First Nations Pandemic Response Team clarifies data on breakthrough cases that was 'taken out of context'
The Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Team is addressing misinformation that has arisen from data released at a provincial update on Monday.
The team’s public health lead Dr. Marcia Anderson said the data shows the number of people who are hospitalized is much lower in vaccinated people than those who are not.
However, she adds while the vaccine is highly effective, it is not perfect and breakthrough infections will occur.
Anderson said a slide presented at a news conference Monday that only showed breakthrough numbers and not unvaccinated numbers has been taken out of context to discourage vaccinations.
The news conference was called to announce public health officials’ recommendation of a third COVID-19 shot for First Nations people living on reserve.
“In Manitoba, about 83 per cent of people are fully vaccinated, but only 30 per cent of cases occur in that, which means 70 per cent of the cases that we have are occurring in people who are not vaccinated, even though it's a much smaller percentage,” Dr. Anderson explained.
According to the province, there have been just over 1,300 breakthrough infections, a little under 400 of which are in First Nations people.
Five have been admitted to the ICU, which Anderson calls a small number.
The First Nations team said it is now focused on encouraging first and second doses, along with a third dose for those living on reserves.
“Because we want to maintain those high levels of protection against severe outcomes and we want to protect local workforce capacity, we are recommending people get a third dose. That is to maintain the very high degree of effectiveness of the vaccine,” Dr. Anderson explained.
As of Thursday morning, there were 533 active cases in First Nations people in Manitoba, with most occurring in the Northern health region and in those aged 10 to 17.