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cookie47

An article from an Australian Seniors  e magazine which I'm subscribed.Posted for your information and another countries perspective (well one state, NSW...)

 

Unvaccinated won't be granted freedoms, Friday deadline looms

Unvaccinated people may not come out of lockdown even with 80 per cent vaccination rates.

Ben Hocking Digital Editor

 September 14, 2021

NSW started easing its restrictions for fully vaccinated people on Monday, but the state’s Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, suggested it was unlikely unvaccinated people would be released from lockdown even as more ambitious targets were reached.

Ms Berejiklian, who gave a press conference on Monday despite announcing last week she would no longer be giving daily updates, said that while plans to ease restrictions when an 80 per cent double vaccination rate had been reached were not finalised, they were unlikely to include the unvaccinated.

As of Monday, fully vaccinated people in NSW outside the 12 local government areas of concern in Sydney were able to gather outdoors in groups of up to five people (including children), in what was termed ‘picnic day’.

“Once we get to 70 per cent double-dose vaccination, we have outlined the freedoms that exist for vaccinated people,” Ms Berejiklian said. “However, don’t assume that at 80 per cent double-dose vaccination that unvaccinated people are going to have all those freedoms.

“I want to make that point very clear. The government is yet to finalise its plans in relation to what happens at 80 per cent double dose.

“Our key message is – come forward and get vaccinated because once we start opening up at 70 per cent double-dose vaccination, the higher the rate of adult coverage, of people 16 and over, that are vaccinated, the better it is for all of us.

“I want to stress again – for those of you who choose not to be vaccinated, that’s your choice, but don’t expect to do everything that vaccinated people do even when we hit 80 per cent.”

Ms Berejiklian explained that the limits on the freedom of movement of the unvaccinated, when a community vaccination of eligible adults was above 80 per cent, would be a result of both government policy and private businesses being allowed to refuse service to unvaccinated people.

“I don’t want people to think they can sit back, let everybody else do the hard work and then turn up when it is 80 per cent and get everything else that vaccinated people are. That’s not the right message,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“And it won’t only be a government decision. A private business might choose only to welcome patrons who are vaccinated. An airline might say you can only fly with us if you’re vaccinated.”

She said that because so many of the decisions would be in the hands of businesses, she could not provide accurate guidelines for when things might get better for those who choose not to get vaccinated.

“It might not even be a decision for government,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Private businesses, private organisations, may make the decision that they don’t want to welcome unvaccinated people and we’re seeing in places across Europe and North America where private businesses, private entities, are taking matters into their own hands. That’s their prerogative.

“People who want not only the safety of their staff and the safety of their patrons, but also for business continuity reasons. Because obviously an outbreak of a case in any particular location at any time might mean that business has to shut its doors for a period of time. And that is a business risk as well as a health risk.”

The warning from NSW is counter to the situation in the United Kingdom, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson abandoned the introduction of domestic vaccine passports as his government announced that it would be unlikely the country would ever return to lockdowns.

The Conservative Party in the UK objected to the idea of vaccine passports as an unacceptable burden on businesses and an infringement on human rights.

The UK had nearly 30,000 new cases on Sunday and 56 deaths.

In other COVID news, the Health Services Union (HSU) is calling for an extension for the deadline for workers in the aged care industry to be vaccinated, amid calls it will leave the sector incredibly short-staffed.

This Friday is the deadline that was set for workers in the industry to receive at least one COVID vaccination shot, and while 90.8 per cent of the sector has met the deadline already, HSU federal president Gerard Hayes called for the deadline to be extended by between two weeks and a month.

Mr Hayes told The Guardian the extension was needed because of the workforce pressures in the sector.

“They cannot afford to have 5 to 10 per cent of aged care staff not at work,” Mr Hayes said. “I think the concern I have always had, and as the aged care royal commission showed, there are attrition and retention issues in aged care already.

“It is already subject to workforce shortages as we all know.”

Around 70.5 per cent of the aged care workforce are fully vaccinated, with that figure expected to continue to climb in the coming days.

https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/health/covid19/unvaccinated-wont-be-granted-freedoms-friday-deadline-looms/

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This is a follow up to a Post I made regarding my nephew and Partner and child that had covide. He has improved that no oxygen is needed now but it did fall to 90% at one point...The child was on

Yep, 39% effective against actually getting the Delta variant or showing symptoms. The same study also found the Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective in preventing hospitalisation and 91% effective in

You act like this is something new...  Talk about what's going on anywhere you like as long as you leave politics out of it. There are thousands of posts on the pandemic that have managed to

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cookie47
25 minutes ago, cookie47 said:

Ms Berejiklian explained that the limits on the freedom of movement of the unvaccinated,

One point in the article bothers me.

Wording in (part), of the Australian National Anthem says "We are young and FREE".

Whilst I have been vaccinated and obviously not an anti vaxer ,I'm concerned of the two tier environment that is being implemented and hope it's not the start of some slippery slope for future generations....

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HeyMike
2 hours ago, cookie47 said:

An article from an Australian Seniors  e magazine which I'm subscribed.Posted for your information and another countries perspective (well one state, NSW...)

 

Unvaccinated won't be granted freedoms, Friday deadline looms

Unvaccinated people may not come out of lockdown even with 80 per cent vaccination rates.

Ben HockingDigital Editor

 September 14, 2021

NSW started easing its restrictions for fully vaccinated people on Monday, but the state’s Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, suggested it was unlikely unvaccinated people would be released from lockdown even as more ambitious targets were reached.

Ms Berejiklian, who gave a press conference on Monday despite announcing last week she would no longer be giving daily updates, said that while plans to ease restrictions when an 80 per cent double vaccination rate had been reached were not finalised, they were unlikely to include the unvaccinated.

As of Monday, fully vaccinated people in NSW outside the 12 local government areas of concern in Sydney were able to gather outdoors in groups of up to five people (including children), in what was termed ‘picnic day’.

Read: Why older adults are more susceptible to severe COVID

“Once we get to 70 per cent double-dose vaccination, we have outlined the freedoms that exist for vaccinated people,” Ms Berejiklian said. “However, don’t assume that at 80 per cent double-dose vaccination that unvaccinated people are going to have all those freedoms.

“I want to make that point very clear. The government is yet to finalise its plans in relation to what happens at 80 per cent double dose.

“Our key message is – come forward and get vaccinated because once we start opening up at 70 per cent double-dose vaccination, the higher the rate of adult coverage, of people 16 and over, that are vaccinated, the better it is for all of us.

Read: Long-awaited roadmap to freedom released

“I want to stress again – for those of you who choose not to be vaccinated, that’s your choice, but don’t expect to do everything that vaccinated people do even when we hit 80 per cent.”

