One reason for happiness is having our expectations met. When our expectations are not met, then we are generally unhappy. With the pandemic ongoing for over a year and a half, we have had a few expectations.
One is that the vaccine will protect us from the virus. Another is that when enough people are vaccinated, the virus will die out, and we can return to everyday life.
I am afraid that neither will happen in the near term – next six to twelve months.
https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/vaccines-and-immunization-what-is-vaccination. When I think of a vaccine, I conger up something in my mind that once I have been inoculated with a vaccine, I will no longer be infected by that virus or bacteria. Vaccines protect us against harmful diseases before we become exposed to them. Our natural defenses are primed to look for that disease invader and attack it before it can do us harm.
However, we are seeing that the current mRNA vaccines are not preventing infection of COVID-19 but merely reducing the severity of the disease, thus reducing the risk of hospitalization and death.
This is a round-about way of protecting me. But, unfortunately, current research shows that people who have been fully vaccinated are becoming infected and infecting others. So we are back where we started last year before vaccines. Except that the protection offered reduced the stress on healthcare systems and overall mortality.
Yes, it is remarkable that those vaccinated can experience no symptoms, mild symptoms, but nothing serious for the most part. And, yes, the mortality being reduced is also a plus. However, the overall survival rate for coronavirus is above 99%. So, is that something we should worry about?
Maybe if our bodies are challenged with multiple health issues – obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. But, if we are healthy otherwise, is there a real risk? I am sure that a healthy person can succumb to any disease at any given time.
We have had months of pandemic experts tell us to wash our hands, disinfect surfaces, social distance, and wear masks. When was the last time we were told how to build up our immune systems? Unfortunately, I recall very few articles devoted to the immune system during a pandemic over the past year.
https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/covid-pfizer-vaccine-effectiveness/2021/10/05/id/1039197/. Pfizer is acknowledging that their mRNA vaccine is waning in effectiveness over time. Fully vaccinated people are filling up our hospitals. This new wave of hospitalization did not happen right after the people received their second dose. It was months later when the ability of the vaccine to thwart the virus faded.
Pfizer is telling us this week that their vaccine is 90% effective in preventing hospitalization. That is great. However, I expect a vaccine to protect me from getting the virus, not prevent my hospitalization. It seems a bit backward. Yes, I want my risk of hospitalization and death reduced from this virus, but I want assurances from my vaccine that I will not get the disease.
The most recent studies are showing higher levels of fully vaccinated people being hospitalized. Pfizer is touting that only a bit more than five percent of the fully vaccinated became infected and less than seven percent ended up in a hospital through August. That was August – two months ago.
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/covid-54-of-hospital-patients-with-virus-are-fully-vaccinated-1.4670229. Ireland has over half its hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients who were fully vaccinated. Ninety percent of Ireland’s vaccinated citizens have received the Pfizer vaccine. This article was published in mid-September 2021.
https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/public-health/nearly-60-of-hospitalized-covid-19-patients-in-israel-fully-vaccinated-study-finds.html. Israel has 60% of its patients hospitalized who had been fully vaccinated – 78% of them with the Pfizer vaccine. And that was in the middle of August 2021.
Pfizer recognizes that the Delta variant has gained the upper hand in the pandemic battle. The effectiveness of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine dropped from 93% in the first month after the second dose to 53% four months later. Other variants were not as effective in breaking through the vaccine’s protection. The other COVID-19 variants showed the vaccine’s effectiveness drop from 97% after one month to 67% after four months.
Pfizer claims victory over the Delta variant with a 90% effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations after six months. Unfortunately, the article does not tell us how they calculated 90% effectiveness in reducing hospitalizations.
The Other mRNA Vaccine?
https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-we-know-about-how-long-the-pfizer-and-moderna-covid-19-vaccines-work#Moderna-maintained-efficacy-up-to-5-months. Yes, the Moderna mRNA vaccine is seeing similar losses in effectiveness over time.
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)02183-8/fulltext#%20. This past week, the Lancet reported Pfizer’s vaccine effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infection dropped from 88% after one month to 47% after five months.
I researched several articles looking for similar results about Moderna and have found nothing specific. However, all point out how the Moderna vaccine offers over 90% effectiveness in keeping you out of the hospital. The Pfizer effectiveness articles are recent, and I am confident that future articles will discuss the effectiveness of the Moderna mRNA vaccine in preventing infection.
I expect vaccines to prevent me from infection. If I am not infected, I never have to worry about being hospitalized or dying from that disease. Yet, the vaccine world theme is changing. Initially, we were told to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/op-ed/bs-ed-op-0804-breakthrough-covid-20210803-t32trfpiwzdf5okfar45f64whi-story.html. Now we know that is not true. Fully vaccinated people can get infected and infect others – just as unvaccinated people. For example, check the link above – local house party – all fully vaccinated – nearly 80% became infected with COVID-19 by the party’s host.
The rhetoric is changing about the protections offered by mRNA vaccines. For example, a casual search to write this article had phrases like ‘substantially reduced the burden of disease by preventing serious illness,’ ‘keeping people out of the hospital appears to be holding steady,’ ‘those fully vaccinated and later contract the Delta variant are less likely to infect others,’ ‘the risk of fully vaccinated people infecting others is much lower than unvaccinated people.’
We did not know that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines would lose their infection prevention strength quickly. If we had, would we have spent the time and money vaccinating everyone? Probably, because we had no other weapon at the time. Fully vaccinated people are protected, but not as robustly as they were the first or second month after receiving their vaccine.
I often opined during my writings that I would wait until September to see what was happening with the vaccines before deciding to get one myself. Unfortunately, I never got to make that decision because I became infected with COVID-19 in late August – fortunately, a very mild case.
Clinical trials were expedited to get an acceptable treatment out the door to combat the pandemic virus. Had these test programs been allowed to go two, three, or more years, we may never have decided on the current vaccines. Or, the vaccine companies may have been able to make adjustments and keep the vaccine’s potency effective for years instead of months.
Part of the mRNA issue (in my opinion) is that the vaccine mimics a small percentage of the viral spike, which has over 1,200 amino acid polyproteins. When our bodies see a particular amino acid sequence, our immune systems react based on the advance warning the mRNA has transferred to our early warning receptors.
We cannot have complete protection when a small portion of the spike represents the entire spike. This argument is not being made regarding the protection afforded by those with naturally acquired immunity from fighting the virus and winning. Our bodies have seen the entire virus, know what to look for in the future, and are better prepared to defend us than the current vaccines.
Monday morning quarterbacking is easy. Ten months ago, we did not know the future and made a choice to reduce the demands on our healthcare systems and hopefully reduce the mortality rate from the virus. Many people were saved because of the vaccines! Maybe the next round of vaccines will outperform the current ones.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com