Here's how much more likely you are to end up in hospital with COVID-19 if you aren't vaccinated: B.C. data

With COVID-19 case counts on a steady rise in B.C., health officials in the province are once again warning of the risk of remaining unvaccinated.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix released the latest COVID-19 modelling data in a news conference Tuesday.

Part of the data the pair released suggested the province is "in a pandemic of the unvaccinated," health officials said.

"What we are seeing is these vaccines are very protective of across all age groups," Henry said. "This has become a pandemic that is spreading rapidly amongst pockets of people who are unvaccinated."

In fact, the data – adjusted for age difference – indicates people who are unvaccinated are 12 times more likely to get COVID-19 than those who have had two vaccine doses. The data also suggested people who are unvaccinated are 34 times more likely to require hospitalization if they get COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.

In other words, unvaccinated people are 34 more times more likely to be hospitalized compared to fully vaccinated people their age.

"This is important because adjusting for age, we know that our ability to develop response to the vaccine is dependent on age and our chances of having serious outcomes if we do get infected with COVID-19 is also related to age," Henry explained.

Over the past month, between July 30 and Aug. 26, fully vaccinated individuals made up 13 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province. Fifteen per cent of the cases were among those who were fully vaccinated, even though, as of Aug. 26, more than 75 per cent of eligible B.C. residents had two shots.

However, health officials said 35 per cent of deaths related to the coronavirus are among fully vaccinated people. Officials explained that's because most of the deaths among fully vaccinated people are people aged 80 and older whose immune response to the vaccine isn't as strong.

"Once this virus, particularly this highly transmissible strain that we're seeing circulating in B.C. now, gets into long-term care homes, even older fully vaccinated people can become ill and can die from it," Henry said.

Officials indicated that's why it's important for those in contact with people in that age category – like workers and visitors of long-term care homes – be vaccinated.

Even so, people who are unvaccinated are still eight times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who get COVID-19 with two shots, the age-adjusted data suggested.