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Young unvaccinated Albertans need ‘significant ICU care,’ says ER doctor

Last Updated Sep 10, 2021 at 6:36 am MDT

Registered nurse Jane Abas tends to a COVID-19 variant patient who is intubated and on a ventilator in the intensive care unit at the Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

EDMONTON (CityNews) ─ As Alberta battles a Delta-driven fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, doctors on the front lines say people under 50 fighting the virus are mostly unvaccinated.

Emergency room doctor Shazma Mithani has experienced first-hand the devastation the fourth wave has wreaked on Alberta’s hospitals, particularly with unvaccinated people under the age of 50.

“I have yet to see anyone under the age of 50 who is vaccinated and needs significant ICU care,” said Dr. Mithani.

“I’ve seen people in their 20s, in their 30s getting admitted to ICU, and unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of pregnant patients have very severe illness.”

The province’s own health data shows that over the last 120 days, 100 per cent of COVID deaths in the 12-29 range and the 30-39 range were unvaccinated.

Nearly 87 per cent of deaths in the 40-49 range were unvaccinated as well.


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Dr. Mithani calls it a slow-moving disaster. She says even if vaccination rates did increase, it would take nearly six weeks to see the results in case numbers.

“We’ve seen in other provinces that as soon as vaccine passports have been instituted, there’s a huge jump in vaccination appointments,” she said. “And unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, the $100 announced last week has barely moved the dial.”

On Wednesday, 18 COVID deaths were reported in the province. Of those, one person was in their 30s, and another was in their 40s.