Ms Berejiklian explained that the limits on the freedom of movement of the unvaccinated, when a community vaccination of eligible adults was above 80 per cent, would be a result of both government policy and private businesses being allowed to refuse service to unvaccinated people.

“I don’t want people to think they can sit back, let everybody else do the hard work and then turn up when it is 80 per cent and get everything else that vaccinated people are. That’s not the right message,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Read: Experts say COVID likely to stymie family gatherings this Christmas

“And it won’t only be a government decision. A private business might choose only to welcome patrons who are vaccinated. An airline might say you can only fly with us if you’re vaccinated.”

She said that because so many of the decisions would be in the hands of businesses, she could not provide accurate guidelines for when things might get better for those who choose not to get vaccinated.

“It might not even be a decision for government,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Private businesses, private organisations, may make the decision that they don’t want to welcome unvaccinated people and we’re seeing in places across Europe and North America where private businesses, private entities, are taking matters into their own hands. That’s their prerogative.

“People who want not only the safety of their staff and the safety of their patrons, but also for business continuity reasons. Because obviously an outbreak of a case in any particular location at any time might mean that business has to shut its doors for a period of time. And that is a business risk as well as a health risk.”

The warning from NSW is counter to the situation in the United Kingdom, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson abandoned the introduction of domestic vaccine passports as his government announced that it would be unlikely the country would ever return to lockdowns.

The Conservative Party in the UK objected to the idea of vaccine passports as an unacceptable burden on businesses and an infringement on human rights.

The UK had nearly 30,000 new cases on Sunday and 56 deaths.

In other COVID news, the Health Services Union (HSU) is calling for an extension for the deadline for workers in the aged care industry to be vaccinated, amid calls it will leave the sector incredibly short-staffed.

This Friday is the deadline that was set for workers in the industry to receive at least one COVID vaccination shot, and while 90.8 per cent of the sector has met the deadline already, HSU federal president Gerard Hayes called for the deadline to be extended by between two weeks and a month.

Mr Hayes told The Guardian the extension was needed because of the workforce pressures in the sector.

“They cannot afford to have 5 to 10 per cent of aged care staff not at work,” Mr Hayes said. “I think the concern I have always had, and as the aged care royal commission showed, there are attrition and retention issues in aged care already.

“It is already subject to workforce shortages as we all know.”

Around 70.5 per cent of the aged care workforce are fully vaccinated, with that figure expected to continue to climb in the coming days.

Have you had your vaccinations yet?

https://yourlifechoices.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/d/774A3CF3654F43342540EF23F30FEDED/B809045830C7B3BAD9767B6002735221

 

And the mind-numbed people all say "yea".

Big brother, tell us what to do. We love you Big Brother. Command us and we will obey.

Big Brother then says...  "I will allow 7 vaccinated people to meet together. No wait, I changed my mind... 5 people only will be allowed to meet".

O thank you Big Brother, your mercy is endless.

Then Big Brother adds... "the unvaccinated will not have this freedom that I so mercifully give to the vaccinated. They do not deserve any freedom and are to be barred from all businesses and health facilities".

Yes Big Brother, DOWN WITH THE UNVACCINATED!

 

And the forum members all say.... yea.

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Salty Dog

No politics on open forum... :rolleyes:

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cookie47
No politics on open forum... :rolleyes:
I see ,SO you would rather operate the forum on Cats, Dogs,And funny video's than informative material about a pandemic from other countries ...

Sent from my M2003J15SC using Tapatalk

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Salty Dog

You act like this is something new... :idontknow:

Talk about what's going on anywhere you like as long as you leave politics out of it.

There are thousands of posts on the pandemic that have managed to keep politics out of the discussion. Well as much as can be expected. 

If you want to talk politics, take it to the CR. You'll find HeyMike is very active and vocal there on the subject... :biggrin_01:

 

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Soupeod
6 hours ago, cookie47 said:

One point in the article bothers me.

Wording in (part), of the Australian National Anthem says "We are young and FREE".

Whilst I have been vaccinated and obviously not an anti vaxer ,I'm concerned of the two tier environment that is being implemented and hope it's not the start of some slippery slope for future generations....

To the topic, I wonder what the Philippines will do eventually? @SkyMan and others might not be able to fly back to the Phils…

Edited by Soupeod
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Soupeod
On 9/4/2021 at 10:14 AM, Soupeod said:

Very good article.

—————————-


What We Actually Know About Waning Immunity
Reports of vaccines’ decline have been greatly overstated.

Read in The Atlantic: 

https://apple.news/AmzpM49xvSrukgbNw3mKcQQ


Shared from Apple News

Here it is, with all the text since I still see people posting misinformation as if they don’t know…. I.e. “I guess”  Several great points in this article, worth reading.

———————————————

What We Actually Know About Waning Immunity

Reports of vaccines’ decline have been greatly overstated.

Vaccines don’t last forever. This is by design: Like many of the microbes they mimic, the contents of the shots stick around only as long as it takes the body to eliminate them, a tenure on the order of days, perhaps a few weeks.

What does have staying power, though, is the immunological impression that vaccines leave behind. Defensive cells study decoy pathogens even as they purge them; the recollections that they form can last for years or decades after an injection. The learned response becomes a reflex, ingrained and automatic, a “robust immune memory” that far outlives the shot itself, Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis, told me. That’s what happens with the COVID-19 vaccines, and Ellebedy and others told me they expect the memory to remain with us for a while yet, staving off severe disease and death from the virus at extraordinary rates.

That prediction might sound incompatible with recent reports of the “declining” effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, and the “waning” of immunity. According to the White House, we’ll all need boosters very, very soon to fortify our crumbling defenses. The past few weeks of news have made it seem as though we’re doomed to chase SARS-CoV-2 with shot after shot after shot, as if vaccine protections were slipping through our fingers like so much sand.

The reality of the situation is much more complicated than that. Despite some shifting numbers, neither our vaccines nor our immune systems are failing us, or even coming close. Vaccine effectiveness isn’t a monolith, and neither is immunity. Staying safe from a virus depends on host and pathogen alike; a change in either can chip away at the barriers that separate the two without obliterating them, which is exactly what we’re seeing now.

As the hyper-contagious Delta variant continues to blaze across the country and much of the world, more vaccinated people are encountering the virus and occasionally getting infected enough to trip a coronavirus test. But our shots are still guarding against disease and death—the standard our shots were meant to meet, and the most crucial element of making the virus “a much more manageable threat,” Müge Çevik, a medical virologist at the University of St. Andrews, told me. “We need to have much more realistic expectations of these vaccines” and what they can teach our immune systems to do, Çevik said. The good news is, it’s quite a lot.

