The battle against COVID-19 in Canada might just be turning a significant corner. A new study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has shed light on some hopeful news: a 25% of Canadians now have hybrid immunity against the virus, thanks to a mix of natural infections and vaccinations.
Researchers collect blood samples to conduct research using 3 stages with different timelines.
- The early days, from March to November 2020, before vaccines were on the scene.
- The vaccine roll-out phase spanning December 2020 to November 2021.
- The challenging Omicron period, stretching from December 2021 to March 2023.
The story the data tells is fascinating. In those early days, only about 0.3% of Canadians had come into contact with the virus by July 2020. Fast forward to November 2021, and this number had crept up to 9%. But then along came Omicron, and everything changed.
“Think about it: even with our great efforts at vaccination, the Omicron variant pushed our infection numbers like nothing before. By mid-June 2022, almost half of Canadians showed signs of infection. And by March 2023? A whopping 75%.”Dr. Bruce Mazer from CITF and McGill University
It’s not just the overall numbers, though. When you dive deeper, the age-related stats are pretty revealing. By spring 2023, 80% of young adults under 25 had signs of infection. The numbers stood at 75% for those between 25-39 years, 70% for folks in the 40-59 range, and 60% for those over-60s.
Interestingly, Canada wasn’t alone in this trend. Before Omicron showed up, places in Europe and North America also had similar low infection rates.
And a word of caution among the optimism comes from Dr. Christopher Labos, an epidemiologist. He points out that “Three in four Canadians might have faced COVID, but previous infection doesn’t mean you’re bulletproof.” He’s a staunch advocate for keeping up with vaccinations, especially with whispers of other respiratory illnesses making a comeback.
In anticipation of what lies ahead, the focus now is on a new vaccine booster, tailored for the Omicron subvariant. Dr. Labos’s message to Canadians? Stay informed, stay safe, especially if you’ve never had the virus.