Just three out of 22 people who were diagnosed with the COVID-19 Delta variant linked to outbreaks at the Foothills Medical Centre had not received at least one dose of vaccine.
Alberta Health Services released more information Friday about the vaccination status of the health-care workers and patients who have tested positive for the variant, including that those who had been immunized received mRNA vaccine.
One additional person was confirmed to have been fully vaccinated with two doses of vaccine before contracting the illness, for a total of 11, as of Friday. They include six patients and five staff.
10 COVID-19 Delta cases linked to Foothills outbreaks were fully vaccinated: Hinshaw
Seven of the remaining patients to contract the virus in the hospital had received one dose of vaccine, as well as the one other health-care worker.
Neither the patients or health-care workers were within the 14-day period following receiving a shot where experts say immunity is building up in the body, AHS said.
One person linked to the outbreak has been admitted to ICU, AHS said, with the majority of the rest of the individuals experiencing mild symptoms. AHS could not confirm whether the person in ICU had been vaccinated.
Two units at the hospital initially had outbreaks — general medicine and neuro rehabilitation — however as of Wednesday, only the general medicine unit still had an outbreak.
What we know about the Foothills hospital COVID-19 Delta variant outbreaks and spread
According to infectious disease expert Dr. Craig Jenne, there’s a real risk that because the Delta variant can spread among people with one dose of vaccine, it could become the next dominant strain of COVID-19 in the province.
“The concern is that with the vast majority of the population not sufficiently protected against these emerging variants, in particular Delta, there is a risk it can continue to spread,” he said.
“We also have to remember that when we hit 70 per cent, first dose, that still means almost 40 per cent of the province has no protection. And that is because there are a large number of children under the age of 12 that don’t even qualify for a vaccine.
“So we do have to be careful. We have to keep Delta in check and not let this establish across the province.”
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Jenne said when it comes to the summer reopening, and large events like the Calgary Stampede, those with two doses have “really good protection,” however, the risk of infection is still there.
But when it comes to those with either one or no doses of vaccine, it becomes an individual decision on personal risk, especially with how quickly the situation with the variant is changing.
“Even if it’s safe to go ahead today, by next week, it may not be,” Jenne said.
“When we were making decisions about how to go ahead and open the province, we weren’t dealing with community-level Delta transmission — that’s now changed the playing field. And I think the province should be looking at what percentage of Albertans are fully vaccinated in order to offset the threat posed by the Delta variant.”
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Alberta expanded its eligibility for second dose vaccine appointments Thursday to include anyone who received their first shot in April. A total of 154,604 second-dose bookings were made for AHS sites as of Friday.
As of June 9, Alberta had administered 3,215,144 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and 634,774 Albertans have been fully immunized with two doses.
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