Some cases of COVID among the fully vaxxed to be expected, especially with decrease in the unvaccinated, says medical officer of health

As no vaccine is ever 100% effective, it speaks to the need for masking, physical distancing

On Thursday, Public Health Ontario confirmed 176 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals across the province, and of those, 13 were fully vaccinated. But if they’ve gotten both shots, how’d they end up in the hospital in the first place? Simcoe-Muskoka’s top doc says that is to be expected.

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) says no vaccine is 100 per cent effective, that the COVID-19 vaccines we’ve got have high efficacy, but they’re not perfect. “For a person who’s received two doses of one of the mRNA vaccines, the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, they’ve probably got about an 85% reduction in their risk of contracting COVID-19 and having any symptoms, and more than a 95% reduction in having a severe case, requiring hospitalization and, for that matter, requiring ICU admission.”

Gardner points out, knowing these vaccines’ efficacy, health experts were expecting to see a few COVID cases among the fully vaxxed. He adds the proportion will increase as more people get the shot. “The great majority of cases so far have been among those who are not immunized. And as we get more and more people immunized and have fewer and fewer people remaining who are unimmunized, we would expect to see the proportion of remaining cases, although dwindling in number eventually, there would be, occurring as a percentage, more among those who are immunized.”

“If you have fewer and fewer people who are not vaccinated, then really, the only individuals remaining who could become cases will be those who are immunized, who represent breakthrough cases,” added Gardner. “It’s highly effective, it greatly reduces your risk, but it doesn’t completely reduce your risk.”

“This also speaks to the importance of the other control measures that we have in place, the importance of people using masks,” he concluded. “The other control measures are also very important and will continue to be important even for those who are immunized.”