Experts say you don’t have to worry about the coronavirus mutants that overwhelm the vaccine.


Washington — Over the weekend, seemingly nasty news came out of Israel. Research The coronavirus vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech suggests that it was less effective against the first mutant encountered in South Africa, B.1.351. One heading Called Research “alarm”.

Meanwhile, two of the most read articles on the New York Post as of Monday morning are about a 31-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man in New York City who tested positive for coronavirus three weeks after vaccination. was. Despite being vaccinated, I was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.

Together, such reports in the mainstream media of “breakthrough” infections of vaccination may contribute to the inaccurate story that the COVID-19 vaccine is ineffective. Developed.

Amy Middleman, Paul Offit, Allison Singer

Vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit, Center. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

“Mainstream media wants to scare people.” Dr. Paul Offit The director of Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, a pioneer in vaccine science, told Yahoo News. The criticism seems to be supported by a recent treatise by Dartmouth economist Bruce Sacredote and his colleagues. found Even when the news about the pandemic is really encouraging, 91 percent of the media reported in the United States is in a “negative tone.”

Ofitt believes that the image of a widely broken defense is simply not accurate, so “we need a different word than” breakthrough. ” “These vaccines do what they need to do,” Ofitt said by keeping people away from the hospital.

“There will be few breakthrough cases,” said Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, director of tropical medicine at Baylor University. The next few weeks.

“Until then, that’s why we recommend masks,” Hotez said, along with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distance.

The Israeli study combines non-pharmaceutical measures, such as those proposed by Hotez and others for months, with a particularly widespread vaccination against all the publicity that the discovery has produced about breakthrough infectious diseases. It is clarified that it is effective in the case of. According to this study, vaccines are “the safest and most effective means of preventing future spread” of coronaviruses, including South African and other strains.

The Biden administration is desperate to increase vaccinations so that the country can return to normal in the summer (the president advertised it is close to the July 4 holiday). However, reports of breakthrough infectious diseases may conclude to people that vaccination is useless in the first place. Extensive vaccine hesitation is far more likely to prolong a pandemic than a breakthrough infectious disease plague.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Top Advisor on the Biden Administration’s Pandemic, said: Monday briefing “There is no 100% effective or effective vaccine at the White House Coronavirus Task Force. That is, regardless of the effectiveness of the vaccine, breakthrough infections always occur.”

Patients receiving COVID vaccine

Patients receiving COVID vaccine in Louisville, Kentucky on Monday. (John Cherry / Getty Images)

“The incidence of breakthroughs is very low,” Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said in an email to Yahoo News. Reflecting what Ofit et al. Claimed, Topol said that such infections were “very benign and associated with pneumonia and serious illness,” despite images that could be caused by “breakthroughs.” There is little to do. “

The vaccine used in the United States All about 90% valid Prevention of infections; and more importantly, they are almost 100% effective in stopping serious illness and death. But they’re not perfect, and with more than 3 million jabs in the United States a day, there’s no doubt that the anomaly will occur.

“We anticipate a breakthrough rate of infection. Otherwise, all vaccine trials would have reported 100% efficacy,” he wrote. François Barrow Twitter, a geneticist at University College London, A clear reference to an Israeli report that has not yet been peer-reviewed in a long thread criticizing the “ridiculous and vigilant” study.

“Breakthrough infections are a minor concern unless they cause serious illness in the infected person, and subsequent transmission of the virus remains limited,” Barrow added.

During the 2019-2020 flu season, the flu vaccine was only 39% effective, but it was still able to prevent 7.5 million flu cases, of which 6,300 died, scientists estimate. .. The point was clear. Even vaccines that are far less effective than the vaccines currently available for coronavirus block the spread of the virus.

That is, when people are vaccinated. According to data presented by Fauci, influenza vaccination rates for the relevant period were 51.8% in all American adults and children 6 months and older. About 19.9 percent of Americans are completely vaccinated against the coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Some of the population also has antibodies from being infected with COVID-19).

Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci. (Susan Walsh / AP / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Even if the vaccine cannot prevent the infection, it often prevents serious illness,” Fauci added. For example, the 31-year-old woman in the New York Post article had apparently minor symptoms.

Fauci also criticized Israel’s work on South African varieties, calling it “as confusing as possible” and criticizing the way the findings were reported. “The vaccinated individuals had essentially no deaths or hospitalizations,” he apparently referred to an Israeli study at another time during the briefing, but explicitly mentioned it. There wasn’t.

South African variants account for only 1 percent of all Israeli infectious diseases. In fact, the authors of the study point out that “selection does not strongly support the B.1.351 variant,” at least as far as Israel is concerned, and cautions against “over-interpreting” the results.

A much more common variant is B.117, also known as the British variant. It is also currently the dominant stock in the United States. Vaccines are very effective against it.

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