COVID-19: 95 per cent of Ontario cases are unvaccinated

Unvaccinated people are eight times more likely to catch the virus than fully vaccinated people, Public Health Ontario reports

More than 95 per cent of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province over the first seven months of the vaccine campaign were in unvaccinated people, Public Health Ontario reports.

Meanwhile, the number of breakthrough infections – cases with symptoms in fully vaccinated people that occur 14 or more days after the second dose – accounted for 0.5 per cent of cases.

The report, which was updated on August 3, looked at confirmed COVID-19 cases over the course of Ontario’s vaccination campaign, which began on December 14, 2020, up to July 24, 2021.

During that period, 10,383,281 people in Ontario received at least one dose, including 8,572,101 fully vaccinated individuals and 16,800 partially vaccinated people. In total, 1,988 breakthrough cases were reported.

Public Health Ontario noted a consistent trend in the rate of COVID-19 being higher in unvaccinated people compared with those who are fully vaccinated.

“In the past 30 days, unvaccinated individuals were approximately 8.0 times more likely to become a case of COVID-19 compared to fully vaccinated individuals,” the report states.

That 30-day figure jumps to 15 times more likely for people age 60 and up, the report adds.

The report noted similar trends in hospitalizations and deaths since December. Unvaccinated cases accounted for 92.6 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Ontario and 92.3 per cent of deaths over the seven-month period. Breakthrough cases accounted for 0.7 per cent of hospitalizations and one per cent of deaths.

There have been 565 breakthrough cases in Toronto, including 274 that became symptomatic, according to the data. Public Health Ontario notes that a total of 4,677 partially vaccinated people in Toronto contracted the virus between December and July. During that period, the city confirmed a total of 117, 766 cases.

How effective are vaccines in Ontario?

“While vaccines provide a high degree of protection from COVID-19 infection, it is expected that a small proportion of vaccinated individuals may become infected as no vaccine is 100 per cent effective,” the report states. “Protection from COVID-19 infection does not occur immediately following vaccination. Immunity develops over time.”

That data shows the number of post-vaccination cases declines “dramatically” as time passes from a person’s vaccination date. “Only 5.3 per cent of cases post-vaccination occurred 14 or more days after dose 2 administration and are considered breakthrough cases,” the report states.

Public Health Ontario estimates vaccine effectiveness is 60-80 per cent for preventing infection three-to-four weeks after receiving a single dose of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca. The number goes up to 85 per cent following the second dose.

“When COVID-19 cases occur following vaccination, there is evidence that vaccines reduce symptomatic infection, the severity of illness, as well as transmission,” the report adds, noting vaccines are between 70-to-90 percent effective at preventing “serious outcomes” such as hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions.

Since vaccination can reduce the severity of illness, public health officials expect there are asymptomatic post-vaccination cases, and that they may be less likely to transmit the virus compared with symptomatic cases who are fully vaccinated.

However, the report notes that the timing of infection relative to vaccination date is unclear in asymptomatic cases, thus they could have been infected prior to being fully immunized “and may not be post-vaccination cases.”

Ontario reported a daily increase of 213 new COVID-19 cases on August 5 as well as 14 more deaths. However, 12 of the deaths occurred earlier in the year.

The seven-day moving average for new cases is now 196, up from 165 this time last week.

There are 110 patients receiving treatment in intensive care units compared with 105 last Thursday.

To date, 81 per cent of eligible Ontarians age 12 and up have received one shot of COVID-19 vaccine and 71 per cent are fully immunized.

In order for the province to exit step 3 of the reopening plan and lift public health restrictions, at least 80 per cent of eligible people must have one dose and 75 per cent must have two.

The virus has killed 9,374 people in Ontario since the pandemic began.


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