COVID-19 numbers show ‘stark’ difference between vaccinated, unvaccinated: Sask. premier

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The Saskatchewan government revealed some “stark” differences in statistics for those vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who are not.

An analysis based on unvaccinated cases, hospitalizations and deaths from June 2021 was presented at the provincial government’s first COVID-19 briefing of July, held on Wednesday.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said, last month, the province had just over 2,000 positive COVID-19 cases in which over 80 per cent were unvaccinated, with fewer than two per cent of positive cases were people who were fully vaccinated.

“The difference between being vaccinated and being unvaccinated is truly quite stark … (also) under five per cent of the hospitalizations also are people that were fully vaccinated. There were no ICU admissions and no deaths of anyone that was fully vaccinated, plus two weeks,” Moe said.

“The evidence that vaccines are working really couldn’t be much more stark than that … If you’re fully vaccinated, you are very, very well protected. If you’re not vaccinated, you’re at risk and it is an unnecessary risk, I would most certainly say.

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“When you look at COVID moving forward, it’s a disease of the unvaccinated. We have about 30 per cent, 29 per cent of the people in Saskatchewan that are not vaccinated.

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An additional 13,719 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were reported on Wednesday, bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 1,247,253. Officials also added over half a million Saskatchewan residents are fully vaccinated with two doses.

The province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, reiterated he thinks the most effective tool against the virus, including the variants of concern, is vaccines.

“I think this is really what the vaccines are designed to do. They may offer 80, 90 per cent protection against mild illness. But, the studies for all vaccines used in Canada showed high protection against hospitalizations and that’s what we are seeing,” Shahab said.

“If you’re unvaccinated, you are actually in a worse place than last year because, now, you don’t have the Wuhan strain. You have variants like Alpha and Gamma and Delta that are more transmittable, can be more severe irrespective of age. So, no, you are not in a good place if you are unvaccinated and that risk will remain and continue to be there.

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“While COVID is milder in people who are younger and the fact that now almost all new infections are due to Alpha, Gamma and Delta variants, we know that these variants are more transmissible and in some cases more severe. So what we saw last year in unvaccinated people, it is going to be a bit more severe if you remain unvaccinated.”

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The province’s hospitals are currently providing care for 64 patients with COVID-19: 54 are receiving inpatient care and 10 are in ICUs.

The full implementation of Step 3 of the government’s Re-Opening Roadmap will occur this weekend, meaning that all public health orders will be removed as of Sunday, July 11.

“I think we really need to recognize that because on the one hand, we are reopening and that’s great. It’s summer, we have a high vaccine uptake. It’s safe to reopen, but the risk remains and if anything is higher for people who choose to remain unvaccinated,” Shahab said.

“If you’re unvaccinated, the only protection you have is low case numbers due to the people who are fully vaccinated, the people who are fully vaccinated, are providing some protection to you, but COVID is sneaky. Shahab said.

“The fact that we have 10, 20 pop-up cases due to no known exposure means that it will still transmit at a low level and continue to transmit for months or years.”

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There have been 570 COVID-19-related deaths in Saskatchewan to date.

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