Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The first B.C. communities targeted for mass COVID-19 vaccination are showing a major reduction in new infections after three weeks of immune response, according to data released by public health authorities Thursday.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is tracking what officials are calling “breakthrough cases,” where people test positive after one or two doses of vaccine. Province-wide from Dec. 27 to May 1, 98.1 per cent of new cases are in people who have had vaccine for less than three weeks, or have not received vaccine. Three weeks or more after a first shot, 1.7 per cent of people have tested positive, and a week after a second dose the infections are down to 0.2 per cent of the total.

Similar results are showing for health care workers in long-term care or assisted living facilities, and vaccinated seniors aged 70 or more living in their communities.

As high-risk communities and the province’s age-based vaccination program pick up speed, B.C.’s overall infection rate has fallen steadily in recent weeks.

“We know that even after two doses, all the vaccines that we have are not 100 per cent effective, but they do absolutely reduce your risk of infection and importantly, they reduce your risk of transmitting to others and they reduce your risk of being in hospital, of needing ICU care or of dying,” Henry said at Thursday’s briefing.

B.C. recorded 587 new confirmed COVID-19 infections in the 24 hours up to May 13, similar to the past week’s daily cases. There are 413 people in hospital, down from 423 on Wednesday, and 131 in intensive care. There have been five additional deaths in the past 24 hours, for a total of 1,632 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.

RELATED: B.C. to use remaining AstraZeneca for second doses

RELATED: B.C. residents age 30 and older eligible for vaccine


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