Can Vaccines Stop The Virus From Spreading
The available vaccines alone cannot stop the spread of the virus. But vaccination, combined with basic preventive measures such as proper hygiene, face masks and social distancing where needed, lowers transmission significantly. Simply wearing a face mask reduces the incidence of the coronavirus by more than 50%, according to a study based on data from 200 countries and published in the medical journal BMJ. For López-Hoyos, this is clearly the reason why countries such as Austria and Germany are seeing such a sharp rise in infections. In these countries, fewer people are vaccinated, and despite this, they relaxed basic protection measures earlier. This should make us think that we need to maintain the use of face masks and the rest of the basic hygiene measures, because right now, it is the only way we have to curb the transmission of the virus, he says.
When Can I Get The Coronavirus Vaccine
Now that the Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines, vaccines are being distributed across the United States.
If you are a Johns Hopkins Medicine patient, visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Updates page for current information on getting vaccinated. Your states health department website can also provide updates on vaccine distribution in your area.
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Spain Is Seeing An Uptick In Coronavirus Contagions Among The Vaccinated While This Is To Be Expected It Is Not Likely To Lead To More Serious Cases Of The Disease
Covid-19 vaccines prevent hospitalizations and death from the disease in more than 90% of cases, but they do not stop the transmission of the virus. Thats why cases among the vaccinated are to be expected: a person who has been fully immunized can still contract SARS-CoV-2 and spread it to others, even if they too are vaccinated.
In Spain, contagions have been rising despite the fact that 79% of the population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. According to the latest Health Ministry report, released Thursday evening, the 14-day incidence rate has jumped to 104 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, up eight points since Wednesday. This is the first time the data point has risen above 100 cases in two months.
Meanwhile, in the regions of Navarre and the Basque Country the incidence rate is more than double the national average, coming in at 278 cases and 221 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively. The Health Ministry reported 6,315 new infections on Wednesday and added 29 deaths to the official toll, which now stands at 87,804.
With infections rising, EL PAÍS looks at the role of Covid-19 vaccines in preventing contagion and serious cases of the disease.
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Implications For A ‘fourth Wave’ During Vaccine Rollout
Much of Schifferâs paper is devoted to complex computer modeling of different vaccine rollout scenarios that take into consideration assumptions of how effective the vaccine is in preventing symptomatic disease or transmission â factors that are not well measured in the ongoing vaccine trials. The nature of protection afforded by new COVID-19 vaccines could have an impact on whether nor not they can prevent a âfourth waveâ of infections and deaths this spring.
Using extensive data provided by King County, the large Puget Sound region that includes Seattle, Schiffer and his colleagues ran computer simulations of vaccine rollout. Their simulations show that if the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines offer complete protection against infections, then the anticipated fourth wave of infection in that region could be prevented if vaccine is rolled out quickly enough, with an estimated 60% reduction in cases and deaths.
If it turns out that the vaccines work primarily by reducing symptoms â saving the lives of those vaccinated but not curbing ongoing viral transmission â the model projects the region could experience a fourth wave of about 200,000 new infections and over 500 deaths in 2021.
Vaccines performing primarily as symptom reducers are also less likely to contribute as rapidly to herd immunity, in which enough people are protected by either previous infection or vaccines that the virus burns out for lack of sufficient new targets.
Is An Additional Dose Or A Booster Dose Of A Covid
Based on the current evidence on vaccine effectiveness and duration of protection, there is an urgent need for the rapid administration of booster doses to fully vaccinated individuals in the general population, particularly given the circulation of new variants.
Additional doses should also be considered for people with severely weakened immune systems. This dose would not be considered a booster, but an extension of the primary vaccination course as these persons may not achieve an adequate protection from the primary series.
An additional dose should be considered for older frail individuals, in particular those living in closed settings . This is due to emerging evidence that in older age groups and residents in long-term care facilities, vaccines can become less effective.
Booster doses are given to fully vaccinated people to restore protection after it has waned. The European Medicines Agency assesses the data on additional doses and on booster doses to consider whether updates to the product information are appropriate.
According to the evidence currently available, for severe outcomes caused by the Delta variant and potentially the Omicron variant, booster doses will increase protection, with the population impact expected to be higher if the booster dose is given to most of the adult population within a short interval.
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Progress Report: Why Some People Get Rashes And Sores On Their Toes
COVID-19 is a multi-system disorder, meaning that it can cause problems in almost any part of the body. One of the symptoms that has been reported is a rash that typically develops on the toes within four weeks of testing positive for the virus . Toes can appear red, inflamed and even swollen. For many, the rash is painless but for some it can be excruciating, affecting their ability to wear shoes and walk. It is more common in teenagers and children than adults.