Immune responses don’t last forever. They’re supposed to wane, and the fact that they do works to our advantage.

The first time someone meets a virus or a vaccine, defensive cells must scramble. A wave of fast but imprecise fighters—members of the innate immune system—rushes in to wall off the assailant, buying time for the body’s more sophisticated sharpshooters to gather their wits. This latter group, which makes up the body’s adaptive arm, takes several days to really fire up. But the wait is worth it: After a couple of weeks, the blood is rife with antibodies—molecules, made by B cells, that can sequester viruses outside cells—and aptly named killer T cells, which can blow up cells that have already been infected.

Eventually, as the infectious threat passes, our immune response contracts; frontline B and T cells, no longer needed in their amped-up state, start to die off. Antibody levels—one of the easiest immune metrics to measure—slip downward over the course of several months, before roughly leveling off. That’s perfectly normal, Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona, told me. “You have a big increase at the beginning, then a decline.” Consider the alternative: If humans never quieted any of the immunological furor that follows infections and simply kept accumulating antibodies for every pathogen we came across, we’d all have burst a long time ago. Even attempting to maintain that kind of immune reservoir “would require so much energy—I don’t even know where you’d keep all those cells,” says Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington.

A downtick in antibody levels can come with consequences. Antibodies are among the few immune actors capable of waylaying a virus before it infiltrates a cell; when present in high-enough amounts, they can quash a developing infection. But where a virus is abundant and speedy and antibodies are relatively scarce, the body’s defenses are much more liable to crack, which is why protection against infection will be the first to erode. This issue might be especially pronounced after receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is delivered into an arm muscle. Injected vaccines are ace at prompting the production of IgG antibodies in the blood; they’re less good at coaxing out the IgA antibodies that patrol the moist mucosal linings of the nose and mouth and corral respiratory viruses at their natural point of entry. IgG antibodies are good travelers and can eventually flock to the site of a growing infection. That takes time, though, and when fewer of them are bopping about, their eventual arrival may not be enough to pen the pathogen in place.

Antibody levels will taper in the months following vaccination or infection, but that doesn’t mean they plummet to zero, Bhattacharya told me. Although most of the B cells die off, some stick around in the bone marrow and keep churning out the virus-fighting molecules at more modest, but still detectable, levels. Though the life span of these long-lived B cells can vary, some studies have hinted that they’re capable of persisting as antibody factories for decades. Another population of immune cells, memory B cells, meanders around the body like sleeper agents, ready to resume making its antibodies whenever necessary. All of these B cells can continue to broaden and intensify their virus-vanquishing powers for months after a vaccine or pathogen leaves the body, in a sped-up form of antibody evolution. “The quality of antibodies in the body improves over time,” Bhattacharya said. “It takes way fewer of them to protect you.”

Populations of memory T cells, too, can hide out for many months or years in tissues, waiting to strike again. Although antibodies are very picky about what they attack, making them easy to stump with viral mutations, T cells are more flexible fighters that are great at recognizing variants. Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, in San Diego, and his colleagues have documented durable T-cell responses to COVID-19 vaccines. They’re “exceeding expectations,” he told me. “Overall, it looks like there’s high-quality memory at six months.”

Memory responses take a few days to get going. That’s far faster than the response to a first inoculation, when B and T cells are naive to the threat. But if antibodies aren’t already lurking in and around the airway, the virus might get a chance to invade a few cells, maybe even cause some symptoms, before sufficient reinforcements arrive. That’s not necessarily a concern, said Crotty, who described SARS-CoV-2 infection as unfolding in two phases. “Initial replication is fast and tough to stop,” he said. Severe, hospitalization-worthy damage in the lung, however, tends to take at least a couple of weeks to manifest—plenty of time for “even a modest amount of antibodies and T cells” to interfere.

Checking someone’s SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels when there’s no virus around can be a bit deceptive, then. In the absence of a threat, immune cells are quiescent. But the capacity for protection remains intact: When new invaders arrive, they’ll reawaken our defenses. That’s why post-vaccine infections, when they do happen, tend to be milder, shorter, and less likely to spread to other people. When the new threat resolves, levels of antibodies and active immune cells decrease again. “You could call that ‘waning,’” Pepper, of the University of Washington, told me. “But that’s just how it works.”

Immune memories don’t last forever. Eventually, even the grizzled B and T cells in the body’s reserves might permanently retire. That’s when protection against disease and death could start to take a tumble, and when experts start to get worried. Some officials, including CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, have suggested that upticks in post-vaccine coronavirus infections are a sign of what’s to come, and that giving people extra shots could be a way to jog the immune system’s memory before it fades away.

The same rationale applies to many multi-dose vaccines: The first shot introduces the body to the notion of a threat; the ones that follow clinch the concept that the danger is real and worth taking seriously. A triple-jab regimen is already built into several well-established vaccines, including the ones that block HPV and hepatitis B; others require four or five inoculations before they take. But according to most of the experts I spoke with for this story, the immunological argument for a COVID-19 booster this early is shaky at best.

To start with, the recent numbers on vaccine effectiveness aren’t really that alarming. Vaccinated people are indeed getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 more frequently than they were a few months ago. But these breakthroughs remain fairly uncommon. Recent reports from the CDC show that the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were blocking infection at rates of up to about 90 percent in the spring, when the vaccines had barely begun their rollout en masse; now those stats are hovering around the 60s and 70s, still a remarkable feat. (That doesn’t mean that 30 to 40 percent of vaccinated people are getting infected; rather, immunized people are 60 to 70 percent less likely than unimmunized people to be infected if they’re exposed.) Numbers from other studies look to be in a similar ballpark. And these stats might even undersell the vaccines’ benefits: Many “infections” are found simply through the detection of viral genetic material—with no guarantee that this material is active, infectious, or anything more than the carnage left behind from a victorious immune attack.

The outlook is even better when you consider symptomatic cases of post-vaccine COVID-19. Early reports, including Moderna’s and Pfizer’s original study estimates, put the vaccines’ efficacy against symptomatic illness in the range of 90 to 95 percent. More recent studies now document rates in the 80s, even when facing off against Delta—a variant for which the vaccines weren’t originally formulated.

Some reports from Israel appear to paint a more dire portrait: A few preliminary numbers released by the country’s Ministry of Health suggested that vaccine effectiveness against both infection and symptomatic disease had dipped to about 40 percent. But Çevik, of the University of St. Andrews, told me that these and other data reporting heftier declines are messy and might actually overestimate the problem. Across countries, early vaccine recipients tended to be older, in slightly worse health, and in higher-risk professions than those who got injected later on. That alone could make the protection that they got seem less impressive in comparison. Also, when initial effectiveness numbers were calculated, people were adhering more to physical distancing and masks. Measured these days, amid more lax behavior, risk of infection would rise. And as more of the unvaccinated have been infected, their collective immunity has grown, making them, too, less susceptible to the virus—which could make the effectiveness of vaccines look lower.

