and researcher Matthew Miller, an associate professor at McMaster University.

Even in cases where breakthrough infections do occur, he said, those infections tend to be a lot less severe than cases reported in partially vaccinated or totally unprotected individuals.

“Anybody can tolerate a runny nose for a few days,” Miller said. “What we really want to ensure is that people aren’t ending up in the hospital, on ventilators, fighting for their lives.”

So far, close to 34 million vaccine doses have been administered in Canada, and reports of breakthrough infections after full vaccination remain low. The latest Public Health Agency of Canada data, provided in response to questions from CBC News, shows 2,731 cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated individuals have been reported in Canada’s national data set as of June 21. Read more on this story here.

Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic sets record

(Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

People are administered COVID-19 vaccine shots at a mass vaccination clinic held inside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Sunday. Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted that the clinic administered 26,771 doses, setting a new North American record for most shots given at a clinic in a single day. Read more on the clinic here.

In brief

A B.C. heat wave is shattering temperature records and meteorologists expect the weather to get even hotter over the next couple of days. Lytton, B.C., broke the record Sunday afternoon for the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada with a measurement of 46.6 C, according to Environment Canada. The previous record high temperature for the country was 45 C, set in Saskatchewan in July 1937. CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says the worst is yet to come. Forecasters expect the Lower Mainland to reach temperatures as high as 45 C on Monday, when the heat wave is expected to peak. Wagstaffe says Abbotsford, in the Fraser Valley, will be the city to watch on Monday as the humidex will make it feel as hot as 50 C. Read more on the record-breaking heat.

WATCH | Record heat wave hits Western Canada: 

The discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential schools in Saskatchewan and British Columbia has prompted some Catholics to reflect and rethink aspects of their religion. Janis Joseph, a B.C. woman born into a Catholic family, hasn’t been to church since the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said in May that as many as 215 children may be buried on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. She is troubled that the Pope hasn’t yet apologized over the church’s role in Canada’s residential schools. “I’m ashamed of my faith and Catholic upbringing,” she said. Katherine Weber, a teacher at a Catholic high school in Alberta, says she stopped attending church more than a year ago and the grim discoveries make her not want to return. “It’s hard to be a part of an institution that has done so much to hurt … [and] knowing I’m supporting an institution that 100 years ago might have sent me to teach at a residential school,” she said. Read more on this story here

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna won’t be running in the next federal election. She has represented the riding of Ottawa Centre since 2015, and was previously minister of the environment and climate change in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet. McKenna’s departure could clear the way for former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney to run for the Liberals, although he hasn’t committed to standing in the next election. McKenna says she wants to spend more time with her three children and devote her energies to the fight against climate change. She’s to speak publicly today about her decision. Read more on McKenna’s decision not to run again.

The death toll in the collapse of a Miami-area condo tower climbed to nine on Sunday. There are 152 people, including four Canadians, missing after the tower fell early Thursday morning. Rescuers said they are still working to find survivors but no one has been pulled alive from the debris since Thursday. Officials haven’t pinpointed a cause for the collapse. A report from 2018 says an engineer found evidence of major structural damage beneath the pool deck and “concrete deterioration” in the condo’s underground parking garage. Other documents put the estimated repair costs at more than $9 million US. Read more here about the tower’s collapse.

WATCH | Desperate search continues at collapsed Miami-area condo building: 

Mary Two-Axe Earley’s activism spanned three decades, trailblazing a movement for Indigenous women’s rights, but supporters say her legacy is still unknown by many Canadians. It’s why she’s the focus of today’s Google doodle. “Mary is just such an important figure in Canadian history,” said Courtney Montour, a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) filmmaker from Kahnawake, south of Montreal. “It’s time that her story becomes more well-known.” June 28 marks 36 years since Bill C-31 received royal assent in 1985, amending the Indian Act to allow a process of reinstatement for Two-Axe Earley and thousands of other First Nations women and their children who had lost their status due to longstanding gender-based discrimination within the act. Read more about Two-Axe Earley here. You can read more Indigenous stories here.

The Montreal Canadiens appreciate the magnitude of the task awaiting them in the Stanley Cup final. Their opponents, the Tampa Bay Lightning, are defending Stanley Cup champions. They boast four lines that can score, arguably the best blueliner in the National Hockey League and an elite netminder in Andrei Vasilevskiy. “You can talk about them all day long. We’re excited for this opportunity. We’re here for a reason,” said pesky Habs forward Corey Perry. The Canadiens may have been the lowest-seeded team in the playoffs, but they’ve already upset No. 6 Toronto, No. 14 Winnipeg and No. 2 Las Vegas. They’re not inclined to feel intimidated, no matter what the experts say. Read more here before the puck drops tonight in Tampa, Fla., for Game 1.

Now for some good news to start your Monday: A Winnipeg grandfather is getting ready for an attempt to break a cycling world record for the third time, by biking 10,000 kilometres in the shortest amount of time. Arvid Loewen is doing it to raise awareness and money for the Mully Children’s Family, a street children’s rescue mission in Kenya. He’s hoping to raise $300,000, which will go toward emergency relief food for thousands of children and adults in several communities. The latest record Loewen is trying to break is one he’s already taken a swing at. In 2014, he tried to shatter Dutch cyclist Guus Moonen’s record. He couldn’t quite break it, which the Guinness World Records website says was 22 days, 15 hours, 34 minutes and nine seconds. Loewen said he’s worked out that he’ll have to cycle more than 442 kilometres a day — a schedule that will leave him with about four hours of sleep every night. Read more about Loewen’s attempt at the cycling record.

Front Burner: Some UFOs can’t be explained, U.S. intelligence report says

The U.S. intelligence community has released a highly anticipated unclassified report to Congress on “unidentified aerial phenomena” sightings. Today, we hear from retired Navy Chief Master-at-Arms Sean Cahill, who saw something unexplainable in 2004. After that, Canadian science writer and UFO expert Chris Rutkowski explains what’s in the intelligence report — and what burning questions still remain.

Front Burner23:28Some UFOs can’t be explained: U.S. intelligence report

Today in history: June 28

1914: Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife are assassinated in Sarajevo, an act which precipitated the First World War.

1926: Prime Minister Mackenzie King resigns after Gov. Gen. Lord Byng refused to call a general election after eight months of minority government. Conservative leader Arthur Meighen became prime minister the next day, but his government was defeated in the Commons on July 2. King’s Liberals won the ensuing election.

1981: Terry Fox dies of cancer in a New Westminster, B.C., hospital, one month before his 23rd birthday. Fox had lost a leg to cancer before embarking on his Marathon of Hope run across Canada. He made it halfway — to Thunder Bay, Ont. — before cancer struck again. Fox raised nearly $25 million to fight cancer and won the love and admiration of millions.

1994: Maureen Kempston Darkes becomes the first woman to serve as president of General Motors Canada.

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