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.
I never gamble because I don’t see myself as a ‘lucky’ person. I don’t even win anything at those stupid scratchies. So having to take a chance on AZ, however ‘small’ that risk may be, scares me silly.
And I hate not having a choice of vaccines. Not just because of the risk of blood clots, but because AZ is quite a bit less effective against Delta than Pfizer.
And while I’m at it, I hate the Morrison government for being such cheapskates. They put all their eggs in the nice, cheap AZ basket which is a big part of the reason we are so very far behind in terms of vaccinations.
And last but not least, I hate GladysB, Premier of NSW, for deliberately allowing the Delta outbreak to spread to just about every part of Australia [and even to New Zealand]. I don’t know if it was sheer hubris – “We are the gold standard state so we don’t need to learn from anyone else” or her emphasis on the economy rather than on lives, but she has helped to destroy the reasonable standard of living we used to enjoy despite the pandemic.
GladysB decided that we would all have to ‘live with Covid’, and now none of us have a choice in the matter.
So no, I’m not happy, and the next person who hangs shit on anti-vaxxers, just remember this: whether you agree with their reasons or not, those people are afraid. That is not a good place to be.
I’m not anti-vaccines in general, but I know what it feels like to be afraid of AZ. Trust me, it’s not a pleasant feeling.
In the coming days, the leaked information from the CDC is going to be misrepresented by every anti-vaxxer, conspiracy theorist and general nutter in the world, so we will need facts to counter the inevitable surge of crazy. We will also need to understand the implications of this data for ourselves.
Point number 1.
We have to understand that all this data is about the Delta variant. Delta is a mutation of the original Covid19 virus and its an order of magnitude more infectious.
The graphic below [taken from the CDC powerpoint slides] compares various forms of infectious diseases. The higher up a disease is located on the graphic, the deadlier it is. The further to the right it is, the more infectious it is.
As you can see, Delta is not very high up on the graphic – i.e. it’s nowhere near as deadly as say Ebola – but it is a long way to the right. That means it is as infectious as chickenpox. And chickenpox is the second most infectious disease of all.
Point number 2.
All of the current, first generation of vaccines were developed in a mad rush…for the Alpha variant of Covid19 – i.e. the original version of the virus. We’re only now starting to get reliable data about how well these vaccines work against Delta.
Point number 3.
Emerging data shows that none of the current vaccines work as well against Delta as they do against the Alpha [original] variant. When it comes to reducing the severity of disease and the likelihood of death, however, they still work extremely well, with a few exceptions.
Point number 4.
The exceptions include people with compromised immune systems, and the elderly. For them, the vaccines do not work as well. The operative phrase here is ‘as well’. That means people with cancer who are on chemo, or those with autoimmune diseases being treated with immuno-suppressant drugs, or steroids or a whole range of other immune system related conditions, all of these people must continue to take extra precautions. These include the wearing of masks, social distancing, not congregating in crowds, hand hygiene etc.
Point number 5.
Apart from the immuno-compromised, the vaccines do NOT provide 100% protection against infection, even for normal, healthy people who are fully vaccinated.
According to the CDC, 35 thousand fully vaccinated people out of a total vaccinated population of 162 million are likely to get what’s called a breakthrough infection. This is when you become infected despite the vaccine. In percentage terms, this is 0.02% of fully vaccinated Americans spread throughout the US.
Point number 6.
Vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections are still far better off than those with no vaccination at all. The graphic below, also taken from the CDC powerpoint slides, shows a side-by-side comparison of vaccinated versus non-vaccinated people:
The green bars represent the unvaccinated population, and the levels of disease, hospitalization and death that they suffer from Delta.
The small blue bars represent the vaccinated population who experience disease, hospitalization and death as a result of breakthrough infection. It’s like comparing an ant to an elephant.
Point number 7.
In my last post I talked about Israeli data showing that Pfizer protection against transmission – i.e. the chance of infecting others even though you yourself are unaffected – drops to about 39% after four months. CDC data shows that if you are fully vaccinated and get breakthrough infection, you will be just as infectious as someone who has no vaccination at all.
This, more than anything else, is why both the US and the UK have mandated mask wearing again. To protect both the unvaccinated AND the vaccinated.
To put this transmission problem into context, we have to remember that these first generation vaccines were designed to reduce serious disease and death if you caught Covid. No one knew whether they would provide any protection against transmission at all.
Then we started getting data from Israel and other places that suggested that yes, not only did the vaccines protect against serious disease and death, they protected against transmission as well! Hooray.
Unfortunately, we did not have all the data back in January and February, 2021. Now in July, we know that the protection against transmission is temporary, at best.
Point number 8.
The implications of this new data are that we will have to continue all the OTHER pandemic precautions as well as getting vaccinated. That means wearing masks in public, social distancing, stringent hygiene, restrictions on congregating in crowds etc. Not the news any of us want to hear, but still miles better than dying.
There will be deaths though. Most will be amongst the anti-everything crowd who won’t get vaccinated, won’t wear masks, won’t accept lockdowns and other public health orders. Sadly there’s not much anyone can do to save those who refuse to be saved.
Our job is to protect ourselves and those we love by continuing to live cautiously until we see what effect booster shots have on Delta. With luck, the boosters will do the trick. If they don’t, we’ll have to live cautiously until the next generation of vaccines are ready.
