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Vaccinations are successfully protecting residents of Haldimand and Norfolk from COVID-19

Over the past few weeks, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has investigated a number of recent COVID-19 cases and their COVID-19 vaccine status. Promisingly, data shows that vaccines are successfully protecting residents from COVID-19.

Of the most recent 200 cases, only 23 (11%) had received their first dose more than 14 days before their symptom onset date. That means that 189 of the 200 most recent cases were amongst individuals who would have been considered unvaccinated, understanding that the COVID-19 vaccine does not produce an effective immune response in the first 14 days following immunization.

While the first dose of vaccine is considered effective at reducing the severity of infection with COVID-19 (e.g. reducing the likelihood of hospitalization or fatality), a second dose is needed to maximize effectiveness. Of all 200+ cases reported in the past two weeks, 197 patients were not considered fully vaccinated at the time of their symptom onset. Of the cases who were vaccinated, patients were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.

Importantly, COVID-19 vaccination is trending up in Haldimand and Norfolk, approaching 70% of local residents having received at least one dose of vaccine. More than half of all cases reported during the past two weeks were not eligible to have received a vaccination, based on provincial eligibility 14 days earlier.

As the HNHU continues to vaccinate eligible individuals, data suggests that cases will continue to trend down and that the cases that do occur will be less severe, requiring fewer hospital supports and resulting in fewer fatalities.

“It is incredibly important for the Health Unit to continue to administering COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible, and that residents get both their first and second doses at the earliest opportunity available. The data is clear that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19,” noted Acting Interim Medical Officer of Health Dr. Alex Hukowich.

Hukowich noted that despite promising data regarding the efficacy of vaccines, public health measures – including social distancing, hand washing and mask-wearing – should continue to be practiced.