Vaccines reducing the spread of COVID-19, despite advances: experts
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TORONTO – As the number of COVID-19 cases rises steadily among people fully vaccinated against the virus, experts say data shows vaccines continue to work to reduce transmission and prevent serious infections.
A breakthrough infection occurs when an individual tests positive for COVID-19 more than 14 days after completing the recommended round of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
In Ontario, 10,840,016 people would have been fully vaccinated as of October 17. According to Public Health Ontario, 12,694 of those people tested positive for COVID-19, in addition to 20 people who had received a third dose or a booster.
In the past two weeks, 1,760 Ontarians have reported major infections, representing about 35% of the province’s total infections during that time.
Dr. Dale Kalina, infectious disease physician at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ont. told CTVNews.ca that groundbreaking cases are expected. He explained in a telephone interview on Friday that as vaccination rates increase, the number of rupture cases will also increase, simply because there are fewer unvaccinated people.
“If 100 percent of people were vaccinated here in Ontario, then 100 percent of cases would also be in people who were vaccinated,” Kalina said. “But what we would see is a much lower number of people with disease and also, of course, severe disease.”
Breakthrough cases have also increased steadily in other parts of Canada, including British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reports that there have been 48,555 cases of coronavirus in fully vaccinated people and 47,230 infections in those who are partially vaccinated as of October 9. This represents about 12% of the total COVID-19 cases in Canada. since the start of the pandemic.
However, the rate of hospitalizations and deaths is still considerably higher in unvaccinated people than in the fully vaccinated population.
Kalina noted that it is not only important to look at the number of fully vaccinated people who test positive for the virus, but also the severity of the infection, whether mild or severe.
While some Canadians may be more prone to a breakthrough infection, such as the elderly, people living in long-term care homes, and those with underlying health conditions, Kalina said even people in good health health can still test positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated. However, their infections are unlikely to be serious.
Kalina added that many of the breakthrough cases are asymptomatic and would otherwise go unnoticed, but have likely been reported in the provincial case count because the person is working in an environment that requires daily COVID-19 testing, or has been admitted to a hospital for another reason, such as a broken bone and found to be infected.
Kalina said it’s also important to look at the number of infected people who are currently in intensive care units to get a full picture of who COVID-19 is primarily affecting Canada and how.
PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES AND VACCINES
A new study of 621 people in the UK with mild COVID-19 infections has found that fully vaccinated people can still pass the infection to vaccinated and unvaccinated household members.
The study, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, found that the infectivity of breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people was similar to that of unvaccinated cases, with 25% of vaccinated household contacts testing positive for COVID-19 versus 38%. unvaccinated limbs.
While infections in vaccinated patients cleared up more quickly than in those who were not vaccinated, the study noted that the two infections resulted in a “similar peak viral load,” that is, when people are considered to be the most infectious.
Kalina says the study highlights the importance of using vaccines in combination with other public health measures, such as masking and social distancing, to fight COVID-19.
“These public health measures in addition to vaccination are the reason why we have a relatively low level of virus circulating compared to regions like… the UK,” he said.
While the data shows that the number of post-vaccination cases decreases as the time since vaccination increases, Kalina noted that the vaccines are not 100% effective, and that they never promised to do so. ‘to be.
Although the term “breakthrough” makes the vaccines look like they’ve failed, Kalina stressed that they are working.
“The important thing to recognize is that we know that vaccines themselves don’t prevent all viruses, and they don’t prevent transmission. We know that vaccines… reduce the risk of transmission, they significantly reduce the risk disease, especially serious illness and almost entirely eliminate the risk of death, ”Kalina said.
IMPORTANCE OF BOOSTER SHOES
Infectious disease expert Dr Isaac Bogoch says breakthrough infections are normal and have been reported in all vaccine studies and clinical trials.
“We knew from the very beginning, we knew even before the Delta variant emerged, that people can get breakthrough infections,” Bogoch said in a telephone interview on Friday. “So it should come as no surprise to anyone that people can still contract COVID-19 if they are vaccinated.”
However, Bogoch said the COVID-19 vaccine should begin to be viewed as a three-dose vaccine series, not a two-dose regimen.
“The third dose that many people will receive over the next few months will likely reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and likely further reduce the risk of serious illness, even in vaccinated people where we already have a much lower risk of illness. serious. “said Bogoch.
Canada has already started providing third doses to older people living in long-term care facilities and those with weakened immune systems, however, Bogoch said booster shots need to be rolled out more quickly to those with weakened immune systems. ‘other vulnerable groups to maintain their effectiveness.
“When we look at all the people vaccinated and infected… there are groups that are more at risk. We really need to focus our attention on protecting these populations,” Bogoch said.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on Friday expanded the eligibility guidelines for booster injections, recommending that mRNA boosters also be given to Canadians who have received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, adults over 70, primary health care – caregivers with a short interval between their first two doses, and people from indigenous communities.
Bogoch noted that the best way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated against the virus.
According to data tracked by CTVNews.ca, more than 88.8 percent of Canada’s eligible population has received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 84.1 percent are fully immunized, as of October 29. So far, 407,024 Canadians have received a third, booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in addition to more than 28,900 deaths.
Development by Jesse Tahirali
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