“The bulk of our cases are in people under-60, but they still generate 40% of our hospitalizations and they are primarily all in unvaccinated individuals.”

Chief Medical Health Officer for Saskatchewan Dr Saqib Shahab in making this submission at Monday’s PEOC technical briefing was addressing the issue of breakthrough COVID-19 illness and said that with high case numbers, there are always high risk patients who are hospitalized and subsequently die.

He presented the rationale for booster doses saying that in September, all long-term care residents were offered a booster dose. This dose was rolled out to persons 80-years and older from October 4th.

“We also know that in persons 80-and-over, about half of our hospitalizations are right now in people who are fully vaccinated but seeing breakthrough disease, and that is more likely not only if you are older, but if you are older and six months out from your second dose and have other illnesses, especially illnesses that compromise your immune system. So that is the bulk of hospitalizations and unfortunately deaths we are seeing in persons 80 and older.”

Shahab added that even in the higher age groups, vaccinated people comprise a smaller number of breakthrough illnesses requiring hospitalizations.

“Ten per cent of individuals 80 and older, 70 and older and 60 and older, are generating 75 per cent of the hospitalizations. Those are the 10 per cent who are unvaccinated and the 90 per cent who are vaccinated  are generating a much smaller proportion of breakthrough illness requiring hospitalization.”