Vaccine did not stop outbreak at Kelowna care home, but prevented hospitalizations, deaths: IH | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vaccine did not stop outbreak at Kelowna care home, but prevented hospitalizations, deaths: IH

Interior Health's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Albert de Villiers
Image Credit: Submitted/Interior Health
March 12, 2021 - 2:25 PM

Two of the 11 residents infected with COVID-19 at the recent Cottonwoods Care Home outbreak in Kelowna were fully vaccinated, meaning they had received two doses.

That second dose was administered “relatively recently,” Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for Interior Health, said at a news conference today, March 12. Still, they contracted the virus even though they got their first dose weeks ago.

“That’s kind of what we’ve been saying from the beginning was that, yes, the vaccine is not necessarily going to stop the virus from spreading,” Dr. de Villiers said. “But it’s going to prevent you from ending up in hospital. It’s going to prevent you from getting serious consequence and it’s going to prevent you from dying.”

The outbreak started in the short stay part of the facility, generally where people live after being transferred from Kelowna General Hospital.

READ MORE: Staff buy in on immunization at Kelowna's Cottonwoods care home expected to improve

While Interior Health has not determined just how it started, some of the short-term residents may not have been vaccinated before arriving at Cottonwoods, Dr. de Villiers.

Seven of the 10 who were infected were not vaccinated, he said.

Testing of all residents uncovered many of the cases, often in people with no symptoms.

More cases may spring up in the coming weeks, but if people have been vaccinated the symptoms should be mild, he said.

He could not offer a detailed explanation as to why only 65 per cent of staff had been vaccinated there, other than to say that some may not have been on shift when it was offered or had been away or were allergic. He did not know if any staff members had actually refused the vaccine.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said, yesterday, that 90 per cent of staff in long-term care facilities across the province have been vaccinated.

Efforts are ongoing to get as many staff and residents at Cottonwoods immunized and any new residents coming into the facility will be vaccinated before arriving.


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