Manitobans are being urged to continue to take precautions post-vaccination, as public health officials confirmed a fully immunized senior has died from COVID-19.
New data released by the province Monday show a fully vaccinated Manitoban contracted the coronavirus and died from COVID-19 last week.
The person was at least 65 years old, and was infected with the virus more than seven days after they received the required second shot.
No other details were shared, and public health officials couldn’t specify Monday whether the person had caught one of the highly infectious variants of concern.
“Just remember to be cautious for the first three weeks, as you’re letting the vaccine build up in your body." –Lanette Siragusa
It was the first time Manitoba reported a COVID-19 death in a fully vaccinated person.
Eight Manitobans who were partially vaccinated have died from COVID-19, including one in the past week. Public health said only the most recent death was a person between the ages of 18 and 64 who was infected more than two weeks after receiving their first dose.
Since the pandemic began, 1,011 people in Manitoba have died from COVID-19.
Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa warned Manitobans who’ve received their first dose to stay vigilant, particularly within the first three weeks after getting the shot.
About 11 per cent of intensive care unit patients since January were people who’d already received one dose of vaccine — roughly 34 out of 300, Siragusa said Monday. However, most of them were infected within three weeks of receiving their shot, she said.
“The numbers… are in line with what we’d expect to see in any successful vaccination program." –provincial spokesperson
For most people, it takes at least 14 days for the body to build up an immune response following vaccination, though the length of time needed varies from person to person.
Experts agree people who become sick with COVID-19 within 14 days of receiving the vaccine were likely infected with the virus prior to their immunization, or were infected before the body had a chance to develop immunity following immunization.
"Just remember to be cautious for the first three weeks, as you’re letting the vaccine build up in your body," Siragusa told a news conference Monday.
However, when an infection does occur 14 days after immunization, it’s called vaccine "breakthrough."
While highly effective, vaccines approved for use in Canada do not provide 100 per cent protection against the disease; therefore, public health experts recommend vaccinated people continue to follow precautions such as mask wearing and physical distancing until a greater portion of the population is fully vaccinated with two doses and the virus is not circulating widely.
In the past week, out of 3,232 confirmed COVID-19 infections, 173 were among vaccinated people, including 32 fully vaccinated Manitobans, provincial data show.
Last week, 17 vaccinated people required hospital care for COVID-19, including three who were fully vaccinated. A total of just 50 people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 have required hospital treatment since immunizations began Dec. 16.
Since that time, there have been a total of 551 breakthrough COVID-19 infections among people who were partially vaccinated, or 0.13 per cent of those immunized; 240 of the infections were caused by a variant of concern.
As of Monday, 426,833 Manitobans have been partially vaccinated for a period longer than 14 days, according to the province.
There have been 107 breakthrough infections among people who were fully vaccinated, or 0.14 per cent; 40 were caused by a variant of concern, including one by the P.1 variant.
"The numbers… are in line with what we’d expect to see in any successful vaccination program," a provincial spokesperson said.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.