I’m getting my second booster [4th jab] tomorrow, so I thought I’d better do a RAT [Rapid Antigen Test] before hand…just in case. As you can tell by the title, I’m still Covid-free.
Given how long the Offspring and I have been self-isolating, you’d think we’d have nothing to worry about, but the reality is that we haven’t been living in a complete bubble. We do have to go to the chemist [pharmacist] every so often, or the IGA [local independent supermarket], or into a service station to pay for petrol, or into a confined space for a booster. We’re always masked, but these days most other people are not. So when you get the sniffles, you worry.
In this case, I was 99.9% certain we only had hay fever – the wattle is blooming like crazy at the moment. Nevertheless, with so many people around us catching the damn virus, it’s hard not to worry. Anyway, it seems we’re still part of the roughly 17 million Australians who still haven’t had the virus.
In case anyone’s wondering, the booster I’m getting tomorrow will be Pfizer. Working on the theory that mixing and matching increases the effectiveness of the current vaccines/boosters, I’ve had the two initial AZ jabs, one Moderna jab and now one Pfizer jab. I guess that makes me a Heinz. 😀
Before I begin, I have to clarify that I’m only looking at the effectiveness of vaccines against the original Omicron variant in this post. I have no information about the Omicron BA.2 variant.
First up, a truth that no government wants to admit: neither Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca do much to protect against symptomatic disease with Omicron:
I took this data from a study that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine: https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2119451 If you scroll down to Table 3, which appears just before the Discussion, you can check the raw data for yourselves. This data compares the effectiveness of all three vaccines against the Delta variant and the Omicron variant. This is an example:
As you can see, AstraZeneca is shown by its scientific name rather than the one we’re all familiar with. The same applies to Pfizer – BNT162b2 – and Moderna – mRNA-1273. For each vaccine, Table 3 displays its effectiveness against Delta and Omicron at specific time points. The 2 – 4 week time point is when the vaccine is at its most effective in preventing symptomatic disease. You can then see how quickly that effectiveness wanes over time.
Because I found the presentation of the data a bit hard to follow, I translated it into a spreadsheet and made it more visually clear:
Despite my best efforts, the data is still confusing so let me walk you through it. On the far left you have the effectiveness of the three vaccines at just 2 doses. As you can see, after 5 months, none of them are very effective and AstraZeneca is the least effective of all. This means that if you are Australian, over 65 and received only 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, you have virtually no protection. AT. ALL.
Until just 2 weeks ago, I fell into the ‘no protection at all’ category.
Now let’s have a look at what effect the boosters have. I’m going to start by looking at each vaccine boosted by itself – i.e. by a third dose of the same vaccine.
Looking at the table above you can see that 2 doses of AstraZeneca boosted with a 3rd dose of AstraZeneca – i.e. 3 doses of AstraZeneca – provides a maximum of 55.6% protection at 2-4 weeks. By week 9 – just over 2 months later – that protection has dropped to 46.7%.
Two initial doses of Pfizer followed by a Pfizer booster – i.e. 3 doses of Pfizer – provides a maximum of 67.2% protection. By week 10 that’s dropped to 45.7% protection.
Two initial doses of Moderna followed by a Moderna booster – i.e. 3 doses of Moderna – provides a maximum of 66.3% protection. I can’t tell you what that protection becomes at week 10 because there is no data for it. The reason there’s no data is because there were only 7 people in the study who had 3 doses of Moderna. I guess that was simply too small a sample size to be significant.
To recap, 3 doses of the same vaccine at weeks 2 – 4 – i.e. when protection was highest – resulted in:
55.6% protection for AstraZeneca
66.3% protection for Moderna
67.2% protection for Pfizer
Pfizer comes out on top, but only by a very small percent. AstraZeneca is roughly 11% worse than either of the mRNA vaccines. That said, the level of protection still isn’t stellar…for any of them.
Now, let’s see what happens when you mix-and-match vaccines.
When AstraZeneca is boosted by Pfizer, the level of protection at week 2-4 is 62.4%. AstraZeneca boosted by Moderna provides quite a bit more protection at 70.1%.
Significantly, boosting with Moderna causes that protection to also wane less by weeks 9 – 10:
60.9% with Moderna
39.6% with Pfizer
I’m pleased to say that I received my Moderna booster two weeks ago so my protection is reasonably high. I say ‘reasonably’ because I only have 1/2 a thyroid. That means my immune system is a bit compromised and the vaccines can’t provide me with the same level of protection.
The most interesting bit of data, however, is yet to come.
If you received two doses of Pfizer and followed that up with the Moderna booster, you will have the highest level of protection at 73.9%. By contrast, two doses of Moderna followed by a Pfizer booster will only give you a 64.9% level of protection.