We’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to get vaccines so quickly, even if they aren’t a magic bullet against Covid. Now we just need to be sensible…and patient. Covid is not finished with us yet. Stay safe. -hugs-
This is an important video for everyone to watch as Dr John Campbell explains about the adverse reactions recorded for the Pfizer vaccine. He then goes through the first peer reviewed paper published for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
As Australia has aligned itself heavily with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, it’s very reassuring to know that it is both safe and efficacious! Just as a matter of interest, Australians won’t be getting any vaccines until some time in March, 2021. As we have the virus under control [knock on wood], we can afford to wait.
Feels great to get some good news on the virus front for a change. 🙂
I think a lot of people do not understand what ‘herd immunity’ actually means. This first graphic is what the very first case of Covid-19 would have looked like – 1 infected person surrounded by millions of people with no immunity at all:
Now contrast this with what happens when a population has 70 – 90% herd immunity:
When a newly infected person crops up, he or she is surrounded by people who have already developed immunity to the infection so the virus has nowhere to go and dies out.
Or to put it another way, the virus cannot reach new victims because they are protected by a barrier of people with immunity.
This is what is meant by ‘herd immunity’ – the protection of the uninfected by those who have already been infected. You could also say this is the protection of the weak by the strong. Bear that in mind.
But, and there’s always a but, you can only reach herd immunity if almost everyone in the population is already immune. The question then is: how do we get to herd immunity?
In the modern world, vaccination programs have all but eradicated diseases such as measles, small pox, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, rabies etc. More importantly, people who have not been vaccinated are still protected because of herd immunity.
Is there any other way of acquiring herd immunity?
The simple answer is no, the more complicated answer is ‘maybe’. If you look at the list of quite deadly diseases eradicated by vaccines, you notice that they’ve been around for thousands of years. Assuming they were infecting quite a lot of people for all those thousands of years, why did humanity not gain herd immunity to them?
The answer is that 70 – 90% mentioned above. Relatively benign infections that didn’t kill off their hosts may well have led to herd immunity in the past, but deadly ones like small pox clearly didn’t. Isolation probably protected a lot of populations in the ancient world, but even today, with so many people travelling from one side of the world to the other, it’s still not possible for that many people to be infected and recover all at once.
Without an effective vaccine, Covid-19 will continue to circulate through the global population for years, much like the Spanish Flu.
If an effective vaccine against Covid-19 is never found, we will have no choice but to gain herd immunity the hard way. But the cost will be heavy. The elderly and those in ‘care’ will die. A lot of medical personnel will die. And so will people of all ages who have pre-existing medical conditions.
One of the highest co-morbidities for Covid-19 is diabetes.
Other co-morbidities include high blood pressure, lung conditions, HIV etc.
Now imagine all these people dying, year after year after year until we reach the magic number of 70 – 90% immunity.
It’s a horrible scenario, yet many governments are flirting with the concept of ‘natural herd immunity’ because they see it as a magic bullet that will save their economies. Sweden is one such country, and the almost inevitable results are now in:
From left to right, we see Country, population, number infected [with Covid-19] and number died [of Covid-19].
Sweden has roughly twice the population of Norway, Finland and Denmark, but about five times as many infections. When it comes to deaths, however, Sweden is waaaaay out in front. But it’s the breakdown of those deaths that’s truly horrifying. A great many have occurred in care homes where the sick have received next to no basic care. Instead, many doctors have recommended cocktails used for end-of-life palliative care. These cocktails often have a negative effect on the respiratory system. And yes, that means the sick and elderly die faster.
When I was a kid, I remember learning that the ancient Greek state of Sparta would place newborn babies out on a hillside overnight, so that only the strongest would survive to become warriors. Later on, I learned that in [some?] Eskimo tribes, the elderly would walk out onto an icefloe and calmly wait to die, so they would not be a burden on their communities.
I do not know how accurate either of those stories are, but they taught me the difference between voluntary euthanasia and state sanctioned, involuntary euthanasia. I felt sad for the Eskimo elders, but even now, so many decades later, I still feel nothing but contempt for the Spartans. They mandated that helpless babies should die to save Spartan society from becoming ‘weak’…
Do I really need to spell it out? Any society that puts money and saving ‘the economy’ ahead of lives, no matter how much of a ‘drain’ those lives may be, is no better than the Spartans.
I used Sweden as the example in this post because the results of that country’s experiment have been so stark, but almost all of the countries of the First World have flirted, or are still flirting, with herd immunity…as a choice. Instead of saving lives while waiting for a vaccine to become available, they’ve chosen strategies that encourage herd immunity in the hope that their economies won’t suffer.
The reality, however, is that no country is near the magic number required for herd immunity to actually work. Not one. Meanwhile, the death toll rises.
So who is to blame?
The epidemiologists who recommended that governments aim for herd immunity?
Or the politicians who accepted those recommendations and went ahead with what amounts to involuntary, state sanctioned euthanasia?
Or are we, ultimately to blame?
Yes, us. The highest death tolls have so far occurred in prosperous, Western, democratic countries. That means we voted those politicians into power. Or maybe we just didn’t vote at all and allowed them in by default. Either way, we got the leaders we deserve.