Viral evolution makes all of this even more confusing. Delta isn’t a perfect match for the version of SARS-CoV-2 the vaccines were designed to fight. Defensive memory in the body could persist indefinitely—the opposite of waning—and yet still be stumped by a virus that develops a good-enough disguise. Delta is also a very fast version of the coronavirus, capable of cresting in the body and spilling back out within a few days, potentially before a memory response can activate. Studies do suggest that Delta’s a bit more likely than its predecessor Alpha to infect people and cause some symptoms among the vaccinated; that gets easier during a massive surge in cases, when even the immunized are getting clobbered with high doses of the virus on the regular. We have yet to disentangle how much changes in vaccine effectiveness are due to Delta, versus our immune system.

When it comes to severe disease and death, though, vaccine effectiveness hasn’t really budged at all: Immunized people seem to be thwarting the worst cases of COVID-19 just as well as they did when the shots debuted, often at rates well into the 90s. That’s fantastic, considering that the FDA’s original benchmark for vaccine success, announced in June 2020, was reducing the risk of disease or serious disease by 50 percent among people who get the shot. So far, there is simply no “evidence of a substantial decline” against the worst outcomes, Saad Omer, an epidemiologist at Yale, told me. (One important note: We still don’t have enough data to know how well the vaccines prevent long COVID, which can occur even after relatively mild infections.)

All of this underscores the importance of considering effectiveness against infection and disease as “absolutely separate,” Jennifer Gommerman, an immunologist at the University of Toronto, told me. The two can wane in lockstep, but they don’t have to. “Different immunological mechanisms come into play,” Gommerman said. And while a drop in antibody levels might foretell more vulnerability to infection, that doesn’t always translate to a loss of immune memory and more susceptibility to serious sickness. At this point, researchers don’t know how many antibodies people need to ward off infection or disease, and whether levels of these molecules are even the best proxy for vaccine protection.

Pandemics don’t last forever. Eventually, the viral burn ratchets down to a smolder; the disease it causes becomes, on average, more survivable. Vaccines help us tame the flames safely by putting up shields where they didn’t exist before. In a more vaccinated world, fewer trees get scorched; fewer flames hop from branch to branch. The more immunizations go around, the less kindling there is for the virus to burn.

Our collective defenses are sure to wax and wane. In the years and decades that a pathogen stays with us, more vulnerable people will be born, as immunized adults eventually die. Vaccination doesn’t make people impervious; it just gives them more immunity than they had before. When that protection fades, whether through immunological amnesia or because the virus has donned an unrecognizable costume, even inoculated people will slip toward the susceptible state they occupied before.

Waning is not disappearance, though. Even if vaccinated people sometimes do get infected and sick, it will happen less often, and less severely. That, in turn, makes it much harder for the virus to stick around and spread. The goal of vaccination, Çevik told me, is to tame the virus, gradually, into something less formidable, more weatherable. Infection will no longer have to be a crisis. “The point isn’t to protect you from getting even a tiny amount of virus in your body,” she said. We’re not out to eradicate positive test results: “That’s not what vaccines do.”

As for boosters, the pros and cons will vary by context. For people who never responded well to their first vaccines, including people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, additional shots will be very important, Omer said. Their third jabs don’t provide an extraneous “boost” so much as they help complete the original inoculation schedule.

For the rest of us, though, the perks are harder to visualize. In someone with a fully functional immune system whose defenses were already substantially shored up by their first shots, more doses would probably increase antibody production. That, in turn, could further cut down on infection and transmission, Gommerman told me. Very early data hint that this may be happening in Israel, which is already boosting widely. But it’s not clear how long that preventive bump would last. Ellebedy, of Washington University in St. Louis, said boosters would have “real gain” only if they expanded on the body’s capacity to manufacture antibodies long term, instead of just fueling a temporary boom-and-bust. It’s especially unclear whether that would happen with yet another injection of the original vaccine recipe, delivered to the arm—as opposed to, say, a nasal spray with Delta-specific ingredients.

Right now, some forms of vaccine effectiveness are slipping, but the most important ones aren’t. Unless that changes, widespread boosters in already vaccinated countries are likely to provide diminishing returns, like topping off a drink that’s already on the verge of spilling over. In the meantime, billions around the globe have yet to take a sip at all.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/09/waning-immunity-not-crisis-right-now/619965/

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SkyMan
9 hours ago, Soupeod said:

To the topic, I wonder what the Philippines will do eventually? @SkyMan and others might not be able to fly back to the Phils…

Hahahahaha   Balikbayan Box of course.

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rfm010

if you like biotech biology the following paper is getting lots of praise.  questions being raised regarding who gets the nobel prize.  or ig nobel prize should the new fangled vaccines go and kill everybody off.   worth a read.

https://media.nature.com/original/magazine-assets/d41586-021-02483-w/d41586-021-02483-w.pdf

"The Tangled History of MRNA Vaccines"

Hundreds of scientists had worked on mRNA vaccines for decades before the coronavirus pandemic brought a breakthrough.

By Elie Dolgin

article runs 6 pages with pictures.

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Soupeod


An mRNA Pioneer Discusses How Her Work Led to the COVID Vaccines

Researchers often toil away for years in a lab without any promise that their research will result in anything meaningful for society. But sometimes this work results in a breakthrough with global ramifications. Such was the case for Katalin Karikó, who, along with her colleague Drew Weissman, helped develop the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology that was used to produce the highly effective COVID vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna.

Karikó, who is now senior vice president and head of RNA protein replacement therapies at BioNTech (the company that co-developed a COVID vaccine with Pfizer), and Weissman, a professor of vaccine research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, have just been awarded a $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for their work on modifying the genetic molecule RNA to avoid triggering a harmful immune response. The Breakthrough Prizes, founded by Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan, Mark Zuckerberg, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Anne Wojcicki, honor groundbreaking discoveries in fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics. Karikó spent years on this research despite skepticism and a lack of funding. Ultimately, however, her efforts paid off—laying the groundwork for the overwhelmingly effective vaccines that are likely the world’s surest way out of the COVID pandemic.

Karikó was born in Hungary to a family of modest means. She started her work on modifying RNA during her Ph.D. studies and—convinced of the promise of RNA-based therapies—came to the U.S. to pursue postdoctoral research. She later ended up as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Interest in mRNA therapies declined, and she was told to pursue other research directions or risk losing her position, but she persisted. Over a conversation at the Xerox machine she got to know Weissman, who was interested in developing vaccines at the time. They started collaborating.

