Breakthrough COVID-19 infections in Ontarians have resulted in only nine people needing ICU treatment: New report

More than 17,000 breakthrough cases in the past year.

While the number of breakthrough COVID-19 infections among fully vaccinated individuals in Ontario has topped more than 17,000 in the past year, only nine people under the age of 60 required treatment in an intensive care unit.

The new report by Public Health Ontario compiled data of breakthrough cases in the province up until Nov. 14.

The report found of the more than 11 million Ontarians who are fully vaccinated, there have been 17,596 breakthrough infections, accounting for 3.8 per cent of all lab-confirmed cases.

But the data suggests the number of fully vaccinated people who end up in hospital is even lower, especially among those under the age of 60.

Looking at the past year, only 83 people under the age of 60 have ended up in hospital with a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Of those individuals, only nine needed treatment in an intensive care unit.

This compares to 8,355 unvaccinated individuals under the age of 60 with COVID-19 who ended up in hospital over the same time period, and of those, 1,722 of them have needed treatment in the ICU.

The report provides the most exhaustive look at breakthrough infections in Ontario to date and seems to support the testimony of public health experts, who have consistently argued that the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing both symptomatic infection and hospitalizations.   

When all age groups are lumped in, the number of people with breakthrough infections who ended up in intensive care is 81, accounting for about 1.9 per cent of COVID-19 ICU admissions.

There will be more breakthrough infections, according to the authors of the report.

They said this should be expected with more than 85 per cent of Ontarians age 12 and up now fully vaccinated.

They do say that the evidence continues to suggest that when COVID-19 cases occur following vaccination “there is evidence that vaccines reduce symptomatic infection, the severity of illness, as well as transmission.”

During the week of Nov. 12, 38 per cent of cases in Simcoe Muskoka were among the fully vaccinated compared to 30 per cent the week prior.

At a media briefing on Wednesday, Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner said that stood to reason.

“We will expect the percentage to go up over time as we move towards achieving an even higher coverage in the eligible population. As you move towards 100 per cent coverage, the only cases that can occur under that circumstance would be breakthrough cases.”

The Public Health Ontario report is the most in-depth look at breakthrough infections in the province.