Until recently, the cause was unknown. But now a team of scientists in France believe they have discovered why the virus can cause these unusual symptoms. By looking into 50 cases of COVID toe the researchers were able to show that it was caused by an overreaction of the immune system to the virus.
The immune systems of those affected by the symptom produced higher levels of antibodies which mistakenly targeted their own cells and tissues as well as the invading virus. The rash was a result of the cells lining the tiny blood vessels in the toes being targeted.
The researchers hope their findings will help pave the way for better treatments of those affected by the condition.
They also said that presentation of COVID toe was much rarer after vaccination.
Do I Still Need To Wear A Mask And Practice Physical Distancing After I Am Vaccinated
Yes. Until we substantially reduce community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and see hospitalizations and deaths dramatically decrease, we still need to wear masks and practice physical distancing even after vaccination. The vaccine is not 100% effective and we still do not know if someone who was vaccinated can develop asymptomatic infection and transmit the virus. Although the phase 3 clinical trials were designed to determine whether vaccinated individuals are protected against disease, it will also be important to understand whether vaccinated individuals are less likely to transmit the virus. This is likely but not ensured. If a vaccine not only protects against disease but reduces transmission, and continues to do so for many years, we are likely to reach a state of herd protection when masks and physical distancing will no longer be required. Herd protection is achieved when a sufficient proportion of the population is made non-infectious through vaccination or natural infection so that the likelihood of an infectious individual transmitting to a susceptible individual is very low.
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Q: What Safety Data Did The Fda Evaluate To Authorize The Pfizer
A: The available safety data to support the EUA include 37,586 of the participants enrolled in an ongoing randomized, placebo-controlled international study, the majority of whom are U.S. participants. These participants, 18,801 of whom received the vaccine and 18,785 of whom received saline placebo, were followed for a median of 2 months after receiving the 2nd dose. This is consistent with the recommendations set forth in the FDAs October 2020 Guidance on Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines to Prevent COVID-19.
The most commonly reported side effects were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. Side effects typically started within two days of vaccination and resolved 1-2 day later. Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose, so it is important for vaccination providers and recipients to expect that that there may be some side effects after either dose, but even more so after the second dose.
The FDA also evaluated additional safety data from the larger database that included participants enrolled later during the study who had shorter follow-up . The FDA determined that the findings were similar to those in the population of participants with a median follow-up of 2 months after the 2nd dose.
Q: How Can We Be So Sure About The Effectiveness Of The Pfizer
A: In a randomized, blinded clinical trial, participants are not aware of whether they received vaccine or placebo. Therefore, any mitigation efforts would have affected those who received vaccine and placebo equally. The relatively high infection rate among placebo recipients suggests that that any mitigation efforts among trial participants may not have been very effective.
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Most Of The Worlds Vaccines Likely Wont Prevent Infection From Omicron
They do seem to offer significant protection against severe illness, but the consequences of rapidly spreading infection worry many public health experts.
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A growing body of preliminary research suggests the Covid vaccines used in most of the world offer almost no defense against becoming infected by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
All vaccines still seem to provide a significant degree of protection against serious illness from Omicron, which is the most crucial goal. But only the Pfizer and Moderna shots, when reinforced by a booster, appear to have initial success at stopping infections, and these vaccines are unavailable in most of the world.
The other shots including those from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and vaccines manufactured in China and Russia do little to nothing to stop the spread of Omicron, early research shows. And because most countries have built their inoculation programs around these vaccines, the gap could have a profound impact on the course of the pandemic.
Most evidence so far is based on laboratory experiments, which do not capture the full range of the bodys immune response, and not from tracking the effect on real-world populations. The results are striking, however.
Will The Current Pfizer
All viruses mutate over time but several variants of SARS-CoV-2 with multiple mutations, particularly in the gene that encodes for the spike protein, have been identified that have become more prevalent, including variants from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. The best evidence of whether the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provide less protection against these variants will be if we identify people who become infected with one of the variants after receiving two vaccine doses. Before that, we can learn from studies in the laboratory. Recent studies suggest that both vaccines are effective against these variants but may be slightly less protective against the South African variant. However, much remains to be learned. Both vaccine manufactures are working on modified vaccines to better protect against the South African SARS-CoV-2 variant.