When foreign mRNA is injected into the body, it causes a strong immune response. But Karikó and Weissman figured out a way to how to modify the RNA to make it less inflammatory by substituting one DNA “letter” molecule for another. Next they worked on how to deliver it. After testing many different delivery vehicles, they settled on lipid nanoparticles as the delivery vehicle. These turned out to work incredibly well: the nanoparticles acted as an adjuvant, a substance that enhances the desired immune response to a vaccine.

Weissman and his colleagues had been working on an mRNA vaccine for influenza when word spread of a mysterious pathogen causing pneumonia in people in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Weissman quickly realized this virus was a perfect candidate for an mRNA vaccine, and Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna soon pivoted to work on one. The rest is history.

Scientific American spoke with Karikó about how she came to work on mRNA, why it was well suited for COVID vaccines and what other exciting medical applications it could have.

[An edited transcript of the interviews follows.]

What was your initial reaction to winning the prize? Were you surprised, or did you expect this?

KARIKÓ: No, I never expected any kind of prize. For many decades, I never got anything. I was very happy with doing the work. Getting a letter from a New York elderly home where they celebrated that, with the vaccine, nobody died when they got the infection—for me, those are the real prizes. I was aware of this Breakthrough Prize—it’s very famous. But, you know, I never thought about any kind of prize. So it was a very, very pleasant surprise.

Did you ever expect this technology to have such a global impact, in terms of the COVID vaccines? Or was it just something you were working on at the right place and time for this pandemic?

KARIKÓ: I never wanted to actually develop a vaccine. I was making this modification in the RNA because I always wanted to develop it for therapies. And when, in 2000, we learned that adding messenger RNA (which I made) to humans, they made inflammatory molecules—cytokines—I thought that I had to do something. I tried to make sure that when we are using it for a therapy—you know, such as treating a patient who has had a stroke—we don’t add some extra inflammatory molecules. At the beginning, it was thought that the immune form of this RNA would be a good vaccine. In 2017 the first paper was published showing that the modification we discovered that makes the mRNA noninflammatory could lead to a good vaccine, and the Moderna and BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines both have this modification.

Here at BioNTech, I am in charge of the protein replacement program. We use modified mRNA for cancer treatment. And this is not a vaccine. This is mRNA coding for cytokines and injecting them into tumors to make the tumor “hot” so that immune cells will learn what to see and can eliminate metastatic tumors. We did not know that there would be a pandemic, but I was aware that this is a very good way to make a vaccine because, with my colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, we had already used it not just for Zika virus but for influenza, HIV, herpes simplex—it was already demonstrated in animal studies that it is such an excellent vaccine.

So when the pandemic started, was it immediately clear to you that this could be a useful technology to develop COVID vaccines?

KARIKÓ: From 2018 we had worked with Pfizer to develop a vaccine for influenza. And we were already ready to start a clinical trial for that. But switching over to COVID, it was just a technical thing. And so it was already ready.

If the pandemic had happened 20 years ago, you would need to have, physically, in your hands, a piece of the virus. So that would be a big delay. But commercial gene synthesis started about 20 years ago. Now you can just order a gene. You order DNA, and then you insert it into a [typically circular molecule of DNA called a] plasmid, and then you make RNA. But making the nanoparticle to deliver the mRNA is kind of challenging.

The lipid nanoparticles were a key part of the technology to make it useful for vaccines, right?

KARIKÓ: In my view, yes. The lipid nanoparticle protects the mRNA outside the cell because, in the blood and everywhere, there is a lot of human RNA. Second, it helps it to enter because the cell will pick up the particle. And then it is in the endosome [a membrane-bound compartment] in the immune cells, and then this lipid nanoparticle helps escape from the endosome to the cytoplasm [the solution inside cells] so the protein can be made. It is a very smart particle.

Do you see this technology being useful for many other types of applications, such as the cancer treatment you mentioned earlier?

KARIKÓ: It is already. What I started here at BioNTech, injecting messenger RNA coding for cytokines…, the human trial had already been going on for years. And then the other program with the nucleoside-modified mRNA was already ongoing. For example, Moderna is producing antibodies for chikungunya virus. [In a collaboration with AstraZeneca] they already have a phase II trial [led by the latter company] injecting mRNA into the heart [that] codes for [a protein that] generates new blood vessels. And they are also running a clinical trial for wound healing. So the data were out there—you already saw these ongoing trials for mRNA therapy—and it was just people who are not in the field who were not aware. They thought, “Oh, this is the first use.” No, there are many, many other applications.

Has all this new interest in mRNA changed this field? Do you think it will accelerate the development of mRNA vaccines for other diseases, such as influenza?

KARIKÓ: Yeah, if you read the Wall Street Journal article [interviewing] Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, you know, he said that Pfizer will pursue mRNA vaccines for other diseases. They will do autoimmune disease. We published this year, at BioNTech, that we use tolerization [exposing someone to an antigen, or substance that provokes an immune response, until they can tolerate it]. We use an animal model for multiple sclerosis, and we showed that you can use tolerization against an autoimmune disease if the mRNA codes for the autoantigen. Before, it was like CureVac, Moderna, BioNTech—these were smaller companies working with RNA. And now, all of the sudden, you can see that Sanofi is buying into other companies, Pfizer is doing it, and so the large companies are realizing that they can get many products in their pipeline very quickly.

Do you think that this mRNA technology could be a good candidate for a universal coronavirus vaccine?

KARIKÓ: I think that it could work for all vaccines except those against bacterial diseases. [It could work for vaccines against] viruses and parasites, such as [those that cause] malaria and, of course, for cancer—but we have to understand better what to target.

What do you plan to do with the prize money?

KARIKÓ: Probably, I will use it for research. I will make a company. When I got a smaller award, I gave it back to those who needed it more—for the education of underprivileged children. I am 66 years old and not used to having a car. I never had a new car, and I don’t think I would have one now.

Read in Scientific American: 

https://apple.news/AGOg2f4_rSteKSsZoKOw_hg

 

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cookie47
5 hours ago, Soupeod said:

Or was it just something you were working on at the right place and time for this pandemic?

Ok, Long and technical, And how I read it.. it looks like the answer to the commonly asked question that vaccines DO normally take years to develop but in the case of Covid something was (or had) already being developed in the lab that gave these "guy's"a head start and thus dispels the premise (BY SOME) that the time taken to develop the current vaccines which was quick by normal standard's making them no good or should I say questionable.

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Salty Dog

HOW THE PANDEMIC NOW ENDS
Cases of COVID-19 are rising fast. Vaccine uptake has plateaued.
The pandemic will be over one day—but the way there is different now.

