The politicization of COVID-19 vaccines – and yes, almost everything else that has to do with the pandemic – has led to confusion, if not complete fatigue.
And some posts circulating on social media seem to build on these feelings and try to cast doubt on the effectiveness of the vaccines. A video on YouTube mixes comments from the White House medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who highlights their protective ability with screenshots of news headlines, starting with those citing 100% efficiency, and then through others reporting sharply lower percentages. Set to the rapidly rising tempo of the orchestral piece “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” the video ends with headlines about the profits of drug companies.
Related:Erie County’s COVID-19 case rises for the fourth week in a row, led by record-high total Fridays
But slowing down the video to analyze the headlines reveals more complexity. Some report studies that only looked at infection rates; other, more serious outcomes, including hospitalization and death. Some are about vaccines that are not offered in the United States
In short, the video promotes misunderstandings by mixing unequal data points together and omitting key details.
Still, one can not help but wonder what is really going on with efficiency – and is any of it a surprise?
If you do not read on, then know this: No vaccine is 100% effective against any disease. The COVID-19 shots are no exception. The effectiveness of preventing infection – defined as a positive test result – seems to decrease sharply in some studies, the longer it takes after completing the one- or two-shot regimen. But in terms of key measures – prevention of serious illness, hospitalization and death – real-world studies from the US and abroad in general show that protection weakens slightly, especially in the elderly or sick people, but remains strong in general, even with the increase in the more infectious delta variant of COVID-19 virus.
The bottom line? Getting vaccinated with one of the three vaccines available in the United States reduces the chance of becoming infected in the first place and significantly reduces the risk of hospitalization or death if you receive COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a study showing that fully vaccinated people were more than 10 times less likely to die or be hospitalized than the unvaccinated.
“When it comes to what matters, vaccines hold up really well,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician and senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “They are designed to tame the virus.”
More:Housing Assistance, Business Grants and More: Erie City Council Approves $ 31M Deferral of COVID Funds
So what does ‘efficiency’ and ‘efficiency’ mean at all?
Before a drug or vaccine gets the green light from federal regulators, it is tested on volunteers who are randomly assigned to either the product or placebo. Then researchers compare how the groups are doing. In the case of a vaccine, one looks at how well it prevents infection and whether it protects against serious illness, hospitalization or death. These clinical trial results are often referred to as efficacy measures.
In the real world, however, the performance of a drug or a vaccine is affected by several factors, including a much larger population receiving it, some of which have underlying conditions or socioeconomic circumstances that are different from those of the clinical trial. The real performance goal is called efficiency.
Once approved for emergency use after clinical trials, both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna two-dose vaccines reported efficacy against symptomatic disease in the mid-90% range. Johnson & Johnson single-dose shot – which was tested later when there were several variants – reported an overall effect in the high 60% range.
These figures exceeded the 50% threshold sought by health officials as a minimum for the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. Also keep in mind that the real effectiveness of the annual flu vaccine is often 40% to 50%.
Another point: 95% efficiency does not mean that 95% of vaccinated people are never infected. What this means is that a fully vaccinated person who is exposed to the virus faces only 5% of the risk of infection compared to an unvaccinated person.
More:Monoclonal antibodies kept the woman in the Erie area with COVID-19 out of the hospital
Have the efficiency figures changed?
Yes, decreases in the effectiveness against infection are seen in some studies. A few have also expressed concern that protection against serious illness may also be diminished, especially in the elderly and patients with underlying medical conditions.
The reasons for the decline vary.
First, when the vaccines were approved, large parts of the United States were under tighter pandemic-related rules for staying at home. Nearly a year later, restrictions – including mask rules – have been loosened in many areas. More people are traveling and going into situations they would have avoided a year ago. So the exposure to the virus is higher.
More:The latest data on COVID-19 in Erie County
Some studies from the United States and abroad show that the time that has elapsed since vaccination also plays a role.
The Lancet recently published a study of more than 3.4 million Kaiser Permanente members, both vaccinated and non-vaccinated, reviewing the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine. It showed an overall average of 73% efficacy against infection during the six months after inoculation, and an overall 90% efficacy against hospitalization.
More:Younger children in Erie County are starting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
However, protection against infection dropped from 88% in the month after full vaccination to 47% after five to six months. The time since vaccination played a bigger role than any changes in the virus itself, the researchers concluded.
“It shows that vaccines are extremely effective over time against severe outcomes,” said the report’s lead author Sara Tartof, an epidemiologist at the Department of Research and Evaluation for Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “Against infection, it drops over time, something that is not unexpected. We have boosters for many other vaccines.”
The virus has also mutated.
“Along came the delta,” said Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “Because this virus was so highly contagious, it changed the results a bit.”
More:1 in 2 Erie police officers who died were positive for COVID-19, 2. had symptoms, says the chief
And some vaccinated people can become seriously ill with COVID-19 or even die, especially if they have an underlying medical problem, as was the case with General Colin Powell. He died of COVID-19 complications even though he was fully vaccinated – probably because he also had a blood cancer called multiple myeloma, which can slow down the body’s response to an invading virus as well as to vaccination.
More:Erie County’s COVID-19 match is very different from a year ago
What are we going to do with these shifting numbers and the recent approval of booster shots?
Most scientists, researchers and doctors say that the vaccines work remarkably well, especially to prevent serious illness or death.
And it is not uncommon to need more than one dose.
Vaccines for shingles and measles both require shots, while people need to be revaccinated against tetanus every 10 years. Because the flu varies each year, flu shots are annual.
More:Erie County reports first cases of flu in season 2021-22 as COVID-19 pandemic continues
Immune response is often better when vaccines are separated by a few months. However, during the proliferation of COVID-19 vaccines, so many people became ill and died of COVID-19 every day that the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC decided not to delay but to approve the first and second doses within about a month. from eachother.
“We learn as we go,” Schaffner said. “It was always expected that there might be follow-up doses.”
Now, the recommendations call for a second dose for anyone who has received a J&J shot at least two months before. For those who received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, the recommendation is to wait six months after the second dose to receive a booster.
USA Today reported on Friday:
“An advisory panel of experts voted unanimously … to support an extension of the availability of boostershots, saying that people over the age of 50, many of whom have medical conditions that put them at extra risk of severe COVID-19, should receive a The committee spent three hours reviewing safety data and considering the benefits that booster shots would have in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, quickly endorsed their decisions, making them federal policy.”
The Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech recordings, which have been available to a select group for some time, should be immediately available to any adult who got their first shot at least six months ago.
Individuals who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine were already encouraged to receive a booster shot within two months of their initial dose to bring their protection up to the same level as those who received the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. BioNTech or Modern.
It is allowed to mix and match vaccine labels.
J&J and Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots are identical to initial vaccines, while Moderna decided that a half-dose booster would be just as protective and lead to fewer side effects.
More:The CDC makes COVID vaccine boosters available to all American adults, recommended for 50 and older
KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism on health issues. Together with policy analysis and opinion polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is a gifted nonprofit organization that provides information on health issues to the nation. This story was produced in collaboration with PolitiFact.
Disclaimers for mcutimes.com
All the information on this website - https://mcutimes.com - is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. mcutimes.com does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website (mcutimes.com), is strictly at your own risk. mcutimes.com will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of our website.