COVID-19 vaccines effective in preventing hospitalization: Bogoch

As the province and Simcoe County continue to see a rise in COVID-19 immunization rates, the demand for vaccines may have hit a plateau.

According to Infectious Diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, nearly 80 per cent of the province's eligible population have received one dose of the vaccine.

"Now, this is a matter of breaking down every possible barrier to vaccination to ensure that any eligible person has at least access to a vaccine and can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to receive one.

The goal is to be north of 80 per cent, but we're not there yet. We got to keep pushing," said Dr. Bogoch.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Dr. Bogoch believes it is possible to vaccinate students 12 and up before the bell rings in September.

"It's pretty clear by the end of August anyone who wants to be vaccinated will have at least their first dose, and it's probably true that the vast majority of them will also have had access to a second dose," said Dr. Bogoch.

DELTA VARIANT

The Delta variant continues to be a concern as countries overseas report a rise in cases.

Dr. Bogoch said on Wednesday that he is closely monitoring the United Kingdom and Israel because of their high number of vaccinated citizens.

"So far, so good. The vaccines appear to stand up to the Delta variant quite nicely," he said.

The infectious disease specialist added the U.K. data was promising based on the metric of hospitalizations and not infection.

EFFECTIVENESS OF VACCINES

Dr. Bogoch said data shows that the Pfizer vaccine has a 96 per cent effectiveness against hospitalization.

"Two doses of AstraZeneca had a 91 per cent against hospitalization. That's really high-quality data, and that's quite promising. That just demonstrates that time and time again that the vaccines that we have are very effective," said Dr. Bogoch.

Over the next few weeks and months, Dr. Bogoch will be monitoring hospitalization rates in Canada as provinces begin to reopen and remove mask mandates.

"I'm really interested in seeing the dissociation between cases and hospitalizations, especially in vaccinated people," he mentioned.

FOURTH WAVE POSSIBILITY

Last summer, COVID-19 cases dropped dramatically only to rise in the cooler months, prompting another wave of the pandemic.

Dr. Bogoch said he hopes that the case count would soften with the majority of the population vaccinated.

"If the mass majority of us are vaccinated, then some people might get sick, but the vast majority who are vaccinated won't get that sick and won't fill up the hospital system," concluded Dr. Bogoch.