Canada continues to claim victories in the Covid battles as the vaccination rollout campaign reached milestones one after another. With 78% of eligible Canadians 12 or older receiving at least one dose, the extensive vaccine coverage has seen the pandemic waves receding, as confirmed new case numbers repeatedly hit a record low since Sept. However, millions of Canadians haven't yet rolled up their sleeves for a single shot of the vaccine, rendering the first dose uptake under the expected level of 90% -- which can keep the pandemic well under control. Meanwhile, the virus in retreat has fueled the unvaccinated community's perception that they are safe and could forever ride out the pandemic waves without ever getting vaccinated.
Contrary to their beliefs, vaccine deniers face heightened risks of catching the Covid variant as Canada's vaccine coverage expands. Lurking behind the flattened curves are the variant outbreaks threatening to take an unprecedented toll on unvaccinated people. With an incredible ability to dodge antibodies' defense, the Delta variant is the most transmittable among all and has quickly soared into the most dominant Covid stain across the globe.
Studies have shown Delta is barely sensitive to the antibodies developed in those previously infected with Covid, revealing the powerlessness of the marginalized immunity built after Covid infection. To ward off the vicious variant requires a solid defense from the dosages of vaccine-induced antibodies. But even one jab of the Covid-19 vaccine provides an insufficient dosage of antibodies against the variant. The odds of protection is merely 35% for one shot and can reach 88% with two doses, a slight drop from the 93% against the non-variant virus in clinical trials.
The study results have shown the vaccines' vulnerability to the variant while laying bare the amplified risk of catching the disease by unvaccinated people. If one dose of vaccine can hardly keep the odds of getting infected at bay, the viruses would enter our system to hijack our cells in the absence of vaccine-based immunity. Without the presence of vaccine-induced antibodies, the infected cell would turn into a virus factory, releasing hundreds, if not thousands, of virus particles to attack more cells, rendering the person to be infected or suffer even more severe forms of the disease. " If you are unvaccinated, you will get infected. You will have a higher probability of ending up in the hospital," said Dr. Theodora, Hatzionannou, a virologist at Rockefeller University.
Moreover, the province under the lifted lockdown measures will provide the breeding ground for the revival of the variant outbreaks. As more restaurants and retail reopen and the airline industry resumes operations, the risks of coming in close contact with viruses grow, leaving the unvaccinated at a greater risk of being attacked by the variant. "As the Delta variant continues to spread, the danger is mounting for unvaccinated New Yorkers," says the chair of the Health Committee in New York City, which lifted the state of emergency after reaching the partial vaccination rate of 70%.
After eliminating social restricting rules and lifting capacity limits in LA County, the Delta variant has surged in the US' most populous district, with 98% of new cases and deaths in the vaccine-hesitant group. Despite a seemingly rosy picture of the current pandemic war in Canada, the rapid spreading Delta variant has sparked widespread fears over Covid's revival in the fall. Protecting their safety and health-wellbeing amid a potential fourth wave should be the prominent concern for the unvaccinated Canadians.
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