The numbers overall paint a slightly worrying picture of growing cases among the fully-vaccinated in Saskatchewan, but health experts say when you look at how many of the fully-protected get sick, it’s a low number.
And more importantly, those fully-vaccinated who do catch COVID-19 are getting less severely ill.
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“So we have much less likelihood of being hospitalized and much, much less likelihood of death,” said Dr. Dennis Kendel, a health policy consultant.
He said the few breakthrough cases the province has seen were expected.
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Dr. Cory Neudorf, Interim Senior Medical Health Officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said vaccines are not 100 per cent effective at preventing spread.
“There’s enough people in (Saskatchewan’s) population who haven’t had any immunization that it’s really taking a hold in that group,” he said
“That creates the perfect conditions for break through infections as well.”
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Currently some jurisdictions, including Saskatchewan, are looking into whether booster shots are needed, including the possibility of an annual booster similar to the flu shot.
Doctors said there’s some evidence immunity levels wane around six months after being fully vaccinated, pointing to data from Israel, where a majority of their population was vaccinated with Pfizer earlier this year.
“They’re now seeing fully-vaccinated people getting COVID and even requiring hospitalizations,” said University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine.
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Neudorf added if booster shots do happen, they should be prioritized for the most vulnerable.
“There may be a need for booster shots for older age groups and particularly those in long-term care, and in people with underlining medical conditions,” he said.
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Doctors said they’re concerned with the Delta variant as it continues to spread. They said they want the provincial government to consider bringing restrictions back.
“Both British Columbia and Manitoba have reinstituted province wide masking mandates,” said Kendel.
“Our numbers are worse than that and we’re hearing nothing from the government about that.”
Doctors said the data shows vaccines are working, both to keep numbers down and lessen symptoms for those who do have breakthrough cases.
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