Alberta had highest rate of COVID-19 antibodies in Canada in early 2021: StatCan

A study conducted by Statistics Canada to find out how many Canadians have previously had COVID-19 showed that Alberta had the highest infection rate in the country in early 2021.

The study was the first to use a nationally representative sample to reflect the level of COVID-19 in the population with a blood sample.

The testing kits and survey were sent to 48,000 Canadians aged 1 and up, in all 10 provinces and three territories.

In the data collecting period of Nov. 2020 to April 2021, 3.6 per cent of Canadians had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in their blood. Of that, 2.6 per cent were from a past infection, 1 per cent was from a vaccination.

The rate of antibodies from a past infection were the highest in Alberta, at 4 per cent. Followed by Quebec (3.2%), Saskatchewan (2.9%), Ontario (2.5%), Manitoba (2.4%) and British Columbia (1.6%).

Alberta’s antibody rate jumped 1.6 percent when vaccinations are taken into account.

The study found that out of Canadians tested a larger portion of men had antibodies due to a past infection, while women were significantly more likely than men to have been vaccinated.

From the testing done on Canadian youth aged 1 to 19 the study found that 3.4 per cent had COVID-19 antibodies due to a past infection.

At the time of the study at least one vaccine was available for youth aged 16 to 19. The Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 was not approved in time to be reflected in the research.

Visible minorities had a higher rate of antibodies due to infection than non-visible minorities in Canada, according to the study.

Out of all study participants one in three said they had never taken a COVID-19 nasal or throat swab test, with three out of four saying it was because they were asymptomatic.

The results of the study can be found on the StatCan website.

StatCan collaborated with Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada to administer the survey.