By Ed Yong
AUGUST 12, 2021
Updated on August 18, 2021

In September 2020, just before COVID-19 began its wintry surge through the United States, I wrote that the country was trapped in a pandemic spiral, seemingly destined to repeat the same mistakes. But after vaccines arrived in midwinter, cases in the U.S. declined and, by summer’s edge, had reached their lowest levels since the pandemic’s start. Many Americans began to hope that the country had enough escape velocity to exit its cycle of missteps and sickness. And though experts looked anxiously to the fall, few predicted that the Delta variant would begin its ascent at the start of July. Now the fourth surge is under way and the U.S. is once again looping through the pandemic spiral. Arguably, it never stopped.

This new surge brings a jarring sense of déjà vu. America has fallen prey to many of the same self-destructive but alluring instincts that I identified last year. It went all in on one countermeasure—vaccines—and traded it off against masks and other protective measures. It succumbed to magical thinking by acting as if a variant that had ravaged India would spare a country where half the population still hadn’t been vaccinated. It stumbled into the normality trap, craving a return to the carefree days of 2019; in May, after the CDC ended indoor masking for vaccinated people, President Joe Biden gave a speech that felt like a declaration of victory. Three months later, cases and hospitalizations are rising, indoor masking is back, and schools and universities are opening uneasily—again. “It’s the eighth month of 2021, and I can’t believe we’re still having these conversations,” Jessica Malaty Rivera, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, told me.

But something is different now—the virus. “The models in late spring were pretty consistent that we were going to have a ‘normal’ summer,” Samuel Scarpino of the Rockefeller Foundation, who studies infectious-disease dynamics, told me. “Obviously, that’s not where we are.” In part, he says, people underestimated how transmissible Delta is, or what that would mean. The original SARS-CoV-2 virus had a basic reproduction number, or R0, of 2 to 3, meaning that each infected person spreads it to two or three people. Those are average figures: In practice, the virus spread in uneven bursts, with relatively few people infecting large clusters in super-spreading events. But the CDC estimates that Delta’s R0 lies between 5 and 9, which “is shockingly high,” Eleanor Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University, told me. At that level, “its reliance on super-spreading events basically goes away,” Scarpino said.

In simple terms, many people who caught the original virus didn’t pass it to anyone, but most people who catch Delta create clusters of infection. That partly explains why cases have risen so explosively. It also means that the virus will almost certainly be a permanent part of our lives, even as vaccines blunt its ability to cause death and severe disease.

The U.S. now faces a dispiriting dilemma. Last year, many people were content to buy time for vaccines to be developed and deployed. But vaccines are now here, uptake has plateaued, and the first surge of the vaccine era is ongoing. What, now, is the point of masking, distancing, and other precautions?

The answer, as before, is to buy time—for protecting hospitals, keeping schools open, reaching unvaccinated people, and more. Most people will meet the virus eventually; we want to ensure that as many people as possible do so with two doses of vaccine in them, and that everyone else does so over as much time as possible. The pandemic isn’t over, but it will be: The goal is still to reach the endgame with as little damage, death, and disability as possible. COVID-19 sent the world into freefall, and although vaccines have slowed our descent, we’d still be wise to steer around the trees standing between us and solid ground. “Everyone’s got pandemic fatigue—I get it,” Rivera told me. “But victory is not you as an individual getting a vaccine. It’s making sure that SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t bring us to our knees again.”

1. Now
The u.s. is not back to square one. The measures that stymied the original coronavirus still work against its souped-up variant; vaccines, in particular, mean that half of Americans are heavily protected in a way they weren’t nine months ago. Full vaccination (with the mRNA vaccines, at least) is about 88 percent effective at preventing symptomatic disease caused by Delta. Breakthrough infections are possible but affect only 0.01 to 0.29 percent of fully vaccinated people, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Breakthroughs might seem common—0.29 percent of 166 million fully vaccinated Americans still means almost 500,000 breakthroughs—but they are relatively rare. And though they might feel miserable, they are much milder than equivalent infections in unvaccinated people: Full vaccination is 96 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations from Delta, and unvaccinated people make up more than 95 percent of COVID-19 patients in American hospital beds. The vaccines are working, and working well. Vaccinated people are indisputably safer than unvaccinated people.

But although vaccinated individuals are well protected, highly vaccinated communities can still be vulnerable, for three reasons. First, unvaccinated people aren’t randomly distributed. Instead, they tend to be geographically clustered and socially connected, creating vulnerable pockets that Delta can assault. Even in places with high vaccination rates, such as Vermont and Iceland, the variant is still spreading.

Second, Delta could potentially spread from vaccinated people too—a point of recent confusion. The CDC has estimated that Delta-infected people build up similar levels of virus in their nose regardless of vaccination status. But another study from Singapore showed that although viral loads are initially comparable, they fall more quickly in vaccinated people. That makes sense: The immune defenses induced by the vaccines circulate around the body and need time to recognize a virus intruding into the nose. Once that happens, “they can control it very quickly,” Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington, told me. “The same amount of virus might be there at the beginning, but it can’t replicate in the airways and lungs.” And because vaccinated people are much less likely to get infected in the first place, they are also much less likely to transmit Delta than unvaccinated people, contrary to what some media outlets have claimed.

Still, several lines of evidence, including formal outbreak descriptions and more anecdotal reports, suggest that vaccinated people can transmit Delta onward, even if to a lesser degree than unvaccinated people. That’s why the CDC’s return to universal indoor masking made sense, and why vaccinated people can’t tap out of the pandemic’s collective problem. Their actions still influence Delta’s ability to reach their unvaccinated neighbors, including immunocompromised people and children. “If you’re vaccinated, you did the best thing you can do, and there’s no reason to feel pessimistic,” Inci Yildirim, a vaccinologist and pediatric infectious-disease expert at Yale, told me. “You’re safer. But you will need to think about how safe you want people around you to be.”

Third, Delta’s extreme transmissibility negates some of the community-level protection that vaccines offer. If no other precautions are taken, Delta can spread through a half-vaccinated country more quickly than the original virus could in a completely unvaccinated country. It can even cause outbreaks in places with 90 percent vaccination rates but no other defenses. Delta has “really rewound the clock,” Shweta Bansal, an infectious-disease ecologist at Georgetown University, told me. “Communities that had reached safety are in danger again.” Vaccines can still reduce the size and impact of its surges, turning catastrophic boils into gentler simmers. But the math means that “there’s not really a way to solve the Delta problem through vaccination alone,” Murray said.

