Fully vaccinated patients most at risk of dying from Covid have underlying health problems or are in the oldest age groups, a health expert says.
In New South Wales, 35 fully vaccinated people have died after contracting the virus – including three deaths recorded on Tuesday.
The numbers account for about 11 percent of the total 316 deaths since the onset of NSW’s Delta outbreak, reports the ABC.
Tony Cunningham, director of the Center for Virus Research at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, said the numbers don’t reveal the whole story.
Thirty-five fully vaccinated people have died in New South Wales since the Delta strain outbreak (pictured, woman receiving her Pfizer shot)
“In the trials, of course, we know that these vaccines are about 97 percent effective against deaths,” he told the news channel.
“This is essentially a very small percentage of people who are not protected by the vaccine.”
He revealed that the immune system was compromised and residents in the oldest age groups were most at risk of dying, even if they were fully vaccinated against the virus.
Age and underlying health conditions are some of the reasons why patients die from Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated (pictured, stock image)
NSW Health does not always reveal whether a patient dying from Covid-19 had an underlying medical condition, with several deaths in fully vaccinated patients remaining unspecified.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy or taking immunosuppressants may be among those with a compromised immune response to the jab, said Prof. Cunningham.
“Only about 55 percent of people who are immunocompromised will develop adequate levels of antibody after immunization and that may require a third boost to get another 25 percent higher.” [to adequate levels],’ he said.
He added that people over 80 had a 20-fold increased risk of dying from Covid-19.
Residents who receive a double shot are 70 to 95 percent less likely to get sick from Covid compared to unvaccinated people, the study said. NSW Health.
Prof Tony Cunningham revealed immunocompromised and residents in the oldest age groups were most at risk of dying (pictured, a health worker vaccinates an Indigenous member of the community)
However, they noted that as of March 2021, 3.7 percent of locally acquired cases have reported being fully vaccinated, compared to 52 percent of unvaccinated cases.
“As the proportion of the population that is vaccinated increases, the number of cases that are fully vaccinated will increase,” NSW Health outlined in its weekly surveillance report.
“But this doesn’t mean the vaccines don’t work.”
Of the 5,896 people hospitalized with Covid-19 in NSW, 472 were admitted to the ICU – only nine of the patients were fully vaccinated.
NSW recorded 863 new infections and seven deaths on Tuesday as the state gets closer to reopening.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy or taking immunosuppressants may have a compromised immune response to the Covid shot
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the state’s vaccination rate had reached 85.7 percent, while 60.4 percent are fully vaccinated.
NSW as a whole is gearing up to get out of lockdown in a fortnight after nearly four months of stay-at-home orders for much of the state.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian on Monday declared the start of the ‘Covid-normal’ era from December, with the phasing out of state or region-wide lockdowns starting within two weeks.
Ministers have warned that those who do not opt for a jab could be left out in the cold until the state achieves a jab rate of at least 90 percent.
Those who have not been given two shots cannot enter restaurants, go to shops and pubs, and may miss sporting events and travel.
Even after meeting the target of 80 percent of eligible adults to be fully vaccinated, 1.6 million people would still be vulnerable to Covid-19.
‘Double dose vaccination is a huge protection against hospitalization,’ said Ms Berejiklian.
“If we open with a double dose of 70 percent, everyone who interacts with each other will be fully vaccinated.
‘That greatly reduces the chance that someone will have to be hospitalized.’