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B.C. vaccine protection holding as Omicron spreads, Dr. Henry says

60-70% less likely to land in hospital with two COVID-19 shots
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates COVID-19 efforts, Vancouver, Dec. 29, 2021. (B.C. government)

While the majority of new COVID-19 cases in B.C. are now in people with two vaccine doses, their risk of hospitalization remains low, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday.

At a briefing from Victoria Jan. 11, Henry acknowledged the significant shift in cases, which is largely due to the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant and the fact that almost 90 per cent of B.C.’s population is now fully vaccinated.

New data shared with other provincial health officers on Tuesday morning showed people without vaccine protection are still 60 to 70 per cent more likely to end up in hospital, and vaccine protection continues up to six months past the second dose, Henry said.

That protection increases after a booster third dose, and more than half of those eligible in B.C. have now received them, Health Minister Adrian Dix said. More pharmacies are being added to the booster program as community vaccination clinics are restarted, and those who have a booster shot booked can check the online system to see if an earlier date has become available, Dix said.

Henry said B.C.’s statistics show that while hospitalization has increased, there are still people in hospital with the Delta variant that has had more severe illness effects. B.C. intensive care cases currently include three people in their 20s and one in their 30s, all of whom are unvaccinated, she said.

B.C. health authorities continue to operate scheduled appointment COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the province for residents age five and older. Registration and booking appointments in B.C. can be done online here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.

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