So in conclusion:
Get a booster as soon as you hit the 3 month mark [after your second dose of whatever].
If at all possible, get the Moderna booster, especially if you received AstraZeneca as your base vaccine.
Any booster is better than none.
Keep taking precautions even after you receive your booster – even 73.9% protection isn’t all that much.
The study I’ve referenced here only looked at protections from symptomatic disease. Not severe disease. Not death. If the vaccines work the same way against Omicron as they did against earlier variants then there’s a good chance they will protect against severe disease and death, but the data isn’t in yet, so they may not. And given that BA.2 is a bit of an unknown quantity, we don’t even know if the boosters are as effective against it as they are against BA.1.
Governments and media have gone quiet on the pandemic, leading a lot of people to believe that the danger is over. It’s not. It’s just that no-one wants to admit that vaccines are not the magic bullet we were promised. The continuing death toll here in Australia and elsewhere in the world is proof of that.
Get your booster. Wear a mask. Don’t be a fool, the life you save may be your own.
Some time ago, I posted about the need to aspirate the needle before injecting with AstraZeneca vaccine. When I finally had my first jab of AZ, I asked the nurse to aspirate the needle, and that simple change helped my nerves a lot.
Now, there’s proof that not aspirating the needle before injecting mRNA vaccines can cause myopericarditis, which is a rare but known side-effect of mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna.
Rather than trying to explain the research myself, please watch this video in which Dr John Campbell explains the terms, the research and the results:
I know a lot of you have already had both doses of whichever vaccine was available. But…it’s pretty obvious that we’re going to need booster shots fairly soon. That means you will once again be at the whim of fate.
The number of people unfortunate enough to develop myopericarditis is small, but it is real so, when it’s your turn for a booster…go to your GP and ASK for the needle to be aspirated. For your health and peace of mind.
So, 5,106,876 out of a total population of 25,698,093 won’t be counted at all. AT. ALL. That’s a lot more than I was expecting.
Hmm, if we subtract all those kids from the total population, how many people are left?
25,698,093 – 5,106,876 ————– 20,591,217 ————–
So, only 20,591,217 Australians are actually eligible for the jab.
Hmm, how much is 80% of 20,591,217?
It’s 16,472,973 Australians. [I looked it up]
If we take that number away from the total population [ 25,698,093 ] it means that 9,225,120 Australians of all ages will remain unvaccinated. 9 million people who will be vulnerable to Delta when we reach 80% and the need for lockdowns becomes ‘unlikely’.
Unlikely? We’re going to throw over 9 million people under the Delta bus but yay, we won’t have to have lockdowns?
‘Oh, but kids don’t get that sick…’
At least 1,245 Indonesian children have died from coronavirus since the pandemic began, although the actual number is thought to be higher, given the low level of testing for the virus in remote areas.
The majority of those who died were under the age of five.
According to the Indonesian Paediatric Society (IDAI), more than 100 Indonesian children have died every week since July from COVID-19.
‘Oh, but those that refuse to be vaccinated have only themselves to blame…’
Almost five million people deserve to get sick and possibly die? What sort of a sick society are we?
And what about those for whom the vaccine doesn’t work? Oh…you didn’t think of that, did you?
You know when a vaccine is said to be 90% effective [e.g. Pfizer and Moderna], have you ever wondered what happens to the other 10%?
Well, for that 10% of people, the vaccine won’t work, or will only work partially. And AstraZeneca has an even lower effectiveness rate.
‘Oh…but herd immunity will take care of that!’
Herd immunity is ‘Abracadabra!’ the magic phrase that will solve all our problems. Except it won’t, not with Delta and this first generation of vaccines. Why? Because herd immunity works by surrounding unvaccinated people with a ‘fence’ of vaccinated people. That ‘fence’ stops Covid from being able to reach the unvaccinated people.
But what if there’s a hole in the fence?
In fact, there are two holes in the herd immunity fence. The first one is that breakthrough infections happen, and when they do, the fully vaccinated person is as infectious as if they hadn’t been vaccinated at all. The second is that this crop of vaccines do not provide permanent protection from transmission.
In fact, that protection looks as if it might wear off rather quickly after just four months. This basically means that the fully vaccinated could well end up infecting the unvaccinated themselves…which means:
There will be NO herd immunity.
In a year or two, there may well be vaccines that protect us from serious disease AND from infection. Only then will we finally achieve herd immunity.
Getting back to the Doherty report, their modelling included a number of assumptions based on data from March this year. Back in March, there was very little Delta circulating. Now, it’s running wild. Back in March, we were also delighted to discover that the vaccines provided good protection from transmission. Now we know that protection is short-lived.
Things have changed, but our politicians are still flogging the same plan. Living with Covid is smoke and mirrors with a generous dash of tricky numbers.