All COVID-19 patients under age 50 in B.C. ICUs are unvaccinated, health minister says

The vast majority of people who are battling COVID-19 in B.C.'s intensive care units are not fully vaccinated against the disease, and that's especially true of the younger people who develop serious illness.

Provincial Minister of Health Adrian Dix shared the demographics of B.C.'s ICU population at a news conference on Thursday as he repeated his perpetual appeal for residents to get vaccinated.

Dix said there are 130 people in intensive care in the province as of Thursday - one more than the number officially released by the health ministry on Wednesday - though he cautioned that Thursday's numbers had not yet been finalized.

Of those 130, Dix said, 111 are unvaccinated, 10 are partially vaccinated and nine are fully vaccinated.

Moreover, no one under age 50 who is in a B.C. ICU right now is fully vaccinated, Dix said.

That group - people in intensive care with COVID-19 who are under age 50 - accounts for 32 of the 130 ICU cases, according to the health minister's numbers. That's roughly one-quarter of coronavirus patients in intensive care.

As has long been the case, older people account for a larger portion of those hospitalized with COVID-19. Still, those who are unvaccinated make up most of the ICU cases among B.C. residents age 50 and older.

Another 32 unvaccinated people in their 50s are in B.C. ICUs right now, Dix said, as are 25 unvaccinated people in their 60s.

"This can affect everybody," he said. "It is - I think, in this context, with the Delta variant prevalent - a foolish thing to not be vaccinated. It, of course, puts stresses on everybody in our health-care system."

Dix described the outcomes for COVID-19 patients who end up in intensive care units in B.C. as "the best in the world," but added that most ICU cases could be avoided if everyone were fully vaccinated.

"We are doing an extraordinary job - when people are extremely sick with COVID-19 and in our hospitals and in our ICUs - at helping them," Dix said. "However, I want to be very plain: Everyone would rather be doing something else."