COVID-19 in Fully and Partially Vaccinated Individuals

News Type: 
Public Service Announcement

YELLOWKNIFE - May 10, 2021 - COVID-19 vaccines prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19. However, the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer would like to remind people that fully and partially vaccinated individuals can still get sick and transmit the virus.

Throughout the vaccine rollout, the OCPHO has consistently communicated that COVID-19 vaccines prevent a very high proportion of infections, but not all. The initial clinical trials demonstrate that 14 days or more after the second dose, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines prevent about 95% of infections. Both vaccines prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19.

At present, with large numbers of unvaccinated people (like school-aged children) in the Northwest Territories, and the demonstrated increased transmissibility of new variants, the OCPHO believes it is important that even contacts who are fully vaccinated must isolate.

In the setting of the N.J. Macpherson outbreak, fully vaccinated contacts must isolate in accordance with the Public Health Order- Yellowknife, Ndilǫ, Dettah and Behchoko Temporary COVID-19 Restrictions (May 5, 2021).

In situations of very high exposures to COVID-19, there will still be people who develop COVID-19 infections even if they are fully vaccinated. The risk for fully vaccinated individuals is likely about one-tenth the risk of non-vaccinated individuals.

Therefore, it is important for the public to recognize that even after vaccination, they should keep up with routine public health measures like:

  • Washing your hands often
  • Keeping physical distance from others
  • Wearing non-medical masks when physical distancing isn’t possible
  • Keeping your circle small
  • Cleaning and disinfecting your home regularly
  • Staying home when you’re sick
  • Getting tested when you have symptoms

We continue to strongly encourage all eligible people to help protect themselves from COVID-19 and its most serious impacts by getting vaccinated.  


All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer for the Northwest Territories.

Relevant links

Media Contact

Dawn Ostrem

Manager, COVID Communications Operations

Health and Social Services

COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat