Wednesday, July 20, 2022

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Effectiveness Quickly Wanes: Study

The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses dropped well under 50 percent after four months against subvariants of the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines provided just 51 percent protection against emergency department visits, urgent care encounters, and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 during the time BA.2 and BA.2.12.1, subvariants of the Omicron virus variant, were predominant in the United States, CDC researchers found.

Both vaccines are administered in two-dose primary series.

After 150-plus days, the effectiveness dropped to just 12 percent.

A first booster upped the protection to 56 percent, but the effectiveness went down to 26 percent after four months, according to the study, which drew numbers from a network of hospitals funded by the CDC across 10 states called the VISION Network.

The subvariant was predominant between late March and mid-June.

The effectiveness was lower against BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 than against BA.1, which was displaced by BA.2.

Against BA.1, the vaccines provided 44 percent protection against the healthcare visits linked to COVID-19 initially and 39 percent after 150 days. A first booster increased the protection to 84 percent, and the protection barely decreased for patients 50 years or older after four months. But for people aged 18 to 49, the protection plummeted to 29 percent after 120 days.

Underlining the waning effectiveness against severe illness, the majority of patients admitted to the hospitals between December 2021 and June 2022 had received at least two doses of the vaccines.

Further, the percentage of unvaccinated patients dropped during the later period, going from 41.6 percent to 28.6 percent (hospitalized patients) and from 41.4 percent to 31 percent (emergency department and urgent care patients), researchers found.

The CDC published the research in its quasi-journal, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Most articles it publishes are not peer-reviewed, and the articles are shaped to reflect CDC policy.


The astonishing data that may prove masks DON'T work as Covid cases in Singapore and New Zealand OVERTAKE Australia

New data shows Covid cases in Singapore and New Zealand have overtaken Australia in the latest Omicron wave despite ultra-strict mask mandates.

Masks are worn everywhere in the densely-populated Asian city while New Zealanders are forced to wear them in all indoor public places, such as shopping centres and libraries.

But both now have higher case numbers per million than Australia, where compulsory mask rules have been abandoned in most indoor settings.

These figures appear to smash the push now on in Australia for a return to mask mandates, which are currently compulsory only on public transport and in aged care and healthcare centres.

Since Australian mandates began to ease last October, per capita case numbers in Singapore exceeded, matched or lagged behind Australia, before rising ahead again.

In New Zealand, case numbers were six weeks behind Australia's Omicron wave in January, but since February they have matched or exceeded Australia.

Death rates in New Zealand also overtook Australia per capita at the start of March, despite the Kiwis being on the highest code red mask mandate restrictions - and have stayed higher ever since.

New Zealanders are told to wear a mask whenever they leave home. The country has a traffic light system of restrictions and was on code red until April when it moved to code orange.

Under code red, Kiwis had to wear masks at universities and colleges and in schools from Year 4 up, and when visiting early learning centres.

Masks also had to be worn in public places like shops, shopping malls, cafes, bars, restaurants, libraries, hairdressers and beauty salons.

All indoors events and indoor gatherings needed to be masked up,

Masks also need to be worn on domestic flights, taxis, ride-sharing cars and public transport, plus healthcare, judicial, remand and aged care centres.

But masks don't need to be worn outdoors or while exercising.

Since April, masks are not now needed in schools, indoor events, museums and libraries or at hospitality venues, but must still be worn everywhere else.

The country is tipped to return to code red on Thursday as NZ case numbers surge.

In Singapore, death rates dropped below Australia in April after racing ahead between October and Christmas, but are now surging wildly and are set to overtake Australia once more.

The Singapore findings were shared on Twitter by Australian National University infectious diseases professor Peter Collignon as debate rages on the need for masks.

The post, originally made by a Singapore resident, added: 'Singapore has never dropped its mask mandates. Masks are required indoors at all times.

'Australians aren't wearing masks much at all. Let's compare the data.'

The data has been revealed as Victorian children over the age of eight are now asked to wear a mask in classrooms until the end of winter amid a spike in cases.

The state government has insisted the new advice is not a mask mandate, with students encouraged to wear a mask indoors and on public transport.

Parents have described the new rules as a 'mandate by stealth' but former Labor Leader Bill Shorten said kids should be encouraged to wear masks where possible.

'We've had 300 days of home-schooling, and the schools closed,' he told Karl Stefanovic during an appearance on the Today Show on Tuesday morning.

'To me it's a no-brainer, do you want your child sick at home or do you want them running around wearing a mask?' the father of one said.

NSW and Victorian health ministers have both so far resisted the growing calls for a return to mask mandates, but critics say the looming state elections in October and November are the main reason behind any delay in bringing them back.

The new figures come as it was revealed the median age of those dying from Covid in Australia is now 83 years old, the same age as the nation's average life expectancy.

The federal health department's latest Covid report explodes the myths being used to drive Australian authorities to re-introduce mask mandates and continue having Covid cases isolate for seven days.

The data comes as St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney said they have just 'one or two' patients in ICU - with top doctors confirming the winter wave is far less severe than those to have previously hit Australia.

'We certainly don't have many,' confirmed a hospital spokesman on Monday. 'It's not presenting so much on the very acute side, where patients need ventilation.'

The vast majority of those who have caught Covid are under 50, with 3,121,953 cases so far. Just 293 people under 50 have died of the virus since the pandemic began.

The statistics show that since Australia's mass vaccination rollout began, those under 50 face a less than one in 10,000 chance of dying from Covid.

'The median age of all those infected is 31 ... [but] the median age of those who died is 83,' the latest federal health department 'Coronavirus At A Glance' report states.

Australia's average life expectancy is 82.9 years of age.

Most killed by Covid were men over 70 and women over 80, accounting for 7,585 deaths out of the nation's total virus death toll of 10,582 as of 3pm on Friday.

And even if Covid breaks out among elderly frail residents in aged care centres, more than 95 per cent of those infected will survive.

Of the 63,875 who caught Covid in Australian aged care centres, 60,771 recovered, with less than 1 in 20 of infected residents dying, for a tragic toll of 3,104.

NSW Premier Dom Perrottet admitted on Monday that the current flu wave was now a bigger threat than Covid. 'At the moment, the current strand of influenza is more severe than the current strands of COVID,' he told 2GB.

Doomsday modelling by the Burnet Institute for the NSW government last year said the state's health system could cope with up to 947 Covid patients in ICU.

But NSW currently has just 64 Covid cases in ICU across the state with only 13 on ventilators, according to NSW Health.




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