Most of us assume that when we are vaccinated against the pandemic virus or any disease, we should have high immunity levels. The clinical trials for the first couple of COVID-19 vaccines demonstrated around 95% effectiveness.
What Is 95% Vaccine Effectiveness
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(21)00075-X/fulltext#:~:text=Rather%2C%20a%2095%25%20vaccine%20efficacy,at%20least%20for%203%20months. Many of us assume that a vaccine that is rated at 95% effective means that 95 people out of 100 are protected. Right?
The math is not complicated but a bit different. The following formula calculates the ninety-five percent efficacy for a vaccine =100 X (1 minus the attack rate with the vaccine divided by the attack rate with the placebo).
The clinical trials for COVID-19 lasted a minimum of three months. The attack rate of the placebo was 1%. Using the efficacy formula, scientists calculate the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine at the 0.05% level for vaccinated people. That is not the same as 95 people out of 100. It means 99.5 people out of 100 are protected against symptoms.
The clinical trials were very selective in the demographics of the test population. There were no children, pregnant women, older adults with severe respiratory issues, and more in the participants. Add those variables of age, health, gender, race, exposures, transmission levels, attack rates, and more, and the actual effectiveness of a vaccine can be planned for a population.
Assume 100,000 are vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine estimated to have 95% efficacy. Fifty people (99.95%) would become infected with the disease within three months, and the remaining 99,950 people would be protected for a minimum of five months.
What is reality?
https://www.yahoo.com/news/people-vaccinated-against-covid-19-121339654.html. We know that vaccinated people can get the SARS-CoV-2 virus and infect others. That has been seen already, primarily in healthcare workers in California and Texas. Fully vaccinated workers tested positive for COVID-19 at a rate of 0.05%. That result supports the clinical trials.
Not every vaccinated person has the same level of immunity. Underlying conditions, medical treatments at the time of vaccination, weakened immune systems, and more can affect the vaccine’s potency.
Researchers want two levels of protection from the vaccine. The first is to stop the virus from getting a foothold in the body. I have not received my vaccination yet. I probably will in a couple of months – but not the mRNA vaccine. I will opt for a viral vector type. But, when a virus gains traction in the body, scientists want the body’s immune system through the stimulation of the vaccine to thwart the growth of that virus.
Thwarting the growth stops the spread of the disease to others. Why do vaccinated people fear the unvaccinated? Is it fear from what they hear and read? Probably. When you are vaccinated, you should enjoy nearly everyday life – no face masks, no social distancing, etc. However, that is not the norm yet. There is a lingering fear – real or not – that resides in the minds of most vaccinated people.
Increasing the vaccinated population to a level commonly called herd immunity makes it nearly impossible for the virus to continue to infect people. Do the unvaccinated pose a health risk to vaccinated people? No! They do not. They do not have the disease and cannot pass it on to others. It might be more possible for a vaccinated person to acquire the virus and pass it on to other vaccinated people easier than the healthy non-vaccinated.
The Asymptomatic Enigma
https://hartfordhealthcare.org/about-us/news-press/news-detail?articleId=29806&publicid=743#:~:text=The%20South%20Korean%20estimate%20of,%2D19%20are%20asymptomatic. Testing for COVID-19 was limited during the first half of 2020. Many people were asymptomatic – they had the virus without symptoms and could easily infect others. Two weeks after contracting the virus, they have antibodies and are protected like those vaccinated. How many Americans are asymptomatic?
There is no simple answer. Dr. Fauci estimated that 40% of those with COVID-19 were asymptomatic. Some people, percentage unknown, were pre-symptomatic. They were infected with COVID-19 and had no symptoms for the first week. Unlike the asymptomatic people, the pre-symptomatic developed the typical symptoms of coronavirus, generally not enough to force them into a hospital. Some sources estimate that the real asymptomatic numbers are probably as high as 20 times the number of people testing positive for COVID-19. The latest count of total cases of COVID-19 in the United States is around 35 million. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-18272-4.
Even an estimate of ten times means that everyone in America probably should be classified as asymptomatic. Does that mean the fifty-plus percent of people vaccinated added to all those unknown asymptomatic cases means we are well above 80% of the population protected? Wishful thinking!
However, it poses an interesting question. Until there is a fast, cheap, timely, and accurate test for antibodies, we will never know exactly. We know that asymptomatic people, as well as pre-symptomatic people, can infect others. A person who was asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic should be counted in the total of those vaccinated. Should they fear the unvaccinated who never became infected? I think not! Should the vaccinated fear the unvaccinated? I also say, NO!
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/368/6490/489. I do not usually add a link in my judgment. However, researching this article showed many different theories, findings, speculations, estimates, and more regarding how we count who and what with coronavirus. People who have no symptoms are probably the highest infecting agents during the pandemic. Some sources estimate nearly 90% of people were infected by those asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.
It is insidious that a perfectly healthy person can infect another with a deadly disease. In a wartime scenario, chemical and biological agents are used not to decimate the enemy but to cause healthy people to move the unhealthy from the battlefield. It reduces the number of fighters on the front lines. In some cases, those carrying the infected from the front lines can also become infected, resulting in double, triple, or more casualties.
The same thought process occurs with pandemics. It is not a war, though the virus, in the case of COVID-19, works as an excellent biowarfare agent. When we do not know who has the disease, how can we protect against it? Antibody testing is one way. Vaccinations are another. At some point in time, herd immunity will be achieved. The vaccinated should not fear the unvaccinated and vice versa.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com