Look, everyone’s tired of the COVID-19 pandemic, including us, but unfortunately, it has continued into 2022. And talks have continued around natural immunity and how that plays into ending the pandemic.
One event being pointed to now is the hamlet of La Crete using Ichor Blood Services (a private Calgary lab specimen collection company) to test for antibodies. Over 1,200 people paid $100 each in mid-December to have their blood tested for antibodies and while the company has proclaimed “the pandemic is over” in La Crete, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alberta (Dr. Lynora Saxinger) has issued caution with the emergence of the Omicron variant in a story with cbc.ca.
The biggest factor here is the fact it’s still unknown what antibody level for COVID-19 immunity needed is. Last October, Alberta Health found about 40 per cent of those unvaccinated had detectible antibodies. Those who have contracted COVID get some natural immunity, but they can still contract COVID again after a while. And with Omicron, there’s still not enough data to know if previous COVID-19 infections protect people for long from re-infection. So, while natural immunity can be achieved, it’s still not an exact science.
Since the numbers from the testing in La Crete have come out, the question has been posed in many municipalities across the province, including here.
“I don’t think they should be spending money on that until they get an idea of what those numbers actually mean,” said Dr. Saxinger to cbc.ca last week. “I think it might actually create a false sense of security, which may not be the best idea right now.”
We’re definitely not health experts, but all we can do is relay information they provide to us. Could this eventually be a form of proving you’re immune to COVID-19? Sure, but at the moment it’s not being recognized and $100 is a lot of money. When more research is done, maybe this will be an effective way to show you are indeed immunized from COVID. Another challenge continues to be the rapid pace of new variants.
Vaccinations are free, and while many people have already decided that’s not for them, it is an available way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and it can help protect the people around you. As of Jan. 12, 7,981,5443 doses gave been administered, 89.7 per cent of Albertans over 12 have at least one dose, 85.7 per cent of Albertans over 12 are fully vaccinated and there have been 2,259 adverse events following immunization.
And to reiterate, just because you get a vaccine, it does not mean you will not get COVID — it just means symptoms will be much less severe. And the emergence of new variants brings new challenges to vaccines as well, but the government has opened up booster shots to everyone who is six months out of their second dose.
The dawn of a new year is upon us, and while we all hope it means fewer restrictions and less COVID talk on a day to day basis, we don’t know for sure how much longer this will last. Be courteous when around other people and wear a mask indoors to limit the spread of germs. Even if you don’t like wearing a mask, I think you can admit it’s led to fewer colds over the last two years. Let’s keep working together and try and end this thing because it truly has grown tired.