Wednesday, November 17, 2021

How effective are Covid boosters? British findings

Since September all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable – 32million Britons in total – have been eligible for third doses. Yesterday this was extended to all those aged 40 to 49, an extra eight million, who can book their jabs from Monday. Individuals can only have their booster dose once six months has passed since their second.

How effective are boosters?

They are incredibly effective at topping up immunity, slashing the risk of infection by an extra 80 per cent compared with not having a booster. They are also likely to offer even greater protection against hospitalisation and death.

Yesterday the UK Health Security Agency published the first real-world data on protection offered by boosters, based on the cases of 271,000 over-50s. Two weeks after receiving a booster dose, protection against symptomatic infection increases to 94 per cent. This reverses the decline in protection six months after the second dose, when it drops to 44 per cent for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab and 63 per cent for the Pfizer jab.

Since September all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable ¿ 32million Britons in total ¿ have been eligible for third doses (stock image) +2
Since September all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable – 32million Britons in total – have been eligible for third doses (stock image)

Will under-40s get boosters?

Given the remarkable success of boosters at slashing the risk of infection, it seems likely that other age groups will soon be offered boosters as well. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation are monitoring data to see if immunity is waning in under-40s, and will make a recommendation in due course.

Will I need my booster to travel abroad?

Boris Johnson said third doses will soon be added to the NHS Covid App and be essential to go abroad without the need to quarantine. However, this is unlikely to be implemented until next summer.

The Prime Minister yesterday warned 'storm clouds' of infection are gathering over Europe, forcing nations back into restrictions, with the concern Britain could be next. Officials are also worried about record pressures on the NHS, with the ambulance service in particular in crisis. Ministers believe boosters are vital to prevent a hospitalisations surge that could topple the NHS this winter.

How many people have had boosters?

The programme got off to a slow start but is now accelerating, with record numbers delivered last week. So far 12.8million people in the UK have had boosters out of around 20million who are eligible. About two thirds of eligible over-50s have had their booster, rising to three quarters of eligible over-75s. But this means millions remain vulnerable as their immunity wanes.


Vaccinated people are still in danger

I've been following practically every development on this god-forsaken thing for nearly two years now. Two freaking years! And there is nothing more obvious to me than the fact that the government's touted savior, aka the vаccine, is not doing what it's supposed to.

That's not just my opinion either, this was even recently admitted by Dr. Anthony Fauci himself.

Yahoo reported:

On Nov. 12, White House CΟVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, went on The New York Times’ podcast The Daily to discuss the current state of the coronavirus in the U.S. According to Fauci, officials are now starting to see some waning immunity against both infection and hospitalization several months after initial vaccination. The infectious disease expert pointed toward incoming data from Israel, which he noted tends to be about a month to a month and a half ahead of us in terms of the outbreak.

“They are seeing a waning of immunity not only against infection but against hospitalization and to some extent death, which is starting to now involve all age groups. It isn’t just the elderly,” Fauci said. “It’s waning to the point that you’re seeing more and more people getting breakthrough infections, and more and more of those people who are getting breakthrough infections are winding up in the hospital.”

As a result of these findings, Fauci warned that vaccinated people should get their booster shot, as it might actually be more important than health officials first realized. “If one looks back at this, one can say, do you know, it isn’t as if a booster is a bonus, but a booster might actually be an essential part of the primary regimen that people should have,” he said on The Daily.

Fauci went on to say, “I think … that the boosting is gonna be an absolutely essential component of our response, not a bonus, not a luxury, but an absolute essential part of the program.”


Little Evidence Supports Use of Cloth Masks to Limit Spread of Coronavirus: Analysis

Cloth masks are of little use against COVID-19, according to a recently published analysis.

While federal health authorities and a slew of jurisdictions require or recommend wearing masks as a way to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, a trio of researchers pored over the studies often cited by the officials and found they were poorly designed and offered scant evidence in support of mask usage.

Many of the studies are observational, opening them up to confounding variables, the researchers said in their analysis (pdf), which was published on Nov. 8 by the Cato Institute.

Of 16 randomized controlled trials comparing mask effectiveness to controls with no masks, 14 failed to find a statistically significant benefit, the researchers said. And of 16 quantitative meta-analyses, half showed weak evidence of mask effectiveness, while the others “were equivocal or critical as to whether evidence supports a public recommendation of masks,” they said.

“The biggest takeaway is that more than 100 years of attempts to prove that masks are beneficial has produced a large volume of mostly low-quality evidence that has generally failed to demonstrate their value in most settings,” Dr. Jonathan Darrow, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and one of the researchers, told The Epoch Times in an email.

“Officials mulling mask recommendations should turn their attention to interventions with larger and more certain benefits, such as vaccines. Based on the evidence currently available, masks are mostly a distraction from the important work of promoting public health.”

One study (pdf) that’s widely cited by mask proponents, of rural villages in Bangladesh, found that surgical masks appeared to be marginally effective in reducing symptomatic COVID-19 but that cloth masks weren’t, Darrow and his colleagues noted. The other real-world randomized controlled trial examining mask effectiveness, conducted in Denmark, didn’t find a statistically significant difference in infections between the masked and unmasked groups.

“The remainder of the available clinical evidence is primarily limited to non-randomized observational data, which are subject to confounding,” the researchers said, including accounting for other differences in behavior among those who don’t wear masks.

They did note evidence that masks reduce droplet dispersion, although cloth masks are unlikely to capture the particles even if worn properly.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers can’t wait for higher-quality evidence to support masking, but from an ethical standpoint, they should “refrain from portraying the evidence as stronger than it actually is,” the researchers concluded.

Some outside experts’ views align with the researchers, including Dr. Martin Kulldorff, senior scientific director of the Brownstone Institute.

“The truth is that there has been only two randomized trials of masks for COVID. One was in Denmark, which showed that they might be slightly beneficial, they might be slightly harmful, we don’t really know—the confidence interval kind of crossed zero,” he said. “And then there was another study from Bangladesh where they randomized villagers to masks or no masks. And the efficacy of the masks for reduction of COVID was something between zero and 18 percent.

“So either no effect or very minuscule effect.”

Some experts, though, say the existing evidence does support masking recommendations, and several reacted strongly to the new analysis.

The analysis drew some pushback, including from Kimberly Prather, director of the National Science Foundation Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment. Prather noted on Twitter that researchers say masks reduce the amount of virus in the air and believes that runs counter to their conclusions.

Darrow responded by saying the amount of virus in the air was a surrogate, not a clinical endpoint.

“The amount of pathogen in air (to be inhaled) directly determines the dose. This is directly linked to risk,” Prather said. “Or can you explain how less virus in the air could be higher risk? It’s equivalent to saying that less pathogen in drinking water is higher risk so don’t filter water.”

“If the theory diverges from what you see in real life, which one do you believe?” Darrow said.




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