CM – Scientists say the vaccination is surprisingly high against Covid

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Anecdotes tell us what the data can’t: Vaccinated people seem to be surprisingly often infected with the coronavirus. But exactly how often is not clear, nor is it certain how likely it is that they will transmit the virus to others.

Although it is obvious that vaccination still provides effective protection against the virus , There is growing concern that vaccinated people may be more susceptible to serious illnesses than previously thought.

There is a lack of scientific studies with concrete answers, so decision-makers and business executives are forced to formulate plans based on fragmented information. While some renew mask requirements or delay office reopenings, others cite the lack of clarity to justify staying on course. It can all feel like a mess.

« We have to be humble about what we know and what we don’t know, » said Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and head of the nonprofit Resolve to Save Lives. « There are a few things that we can definitely say. One of them is that this question is difficult to answer. »

Without clear public health messages, people who have been vaccinated are confused about how to protect themselves. How vulnerable they are is a key variable not only for public health officials looking to figure out when to need booster injections, for example, but also to make decisions about whether to withdraw reopenings amid a new wave of the virus. On a smaller scale, the Unknowns made music lovers unsure whether it was okay to see a concert and led to a new round of hang wrestling among parents who pondered what the school would be like.

Instead of answers a large number of case studies have emerged that provide slightly different pictures of breakthrough infections. Variables such as the time of the surveys, whether the Delta variant was present, how much of the population was vaccinated and even the weather at that time made it difficult to compare and identify patterns. It’s hard to say which data could ultimately carry more weight.

« It’s very clear that we have more breakthroughs now, » said Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California at San Francisco. « We all know someone who had one. But we don’t have great clinical data. »

One of the most famous outbreaks among vaccinated people occurred in the small beach town of Provincetown, Massachusetts, when thousands of Vaccinated and unvaccinated people gathered on dance floors and at house parties to celebrate the holiday – and what seemed? like a turning point in the pandemic. About three-quarters of the 469 infections were vaccinated.

Authors of a CDC case study said this could mean they are as likely to transmit Covid-19 as unvaccinated. Even so, they warned that as more people are being vaccinated, it is natural that they will also make up a greater proportion of Covid-19 infections and this one study is not enough to draw conclusions. The incident prompted the CDC to reverse a recommendation made just weeks earlier and to re-urge those vaccinated to mask themselves in certain situations.

Nonetheless, the specific details of this group of cases could make this outbreak loud Gandhi especially bad.

« The rate of mild symptomatic outbreaks in this population was higher due to a lot of indoor activities (including intimacy), rain this weekend, little leisure time, and a mix of people with different vaccination statuses, » she said in an email.

Meanwhile, a newly published, much larger CDC case study of infections in New York State found that the number of breakthrough infections had increased steadily since May, accounting for nearly 4% of cases by mid-July. These researchers cautioned that factors such as the easing of public health restrictions and the rise in the highly contagious Delta variant could affect results.

Another CDC case study in Colorado found that breakthrough infection rates in one county, Mesa , at 7% versus about 5% was significantly higher than in the rest of the state. The report suggested that this may be because the Delta variant was more prevalent there, but also noted that the age of the patients in Mesa and the lower vaccination rate may have played a role.

Research from Israel seem to support the idea that protection from serious illness wears off in the months following vaccination and, more recently, that breakthrough cases can eventually lead to spikes in hospital admissions. The information is preliminary and major breakthrough cases are still rare, but it supports the event that some people will need booster shots in the coming months.

Case studies and data from some US states also have an increase in over time Breakthrough cases shown. But since the Delta variant is also on the rise, it is difficult to say whether the dwindling immunity to any type of coronavirus infection is to blame or whether the vaccinations against the Delta variant are particularly ineffective. It can of course be both. Behavioral changes in vaccinated individuals could also be a factor when they return to social gatherings and travel and eat indoors.

Even so, some facts are well documented at this point. Vaccinated people infected with the virus are much less likely to go to hospital, need to be intubated much less, and are much less likely to die from the disease. There is no doubt that vaccines offer significant protection. But a large portion of the nation – nearly 30% of US adults – was not vaccinated, a fact that has conspired with the highly contagious Delta variant to propel the country into a new wave of outbreaks.

« The big picture here is that the vaccines are working, and the reason the US surge is because we are getting too few vaccines, » said Frieden.

To some extent, breakthrough cases of viruses are expected. No Covid vaccine has been 100% effective in clinical trials – even the best vaccines never are. The more the virus is circulating, the greater the risk of breakthroughs. It’s also common for some aspects of viral immunity to naturally decline over time.

Right now, there are simply more questions than answers. Are breakthrough infections ticking because of the Delta variant, declining immunity or a return to normal life? Are vaccinated people more susceptible to serious illnesses than previously thought? How common are breakthrough infections? It’s everyone’s guess.

« In general, we have to make public health decisions based on imperfect data, » said Frieden. « But there’s just a lot we don’t know. »

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and will be published via a syndicated feed.)

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