Graph tracks infections of long-term care home residents after they get their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Dec. 15, 2020 to Feb. 15, 2021. Infections fell off sharply after three weeks. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

Graph tracks infections of long-term care home residents after they get their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Dec. 15, 2020 to Feb. 15, 2021. Infections fell off sharply after three weeks. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

COVID-19 vaccine protects health staff, seniors best after three weeks

B.C. data show new infections dropped rapidly after first jab

There was a brief wave of worry in B.C. this week when provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported that a COVID-19 outbreak at a Kelowna senior care home included new infections in people who have been vaccinated twice.

While seniors and their caregivers aren’t perfectly protected by vaccination, the effect has been dramatic since nurses, care aides and long-term care home residents reached three weeks after receiving their first doses. Data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control Thursday tracked new infections of all B.C. health care workers, and also residents of long-term care, assisted living and independent living facilities.

From Dec. 15, 2020 to Feb. 15, 2021, there were 203 coronavirus cases confirmed in long-term care homes, and 89 per cent of them occurred in the first 21 days after the vaccine was administered. After immune systems have three weeks to adjust to the vaccine, new infections all but disappear.

A similar trend is seen in data from health care workers over the same period. With employees subject to the risk of community exposure as well as at work, there were 346 new cases from Dec. 15 to Feb. 15 among B.C. health care workers. Again, 86 per cent of those infections occurred before each staffer reached 21 days with vaccine in their system, dropping to almost none afterward.

RELATED: Kelowna care home outbreak includes vaccinated people

RELATED: AstraZeneca vaccine safe, being used in B.C. this week

Henry said those results were key to her decision to extend the maximum time between shots up to four months. After some initial objections, federal health experts have endorsed the move.

“This work has allowed us to understand the protection that we get, even in situations like long-term care homes with our most vulnerable of seniors and elders, that we can have excellent protection from a single dose,” Henry said in presenting the latest modelling data March 11. “And that is what has supported us to be able to make that really important decision to extend the interval for second doses so that we can protect more people more quickly, and win that race that we are in right now.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members from the BC Wildfire Service and the Williams Lake Fire Department are conducting controlled burns at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds and at Boitanio Park today, April 20, in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Fire department, wildfire service, conducting controlled burns in Boitanio Park, Stampede Grounds April 20

Locations include at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds and in Boitanio Park

Smoke rising from a slash pile near Canim-Hendrix Road on Tuesday, April 20. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Blaze on Canim-Hendrix Lake Road a false alarm

The smoke was coming from a legal under-control slash pile

Jason and Pharis Romero’s latest album <em>Bet on Love</em> garnered three Canadian Folk Music Awards. Here Patrick Metzger, bass, from left, Jason, Pharis and Marc Jenkins perform at Arts on the Fly 2019 in Horsefly. Both Metzger and Jenkins performed on the album, as well as John Reischman on mandolin. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Romeros’ latest album garners three Canadian Folk Music Awards

Recorded in Horsefly, Bet on Love was released in May 2020

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

The Nazko River is under a flood warning. (Emcon Services Inc. Facebook photo)
Nazko River under flood warning

Rest of the Cariboo, including Quesnel and Williams Lake at lowest advisory level

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to go forward with legal action

Interior Health issued warning April 18, 2021 of crack cocaine in Penticton that looks similar to the substance above containing fentanyl. (Interior Health photo)
Interior Health warns of fentanyl contaminated crack-cocaine in Penticton

There have been recent reports of overdose associated with the use of this substance

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

Most Read