Here, then, is the current pandemic dilemma: Vaccines remain the best way for individuals to protect themselves, but societies cannot treat vaccines as their only defense. And for now, unvaccinated pockets are still large enough to sustain Delta surges, which can overwhelm hospitals, shut down schools, and create more chances for even worse variants to emerge. To prevent those outcomes, “we need to take advantage of every single tool we have at our disposal,” Bansal said. These should include better ventilation to reduce the spread of the virus, rapid tests to catch early infections, and forms of social support such as paid sick leave, eviction moratoriums, and free isolation sites that allow infected people to stay away from others. In states where cases are lower, such as Maine or Massachusetts, masks—the simplest, cheapest, and least disruptive of all the anti-COVID measures—might be enough.

States such as Louisiana and Florida, where Delta is spreading rapidly, “really need to be talking about a powerful response like closing indoor dining and limiting capacity at events,” Murray said. Louisiana has now reinstituted an indoor mask policy, as have several counties and cities in other states. But several Republican governors, including Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, have preemptively blocked local governments or schools from imposing such mandates, even as Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas now seeks to reverse a similar law that he regrets passing.

There are better ways to do this. On a federal level, Congress could make funding contingent on local leaders being able to make their own choices, Lindsay Wiley of American University, an expert in public-health law, told me. On a state level, leaders could pass mask mandates like Nevada’s, which is “ideal,” Julia Raifman, a health-policy expert at Boston University, told me. It automatically turns on in counties that surpass the CDC’s definition of high transmission and shuts down in counties that fall below it. An off-ramp is always in sight, the public can see why decisions have been made, and “policy makers don’t have to constantly navigate the changing science,” Raifman said.

Vaccine mandates can help too. Emily Brunson, an anthropologist at Texas State, has studied vaccine attitudes and thinks that broad, top-down orders “wouldn’t play well, and the pushback could do more harm than good.” But strong mandates that tie employment to vaccination are easily justified in hospitals, long-term-care facilities, and prisons—“high-risk settings where vulnerable people don’t have a choice about being exposed,” Wiley told me. Mandates are also likely for university students, government employees, and the military, who already have to meet medical conditions for attendance or employment.

The calculus around safety has shifted in another important way. In the first three surges, older people were among the most vulnerable to COVID-19; now 80 percent of Americans over 65 are fully vaccinated. But kids under 12 remain ineligible for vaccines—and the timeline for an emergency-use approval stretches months into the future. Children are less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19, but more than 400 have already died in the U.S., while many others have developed long COVID or the inflammatory condition called MIS-C. Rare, severe events are more poignant when they affect children, and they can accumulate quickly in the Delta era. As my colleague Katherine J. Wu reports, pediatric COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing and hospitalizations have reached a pandemic high.

Virtual learning took a huge toll on both children and parents, and every expert I asked agreed that kids should be back in classrooms—with protections. That means vaccinating adults to create a shield around children, masks for students and staff, better ventilation, and regular testing. “Schools must continue mitigation measures—I feel very strongly about this,” Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, told me. Otherwise, Delta outbreaks are likely. Such outbreaks have already forced nine Mississippi schools to go remote and put 800 people from a single Arkansas district in quarantine. And other respiratory illnesses, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), are already showing up alongside COVID-19. “Schools have no choice but to close once there’s a large outbreak,” Brunson said. “A whole generation of children’s education and well-being hangs in the balance.”

The coming weeks will mark yet another pivotal moment in a crisis that has felt like one exhausting string of them. “I think people are right to be hurting, confused, and angry—things didn’t have to turn out this way,” Eleanor Murray, the epidemiologist, told me. But “piecemeal, half-assed responses” allowed for the uncontrolled spread that fostered the evolution of Delta and other variants. “People should be demanding that we don’t repeat those same mistakes from last year.”

“I feel dispirited too, but when the virus moves, we have to move—and sometimes, that means going backwards,” Rivers told me. Daily caseloads are now 36 per 100,000 people; once they fall below 10, “and preferably below five, I’ll feel like we’re in a better place.”

2. Next
But then what? Delta is transmissible enough that once precautions are lifted, most countries “will have a big exit wave,” Adam Kucharski, an infectious-disease modeler at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told me. As vaccination rates rise, those waves will become smaller and more manageable. But herd immunity—the point where enough people are immune that outbreaks automatically fizzle out—likely cannot be reached through vaccination alone. Even at the low end of the CDC’s estimated range for Delta’s R0, achieving herd immunity would require vaccinating more than 90 percent of people, which is highly implausible. At the high end, herd immunity is mathematically impossible with the vaccines we have now.

This means that the “zero COVID” dream of fully stamping out the virus is a fantasy. Instead, the pandemic ends when almost everyone has immunity, preferably because they were vaccinated or alternatively because they were infected and survived. When that happens, the cycle of surges will stop and the pandemic will peter out. The new coronavirus will become endemic—a recurring part of our lives like its four cousins that cause common colds. It will be less of a problem, not because it has changed but because it is no longer novel and people are no longer immunologically vulnerable. Endemicity was always the likely outcome—I wrote as much in March 2020. But likely is now unavoidable. “Before, it still felt possible that a really concerted effort could get us to a place where COVID-19 almost didn’t exist anymore,” Murray told me. “But Delta has changed the game.”

If SARS-CoV-2 is here to stay, then most people will encounter it at some point in their life, as my colleague James Hamblin predicted last February. That can be hard to accept, because many people spent the past year trying very hard to avoid the virus entirely. But “it’s not really the virus on its own that is terrifying,” Jennie Lavine, an infectious-disease researcher at Emory University, told me. “It’s the combination of the virus and a naive immune system. Once you don’t have the latter, the virus doesn’t have to be so scary.”

Think of it this way: SARS-CoV-2, the virus, causes COVID-19, the disease—and it doesn’t have to. Vaccination can disconnect the two. Vaccinated people will eventually inhale the virus but need not become severely ill as a result. Some will have nasty symptoms but recover. Many will be blissfully unaware of their encounters. “There will be a time in the future when life is like it was two years ago: You run up to someone, give them a hug, get an infection, go through half a box of tissues, and move on with your life,” Lavine said. “That’s where we’re headed, but we’re not there yet.”

None of the experts I talked with would predict when we would reach that point, especially because many feel humbled by Delta’s summer rise. Some think it’s plausible that the variant will reach most unvaccinated Americans quickly, making future surges unlikely. “When we come through, I think we’ll be pretty well protected against another wave, but I hesitate to say that, because I was wrong last time,” Rivers said. It’s also possible that there will still be plenty of unvaccinated people for Delta to infect in the fall, and that endemicity only kicks in next year. As my colleague Sarah Zhang wrote, the U.K. will provide clues about what to expect.

