Colby stresses vaccine as “our ticket out” of pandemic

Chatham-Kent’s top doc’s recommendation for the best COVID vaccine remains the same: “The one that you’re offered.”

“The so-called efficacy rates are highly determined by when and where the testing trials were done,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby. “If they were done in a jurisdiction before these variants of concern arose then the efficacy rates would look very high at prevention. But if the testing was done when there was a high prevalence of variance in the population tested it wouldn’t look quite as good in terms of preventing infection.”

The question persists following initial test results that showed Pfizer and Moderna had higher rates of COVID symptom prevention than AstraZeneca. All three vaccines prevented the more serious outcomes of the virus.

“The critical factors here are, do the vaccines prevent serious disease, hospitalization and death, and do they prevent transmission to others?” says Colby. “There is more and more data coming in that they are fabulously successful on both counts.”

“This is critical because the ability of any kind of epidemic to be transmitted through society or a population really is dependent on being able to find susceptible individuals. Getting everyone vaccinated will make it very difficult for the virus to find susceptible people. The vaccines are our ticket out,” he says.

The search for this ticket has caused some stir among local residents who voiced concern at people coming from out of town to Chatham-Kent pharmacies. Colby responded that “There have been a number of people from Chatham-Kent that have gone to pharmacies in other jurisdictions as well.”

“In the past we’ve had number of outbreaks here in Chatham-Kent where the origin leads back to neighbouring jurisdictions,” he says. “And it is in our interest that everybody gets vaccinated. We don’t exist in isolation.”

Colby also expressed his approval that the municipality voted down a motion by Councillor Mark Authier at last week’s council meeting to write a letter to Premier Doug Ford asking to end the current lockdown.

“I had expressed my concerns with it to the mayor and the CAO,” says Colby. “In the end it was the wisdom of council not to support that motion.”

May 3 there were 14 new COVID cases in Chatham-Kent with 11 recoveries, bringing the active total to 39. Three more people were hospitalized with the virus and there were two active workplace outbreaks. There are 33,678 Chatham-Kent residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine and 1,550 people who’ve received both shots.

Ontario recorded 3,436 new COVID cases Monday as adults 18 and older became eligible for the vaccine in 114 hotspot postal codes.

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TORONTO STAR