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Q: At The Time Of Authorization What Information Was Available About Serious Adverse Events That Occurred During The Clinical Trial In Individuals 16 Years Of Age And Older
A: Serious adverse events, while uncommon , were observed at slightly higher numerical rates in the vaccine study group compared to the saline placebo study group, both overall and for certain specific adverse events occurring in very small numbers. These represented common medical events that occur in the general population at similar frequency. Upon further review by the FDA, these imbalances do not raise a safety concern, nor do they suggest a causal relationship to vaccination for the vast majority of reported serious adverse events.
Serious adverse events considered by the FDA to be plausibly related to the vaccine or vaccination procedure were one case of shoulder injury at the vaccination site and one case of swollen lymph node in the armpit opposite the vaccination arm.
No safety concerns were identified in subgroup analyses by age, race, ethnicity, medical comorbidities, or prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.
What Do We Know About Covid Vaccines And Preventing Transmission
Vaccines that work against SARS-CoV-2 have helped change the course of the pandemic by reducing illness and hospital admissions. But Chris Stokel-Walker asks what we know about their impact on preventing transmission.
The range of vaccines developed in record time by pharmaceutical companies and research laboratories have helped quell the worst effects of SARS-CoV-2. But much of the focus of research has been on effectiveness in preventing infection, illness, and hospital admission. What is less well measured is the impact of vaccination on preventing onward transmission.
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Is It Ok To Get The Covid
While there have been reports of severe allergic-type reactions in a very small number of patients, the CDC says that people with allergies to certain foods, drugs, insects, latex and other common allergens can still get the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you have had a severe allergic reaction to injectables or other vaccines, be sure to discuss the COVID-19 vaccination with your doctor, who can evaluate you and assess your risk. The vaccine provider should observe you for 30 minutes rather than the routine 15 minutes after vaccination, and if you have an allergic reaction to the first shot, you may not receive the second.
The CDC says that at this time, anyone who has a severe allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients should not get that vaccine.
How Do We Know a COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Safe and Effective?
What Impact Does That Have On Policymaking
The fact that vaccines are good at preventing serious infection, but less good at preventing transmission makes policymaking difficult. The UK has changed its rules9 on the amount of time those who test positive for covid-19 must spend in self-isolation, first from 10 days to seven, then to five, provided they test negative on a lateral flow test. That decision follows the US, which cut the self-isolation period to five days in late December10 because the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness.
Theyre recognising that vaccines arent preventing transmission, and youve got too many people having to isolate, says Bauld. Policymakers have decided that the games up on transmission, but that you need a different approach.
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Which Vaccine Will I Get
You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. When you book, you’ll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you.
Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines, but some people are only offered certain vaccines.
- if you’re pregnant or under 40 you’ll usually be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines
- if you’re under 18, you’ll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
You should have the same vaccine for both doses, unless you had serious side effects after your 1st dose.
What Evidence Do We Have That Covid
Most papers to date indicate vaccines are holding up against admission to hospital and mortality, says Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, but not so much against transmission.
The first weekly covid-19 vaccine surveillance report for 20221 from the UK Health Security Agency was more positive than Baulds assessmentbut didnt say outright that covid-19 vaccines prevent transmission. Several studies have provided evidence that vaccines are effective at preventing infection, it states, Uninfected people cannot transmit therefore, the vaccines are also effective at preventing transmission.
A study2 of covid-19 transmission within English households using data gathered in early 2021 found that even a single dose of a covid-19 vaccine reduced the likelihood of household transmission by 40-50%. This was supported by a study of household transmission among Scottish healthcare workers conducted between December 2020 and March 2021.3 Both studies analysed the impact of vaccination on transmission of the variant of SARS-CoV-2, which was dominant at the time.
A subsequent study,4 conducted later in the course of the pandemic when the delta variant was dominant, showed vaccines had a less pronounced effect on denting onward transmission, but were still effective.
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Along Come The Variants
The concern now is how much the variants might change the game, Kindrachuk says. Several of the studies from England and Israel with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine occurred when the B.1.1.7 variant was dominant.
The vaccines seem to be holding their own against the variants, but we also know that these variants tend to be more transmissible, Kindrachuk says. One concern is that greater transmissibility could mean it takes a lower dose to get infected, he says.
Since the vaccines dont block 100 percent of infections, its possible that vaccinated people who develop an asymptomatic infection from that variant could be more contagious than they would have been before with the strain dominant since early in the pandemic.
Further, there isnt as much data for the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines against B.1.1.7 infections, and virtually no data on infections from the other two variants of concern, B.1.351 from South Africa and P.1 from Brazil, both of which have shown some ability to evade antibodies against other variants of the COVID-19 virus.
Scientists are also studying how well the variants replicate.
If theyre replicating to higher levels, then there could be more viral shedding and more opportunity for transmission, Morrison says.