Is the Third Shot Like a Third Strike?

How many strikes does a player get in a game? How many shots do you need to be protected?

It is common knowledge that the COVID-19 vaccine shots are temporary – about six months and their protection against infection drops like a rock. So is a booster shot, a third COVID-19 vaccine shot, going to give you absolute protection?

Third Shot

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/01/19/1071809356/covid-booster-omicron-efficacy?fbclid=IwAR2o6ERtR73x8TJ37XwemqlbSk2fZhWd4tKEP1zVd16yzZKtgoDm5sQwiow . A third vaccine shot offers some protection, but not anything more significant than the original series of shots. The Pfizer mRNA vaccine shot provided around 95% protection against getting infected for the first couple of months. After six months, the protection from infection drops below 50%.

The Pfizer booster shot is also less than six months. Researchers in the United Kingdom report that the booster loses about 30% of its value in two weeks. By three months, the protection level drops below 50%.

To be fully protected, you need to get a booster shot monthly. However, that is impractical and has not been evaluated to be safe. Maybe the most at-risk people should be candidates for a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly booster shot?

Omicron’s Future

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/01/14/1072504127/fact-check-the-theory-that-sars-cov-2-is-becoming-milder. I am seeing a few articles about how the Omicron variant surge is starting to recede (a bit). https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ is my go-to source for pandemic data. The current surge is infecting well over three million people daily.

The Delta and previous surges never reached a million new cases a day. The daily deaths from the Omicron variant are significantly less than daily deaths from all previous surges – around seven thousand a day for Omicron to between ten thousand and nearly fifteen thousand daily deaths in 2021.

Yes, the Omicron variant is milder. I expect that many people have become infected and never showed symptoms – they were asymptomatic. However, the sheer numbers of new cases, even with lower infection rates, challenge some hospitals to treat the pandemic virus and remain a safe haven for treating other patients.

The risk of an infected Omicron variant patient entering a hospital is about half of that recorded from the Delta variant. One in four will see a ventilator compared to the Delta experience. Again, sheer numbers are taxing healthcare systems.

Vaccine Protection

https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-vaccine-comparison. This link provides an excellent comparative assessment of the pandemic vaccines. However, little is given about the protective value against infection after six months. Our bodies are enhanced with protection recognizing antibodies with vaccines.

Naturally acquired immunity has similar results. However, vaccines look at a tiny sliver of proteins on the SARS-Co-V2 virus. The mRNA vaccines were developed using the original virus model. The Alpha and Beta variants were not much different, and the vaccine worked well early on.

Then the Delta variant appeared in our midst with substantial changes to the spike protein arrangement. More people become infected because our bodies could not quickly identify the invading virus to respond effectively. An infected person’s immune system sees the spike and the entire viral molecule’s geometry.

I equate it to the visibility a driver sees while driving at night in a severe rainstorm compared to driving on a bright sunny afternoon. The vaccine gives your immune system a slice of the road ahead – a thin slice. Naturally acquired immunity provides a clear picture of the road and the countryside.

One of my favorite expressions is ‘Follow the Money,’ which comes from the 1976 movie, All the President’s Men. There is no money to be made in shouting the differences between vaccines and naturally acquired immunity. Therefore, keep quiet.

Conclusion

The pandemic virus will continue to mutate. It is what viruses do. The Omicron variant is less virulent than the original virus and variants – Alpha, Bravo, and Delta. Five times more people are being infected daily with the Omicron variant than the Delta variant. However, the daily death figures are still lower for Omicron than Delta. That is definitely a blessing.

The United States has just under 75 million people infected with the pandemic virus, with a bit less than 900,000 not living through it. Do we have only 75 million people with naturally acquired immunity? No, it is significantly higher than that. Double? Triple? I could accept between 150 million and 200 million as realistic assessments of how many Americans have naturally acquired immunity.

Herd immunity is now calculated at above 85%, given the infection rate of Omicron. With a population of 330 million, when will the United States reach a plateau where the virus cannot spread effectively? Maybe this year? Maybe next year? Who knows? In the meantime, remember that over 99% of the people survive COVID-19.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 


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