Most Covid-19 hospital cases not vaccinated, doctor says
A total of 88 per cent of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 over the last few weeks were not vaccinated, the Bermuda Hospitals Board revealed today.
The BHB said 81 patients treated between March 14 to May 1 had not had the vaccine, 10, or 11 per cent, had received one dose, and one, one per cent, had both doses.
But Wesley Miller, the BHB chief of staff, said, although one patient had received two doses, hospitalisation was inside two weeks of completion, which meant full immunity had not been reached.
Dr Miller added: “With a significant portion of the population now either fully vaccinated or having had one shot, that these people make up such a small proportion of hospitalisations indicates that there is a protective effect even before you reach full immunity, which is two weeks after your second shot.
He said: “If vaccination didn’t work, or caused more illness the numbers would be very, very different.
“In fact, if we hadn’t had people vaccinated during this surge, hospitalisation numbers and deaths could have been higher.”
Dr Miller added it was likely that, because those who ended up in hospital were usually at least two weeks post-infection, they may have become infected very soon before or after their first shot, when immunity was low.
He added: “We should be reassured that we are seeing the same kinds of results in Bermuda as the rest of the world – vaccination is safe and protects you from serious illness and hospitalisation.
“The vaccine teaches your own immune system to recognise and fight the virus if you are exposed to someone with Covid-19.
“If you are not fully immunised and fall ill, the next line of defence will be medications and, if serious enough, other interventions to help you breathe.”
Dr Miller warned: “Covid-19 will continue to impact our lives unless we as a community stand together.
“Our own immune system is the most powerful protection we have – we need to nurture it with healthy living so it is strong and teach it to recognise the virus with vaccination so it can respond quickly.”
He told the public: “If the first time your immune system sees the virus is when you are exposed, then it takes two weeks to build antibodies and that is a long time for Covid-19 to do damage and this can lead to more serious illness.
“The small fragments of the spike protein in the vaccine are enough for your body to be ready, and they break down and leave your body without any other damage.”
Dr Miller added that increased restrictions had worked to minimise transmission risk – but were not a long-term solution.
He said: “Getting vaccinated is preventive. There have been no hospitalisations caused by vaccination, despite nearly 60,000 doses being delivered.”
Dr Miller added there had been almost 2,000 coronavirus cases in the latest outbreak.
But, in the period reviewed, infections had caused 92 hospitalisations and 19 deaths