There’s good news and bad news when it comes to COVID-19 on the North Shore.
The good news is COVID-19 infections appear to be stable and even slightly declining.
The bad news: vaccination rates among children remain low compared to those of adults. And the youngest children – who only became eligible for vaccination in August – have the lowest vaccination rates of all.
Less than one-in-seven West Van kids under five have received COVID jab
According to B.C.’s Centre for Disease Control, only 13 per cent of children under five years old in West Vancouver have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccination while 20 per cent of North Vancouver’s youngest kids have been vaccinated so far.
Rates are better for older children. Between 51 and 61 per cent of children aged five to 11 have received two doses of vaccine.
In general, the older you are on the North Shore, the more likely you are to have received a COVID-19 jab. Most adults became eligible to receive a fourth booster shot this fall – although those who actually had a COVID infection this summer were advised to wait three months to maximize the effectiveness of their next jab.
Among adults over 18, between 36 and 37 per cent have already received that fourth booster shot – available both through the ICBC test centre clinic and pharmacies.
The booster shots are specifically designed to target the Omicron variant of the virus, which has been the dominant strain circulating in B.C. since January. The newest vaccine – Pfizer’s bivalent booster shot – designed to target the B.4 and B.5 strains of Omicron, which are the dominant strains of the virus circulating in the province, is also now being distributed as a booster shot.
COVID viral loads decreasing
Currently, COVID-19 infections on the North Shore appear to be stable and even declining.
That’s indicated by recent viral loads at the Lions Gate sewage treatment plant, considered a reliable indicator of community-wide infection levels, as well as official PCR-test case counts, which measure only the most serious infections.
Viral loads measured in most wastewater plants around Metro Vancouver – including Lions Gate – have been decreasing in recent weeks.
Official PCR case counts among the most vulnerable on the North Shore were 12 cases between Oct. 23 and 29 (six were in North Vancouver and six were in West Vancouver). The figure is considered a vast underestimate of actual numbers but does point to trends in infection rates.
Hospitalizations stable in VCH
COVID hospitalizations in Vancouver Coastal Health are stable, according to BCCDC, with 74 people in hospital as of Nov. 3.
Five of those people were in critical care. There were four COVID-19-related deaths in the past week in VCH.
BA.5 Omicron dominant strain
According to the BCCDC, the newest and more transmissible Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 make up almost all of the COVID-19 cases in B.C. today, and drove an earlier summer surge in COVID-19 infections.
Experts have said that immunity to the COVID-19 virus appears to wane over time, and tends to decline significantly if it’s been more than four months since your most recent COVID-19 vaccination or infection.