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Nearly one-third of eligible local residents have had first COVID-19 shot

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Troy Shantz

Almost one in in three eligible Sarnia-Lambton residents has received a first COVID-19 shot, and the vaccine appears to be having a positive impact on the community, says Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health.

An outbreak at Sarnia’s Rosewood Retirement Village was declared over last week after 19 residents and two staff tested positive for the virus.

No deaths or severe illness were reported among the residents, who had almost all received two doses of vaccine, Dr. Sudit Ranade said.

“A similar outbreak in a similar facility with similar ages of population unvaccinated, we would have expected more severe disease and we might have expected some deaths,” Dr. Sudit Ranade said Thursday.

“It’s not definitive, but it’s nice additional evidence that supports the idea that these immunizations really decrease the severity or the burden of illness in the people who received the vaccination.”

Health officials said they still don’t know whether the two most recent COVID-19 deaths this week were people who had already been vaccinated.

As of Wednesday, 33,868 people have received a first dose, which is 31% of the eligible population of Sarnia-Lambton. Another 1,575 had their second shot and are fully immunized, Lambton Public Health said.

The local infection rate has improved over the past week. As of today, 119 active cases are reported with just a single outbreak, which is at an undisclosed workplace. Fifty-four people have died since the pandemic began last March.

But a shortage of vaccine from the province has become a “critical barrier” to fully implementing the local rollout, the health unit said.

Two immunization clinics this week in Forest and Brooke-Alvinston had to be rescheduled to a later date.

When asked if the two people who died of COVID-19 this week had been vaccinated, Lambton Public Health decline to answer.

Meaningful insight into vaccine efficacy must come from large-scale clinical trials and observational studies over time, said epidemiologist Siobhan Churchill.

“With the knowledge that the population of Lambton County is not large enough to achieve the necessary level of precision, and the concern that local numbers could be misinterpreted as indicators of vaccine efficacy, LPH will not publish the prevalence of vaccination among local COVID-19 cases.”



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