If endemicity is the future, then masks, distancing, and other precautions merely delay exposure to the virus—and to what end? “There’s still so much for us to buy time for,” Bansal told me. Suppressing the virus gives schools the best chance of staying open. It reduces the risk that even worse variants will evolve. It gives researchers time to better understand the long-term consequences of breakthrough infections. And much like last year, it protects the health-care system. Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Missouri all show that Delta is easily capable of inundating hospitals, especially in largely unvaccinated communities. This cannot keep happening, especially because health-care workers are already burning out and facing a mammoth backlog of sick patients whose care was deferred during previous surges. These workers need time to recover, as does the U.S. more generally. Its mental-health systems are already insufficient to address the coming waves of trauma and grief. COVID-19 long-haulers are already struggling to access medical support and disability benefits. The pandemic’s toll is cumulative, and the U.S. can ill-afford to accumulate more. Punting new infections as far into the future as possible will offer a chance to regroup.

Curbing the coronavirus’s spread also protects millions of immunocompromised Americans, including organ-transplant recipients and people with autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and lupus. Because they have to take drugs that suppress their immune system, they benefit less from vaccines and have no choice in the matter. Even before the pandemic, they had to carefully manage their risk of infection, and “we’re not helping them by making surges longer,” Inci Yildirim, the Yale vaccinologist, said. She and others are testing ways of boosting their vaccine responses, including giving third doses, timing their doses around other medications, or using adjuvant substances that trigger stronger immune responses. But for any of that to work, “you need the luxury of some level of COVID-19 control,” Yildirim said.

Finally, the U.S. simply needs more time to reach unvaccinated people. This group is often wrongly portrayed as a monolithic bunch of stubborn anti-vaxxers who have made their choice. But in addition to young children, it includes people with food insecurity, eviction risk, and low incomes. It includes people who still have concerns about safety and are waiting on the FDA’s full approval, people who come from marginalized communities and have reasonable skepticism about the medical establishment, and people who have neither the time to get their shots nor the leave to recover from side effects. Some holdouts are finally getting vaccinated because of the current Delta surge. Others are responding to efforts to bring vaccines into community settings like churches. It now takes more effort to raise vaccination rates, but “it’s not undoable,” Rhea Boyd, a pediatrician and public-health advocate, told me last month. Measures such as indoor masking will “give us the time to do the work.”

3. Eventually  
Pandemics end. But this one is not yet over, and especially not globally. Just 16 percent of the world’s population is fully vaccinated. Many countries, where barely 1 percent of people have received a single dose, are “in for a tough year of either lockdowns or catastrophic epidemics,” Adam Kucharski, the infectious-disease modeler, told me. The U.S. and the U.K. are further along the path to endemicity, “but they’re not there yet, and that last slog is often the toughest,” he added. “I have limited sympathy for people who are arguing over small measures in rich countries when we have uncontrolled epidemics in large parts of the world.”

Eventually, humanity will enter into a tenuous peace with the coronavirus. COVID-19 outbreaks will be rarer and smaller, but could still occur once enough immunologically naive babies are born. Adults might need boosters once immunity wanes substantially, but based on current data, that won’t happen for at least two years. And even then, “I have a lot of faith in the immune system,” Marion Pepper, the immunologist, said. “People may get colds, but we’ll have enough redundancies that we’ll still be largely protected against severe disease.” The bigger concern is that new variants might evolve that can escape our current immune defenses—an event that becomes more likely the more the coronavirus is allowed to spread. “That’s what keeps me up at night,” Georgetown’s Shweta Bansal told me.

To guard against that possibility, the world needs to stay alert. Regular testing of healthy people can tell us where the virus might be surging back. Sequencing its genes will reveal the presence of worrying mutations and new variants. Counterintuitively, these measures become more important nearer the pandemic endgame because a virus’s movements become harder to predict when transmission slows. Unfortunately, that’s exactly when “public-health systems tend to take their foot off the gas when it comes to surveillance,” Bansal told me.

As of May, the CDC stopped monitoring all breakthrough infections and focused only on those that led to hospitalization and death. It also recommended that vaccinated people who were exposed to the virus didn’t need to get tested unless they were symptomatic. That policy has since been reversed, but it “allowed people to get lax,” said Jessica Malaty Rivera, who was also a volunteer for the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. “We’ve never tested enough, and we’re still not testing enough.” With Floridians once again facing hours-long lines for tests, “it’s a recap of spring 2020,” Samuel Scarpino, the infectious-disease expert, told me. “We continue to operate in an information vacuum, which gives us a biased and arguably unusable understanding of COVID-19 in many parts of the U.S. That makes us susceptible to this kind of thing happening again.”

What we need, Scarpino argues, is a nimble, comprehensive system that might include regular testing, wastewater monitoring, genetic sequencing, Google-search analyses, and more. It could track outbreaks and epidemics in the same way that weather forecasts offer warnings about storms and hurricanes. Such a system could also monitor other respiratory illnesses, including whatever the next pandemic virus turns out to be. “My phone can tell me if I need to carry an umbrella, and I want it to tell me if I should put a mask on,” Scarpino said. “I’d like to have that for the rest of my life.”

Since last January, commentators have dismissed the threat of COVID-19 by comparing it to the flu or common colds. The latter two illnesses are still benchmarks against which our response is judged—well, we don’t do that for the flu. But “a bad flu year is pretty bad!” Lindsay Wiley, at American University, told me, and it doesn’t have to be. Last year, the flu practically vanished. Asthma attacks plummeted. Respiratory infections are among the top-10 causes of death in the U.S. and around the world, but they can often be prevented—and without lockdowns or permanent mask mandates.

The ventilation in our buildings can be improved. Scientists should be able to create vaccines against the existing coronaviruses. Western people can wear masks when they’re sick, as many Asian societies already do. Workplaces can offer paid-sick-leave policies and schools can ditch attendance records “so that they’re not encouraging people to show up sick,” Wiley said. All of these measures could be as regular a part of our lives as seat belts, condoms, sunscreen, toothpaste, and all the other tools that we use to protect our health. The current pandemic surge and the inevitability of endemicity feel like defeats. They could, instead, be opportunities to rethink our attitudes about the viruses we allow ourselves to inhale.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/08/delta-has-changed-pandemic-endgame/619726/

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cookie47

Another Australian article discussing the reasons About unfortunately fully Vaccinated people passing away.

A small number of fully vaccinated people with COVID-19 in NSW have died — here's why.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-29/why-a-small-number-of-fully-vaccinated-people-have-died-of-covid/100497770

I'm posting this as a link as it's got photos and graphs that are important to the article however, I seem to have difficulties in posting including the pictures.....

 

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A sad story. My sister (in law) and her husband Living in Maribago Lapu-Lapu got Covid 19 August last.

After very very hard struggling my sister died of this Delta August 8. this year. At 0910 AM.

One can not blame anyone but yourself. Helpless. 

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