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COVID hospitalization rate 26 times higher among unvaccinated individuals: B.C. CDC

No vaccinated deaths in people under 60 in the past month
A nurse attends to a patient in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey, B.C., Friday, June 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Unvaccinated people have ten times higher rate of COVID-19 infection and a 26 times higher rate of hospitalization, recent data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows.

Data released Tuesday (Aug. 24) showed that between July. 17 and Aug. 17, there were 6,113 unvaccinated people who tested positive for COVID, compared to 2,040 who were partially vaccinated and 1,005 who were fully vaccinated.

Hospitalization data from the same time period showed that 231 unvaccinated people were sent to hospital with the virus, compared with 22 partially vaccinated people and 36 fully vaccinated people.

Based on vaccination stats published by B.C. officials on Aug. 17, and adjusted for provincial population, unvaccinated people were 26 times more likely to be hospitalized when compared to a fully vaccinated British Columbian.

Meanwhile, 14 unvaccinated people died from COVID during that time, compared to 3 partially vaccinated people and 5 fully vaccinated.

Positivity rates continued to increase all across B.C. but were the highest in Interior Health, at 17.3 per cent, and in Northern Health at 17.9 per cent. In Fraser Health, once the epicentre of COVID in B.C., the positivity rate was six per cent, while it was 7.6 per cent in Vancouver Coastal Health and 6.5 per cent in Island Health. Overall in B.C., the rate was 9.3 per cent.

New daily hospitalizations are now the highest among those ages 20-39, although the rate per million people is still highest in the 80 and older group.

Over the time period from July 17 to Aug. 17, fully vaccinated people accounted for 11 per cent of cases and 12 per cent of hospitalizations. Among the 22 deaths, approximately 64 per cent were among the unvaccinated.

Both hospitalizations and deaths among the fully vaccinated skew older; the vast majority of hospitalizations in that group are in people ages 60 and up, with the highest proportion among the 80 and up age category. The only deaths among the fully vaccinated were in people 60 years old and up, with most being in the 80 and up group.

The BCCDC also laid out its latest modelling and found that Interior Health, where cases have been highest in the province, saw a decrease in the growth rate after recent COVID measures were brought in, which include a mask mandate and a reduction in gathering capacity.

The modelling shows that in the projected vaccination rate – which ranges from 75 per cent for 12 to 24 year olds to 88 per cent for those 75 and up – could still see hospitalizations exceed the previous daily median for hospitalizations by Sept. 13.

A high transmission scenario for those vaccination rates could see hospitalizations begin to touch on B.C.’s previous daily maximum hospitalizations.

The difference between moderate and high transmission scenario is the level of contact, determined often by B.C.’s gathering restrictions.

Further modelling showed that even a 10 per cent increase in vaccination rates could keep cases low and flatten the curve, while the projected vaccination rate would see it rise into September.

READ MORE: B.C. records 641 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday as restrictions return

READ MORE: Vaccine card ‘sends a message,’ will push complacent to get COVID jab: B.C. professor

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been corrected to accuately reflect the calculation of hospitalization rates of unvaccinated people compared to fully vaccinated people in British Columbia.


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