Vaccines working in Alberta, provincial data reveals effectiveness

Data released by the province reveals vaccines are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the vast majority of Albertans hospitalized since the start of the year were not immunized.

According to numbers released on June 5 by Alberta Health, since Jan 1, 2021:

  • 0.2 per cent of people with one dose (4,432 people) were diagnosed with COVID-19 14 days after the first shot
  • 0.1 per cent of people with two doses (501 people) were diagnosed with COVID-19 14 days after the second dose
  • 93.2 per cent of hospitalization cases (5,014 people) were unvaccinated or diagnosed within two weeks from the first dose
  • 88 per cent of deaths related to COVID-19 were unvaccinated or diagnosed within two weeks from the first dose 

"The numbers that have been released by the government show that vaccines work," said Dr. Joe Vipond, emergency room physician. "By getting vaccinated you radically decrease the chances of getting sick, getting hospitalized and dying."

Vipond said no vaccine offers 100 per cent efficacy, but immunization is crucial to protect against COVID-19. He encourages Albertans who have not received their first dose to book an appointment immediately, especially to protect against variants.

"I am really worried about this new Delta variant that came out of India. I would say that's our biggest enemy right now and the only way to effectively fight it is to have as many people vaccinated as possible."

Vipond says people still need to follow public health measures including physical distancing, wearing masks, and limiting time inside with people outside your cohort until two weeks after the second dose. He said public health guidance should be followed and will be evolving for fully vaccinated Albertans, and more people need to get the second dose as soon as possible.

"I am concerned about the government’s decision to reopen the economy based on just a single shot in the arm."

Alberta's Stage 2 Reopening Begins Thursday

The second stage of the province's reopening plan is slated to begin Thursday, as the benchmarks of 60 per cent of Albertans receiving their first dose and COVID-19-related hospitalization numbers below 500 were both met.

Currently 66 per cent of eligible Albertans, 12 years of age or older, have received one dose and 14 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Businesses who are set to reopen in Stage 2 have been watching data on vaccination rates.

"Our perspective throughout this has been theatres are one of the safest venues that can operate through a pandemic," said Bill Walker, chief executive officer of Landmark Cinemas Canada.

"So we’ve been advocating that we should be open slightly more often than we've been, but ultimately the vaccination rate that we see in most provinces, and honestly in Canada as a whole, is a world leader."

Movie theatres have been closed in Alberta since late December 2020 due to public health order restrictions. 

Walker said vaccinations will allow them to reopen and, for now, the movie-going experience will be similar to last summer and fall. 

"We’re still at limited capacity, we only have 33 per cent capacity in the building. We're still going to be doing reserved seating with lots of physical distancing, the showtimes are spread out to make sure that there’s never a big crush of people in the lobby or exiting at any one given time."

Customers will also notice increased sanitation efforts.

Walker said even when theatres are allowed to fully reopen, Landmark will continue to listen to customers and ease back into full capacity.