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Delta variant outbreak at Foothills hospital has some questioning vaccine effectiveness

Last Updated Jun 16, 2021 at 10:53 pm MDT

File photo of Foothills Medical Centre. (PHOTO: Crystal Laderas, CityNews)

CALGARY — There have been more questions surfacing about vaccine effectiveness after a handful of fully vaccinated individuals at Foothills Medical Centre became infected with the Delta variant.

Since the initial outbreak, there has been one additional case of the variant in one of the units, with two deaths now being linked to one of the outbreaks at the hospital.

While there have been some concerning outcomes in Calgary, overseas there have been studies that show encouraging signs that display the effectiveness of being fully vaccinated — and how it protects against severe outcomes from the Delta variant.

Public Health England studied 14,000 people confirmed to have contracted the variant — finding the two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine were 90 per cent effective in keeping people out of the hospital.

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Analysis showed that the protection was lower for those with just one shot of AstraZeneca, with it being just 71 per cent effective, while Pfizer was 94 per cent effective.

Here in Alberta, officials remain concerned about the strain, as reports suggest it is 60 per cent more transmissible than the original virus.

“At this point, we’re staying focused on not only the number of people who are getting their first and second dose but our declining numbers we’re watching, and certainly trying to do all we can still with the public health measures in place to contain it in the Calgary area,” said Dr. AndrĂ© Corriveau on Tuesday. “And, you know, we are still confident that our strategy is aimed in the right way to get as many Albertans immunized as possible, as soon as possible.”