Monday, March 01, 2021

UK: Pfizer vaccine ‘dramatically reduces’ Covid transmission risk after one dose, study shows

A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine cuts the number of asymptomatic infections and could significantly reduce the risk of transmission, a new UK study suggests.

The findings from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge indicated 75-per-cent protection from Covid-19.

The results also point to a four-fold decrease in the risk of asymptomatic Covid infection among healthcare workers who have been vaccinated for more than 12 days – suggesting the first dose will significantly reduce the spread of the virus.

“Our findings show a dramatic reduction in the rate of positive screening tests among asymptomatic healthcare workers after a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,” said Nick Jones, a Cambridge University Hospital specialist who co-led the study.

The UK has been rolling out Covid vaccinations since late December 2020, with both the Pfizer shot and the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab given to people in high-risk categories.

As part of their study on the Pfizer vaccine, Cambridge researchers analysed results from thousands of Covid tests carried out each week as part of hospital screenings of healthcare staff.

Dr Mike Weekes, an infectious disease specialist at Cambridge University’s department of medicine, who co-led the study, hailed the findings as “great news”.

He said: “The Pfizer vaccine not only provides protection against becoming ill from SARS-CoV-2 but also helps prevent infection, reducing the potential for the virus to be passed on to others.”

After separating the test results from unvaccinated and vaccinated staff, the Cambridge team found that 0.8 per cent of tests from unvaccinated healthcare workers were positive.

This compared with 0.37 per cent of tests from staff less than 12 days after vaccination – when the vaccine’s protective effect is not yet been fully established – and 0.2 per cent of tests from staff at 12 days or more post-vaccination.

The study and its results have yet to be independently peer-reviewed by other scientists, but were published online as a preprint on Friday.

Independent scientists said the findings were very encouraging. Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said: “To see such a reduction in infection rates after a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine is very impressive, and shows that vaccination truly does offer a way out of the current restrictions and a much brighter future.

“It will be important to understand whether the reduced risk of infection played out across all the exposure risk groups included in the study, but nonetheless, this is still excellent news.”

Dr Andrew Freedman, of the Cardiff University School of Medicine, said the latest study “demonstrates clearly the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing infection”. He added: “This means that vaccination will lead to a substantial reduction in transmission of the virus.”

Key real-world data published on Wednesday from Israel, which has conducted one of the world’s fastest rollouts of Pfizer’s vaccine, showed that two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic Covid-19 cases by 94 per cent across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.


How the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine is different from others

The United States now has a third regulator-approved coronavirus vaccine. The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) cleared the vaccine produced by medical giant Johnson & Johnson.

However, this vaccine is different from the others approved in the US. It has provided optimism that swathes of the world could be vaccinated from COVID-19 much quicker than first thought.

Johnson & Johnson has achieved something different to most other vaccine candidates — developed a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires a person to receive two shots, 21 days apart. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine allows for a longer timeframe between the two shots.

Other vaccines which require two doses include Novavax, the Moderna vaccine, Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines.

However, Johnson and Johnson is not the only company to be developing a single-dose vaccine. The CanSino Biologics vaccine developed in China also has a single-dose shot.

The American company has shown results which have proven to be more effective than its Chinese counterpart.

The USFDA said Johnson & Johnson's vaccine offered strong protection against serious illness, hospitalisations and death.

One dose was 85 per cent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents.

Protection remained strong in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.

Meanwhile, the Chinese single-shot vaccine falls well below that mark, according to initial data. CanSino Biologics said its vaccine was 68.83 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease two weeks after a single-dose vaccination, citing interim data, while the rate fell to 65.28 per cent four weeks after one shot.

However, reports from a trial of the vaccine in Pakistan, and other countries, showed promising results in preventing serious coronavirus infections.

Faisal Sultan, Pakistan's Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, said the CanSino Biologics shot was 90.98 per cent effective in preventing serious infections.

Unlike the Johnson & Johnson studies, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna research finished before the South African and British variants began widely spreading.

Along with being a single dose, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine also has another big advantage — it can be kept in warmer temperatures.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, making it extremely difficult to transport and keep in storage.

The Moderna vaccine used in the US also needs to be stored below zero, at -20C.

However, the Johnson & Johnson jab can be stored in a regular fridge between 2-8C.

This puts the vaccine on par with other vaccines which can be stored at these temperatures, including the Sputnik V and the Oxford-AstraZeneca.

These advantages in transport and storage will make the vaccine potentially more accessible.

In the United States, Johnson & Johnson is aiming to distribute 20 million doses by the end of March, and 100 million by the middle of the year.


The Blue States Are Now the Beggar States

Last week, I visited South Florida for four days, and what a shock: Everything was open. The beaches, the hotels, the restaurants (with some sensible safety and social distancing restrictions). The classrooms are full.

The other strange thing about being in Florida was that people were happy. They were playing tennis and golf. They were going to work and getting on with their lives. Florida is a Republican, can-do kind of place.

Then, there is New York. Manhattan is a morose and deserted place to be. It's as if it's boarded up. People are living their lives afraid. They are depressed, which makes the whole place depressing. In Southern California, I experienced the same dreariness. And it wasn't the weather, which was warm and sunny. Restaurants were closed or highly restricted. Stores were sparsely attended, and people were generally grimacing and standoffish. They yelp in horror if you take off your mask, even for a moment.

Yet through it all, there is almost no evidence that lockdowns, business closures, stay-at-home orders and other strategies have reduced the infection rates or death rates from the virus. To take just one prominent example, open Florida has had a lower death rate (adjusted for the age distribution of the population) than closed-down California and New York. Even President Joe Biden's crackerjack health officials can't explain that one.

Fifty states experimented with responses to the virus, and the verdict is in: The big blue states got crushed. The highest unemployment states are Hawaii, Nevada, California, Colorado, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Connecticut. On average, the blue states have 2 percentage points lower unemployment, which means millions of more jobless citizens. Their revenues have collapsed with businesses closed down.

Why New Yorkers put up with walking disasters such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, or why Californians tolerate Gov. Gavin Newsom, is their own business.

The "progressives" in these states voted for higher taxes, more regulations, high energy prices and economic lockdowns. That's democracy in action. Now the latest census data and U-Haul trailer rental data confirm that productive people are "voting with their feet" and accelerating their race to get out of town. The New York Post reports about 1,000 Northeasterners every day are relocating to Florida, Texas and Tennessee. The biggest population losers last year were deep-blue New York, Illinois and California.

Now, Biden wants to give some $400 billion to the failed blue states, mainly from the prospering red states, the ones that wisely didn't shut down their economies or schools. The blue states get a bigger slice of the pie, which is Robin Hood in reverse because blue states generally have a higher per capita income than red states.

The supposedly high-brow, highly educated, culturally refined elites in Beverly Hills, California, and Long Island, New York -- the very same "progressives" who have generally thumbed their nose at the working class "deplorables" in Middle America -- have fallen so far that they now have to beg people in West Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi for money.

You'd think liberals would be ashamed, but spending other people's money is what they do best.

Every liberal Democrat in Congress, from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will vote for the blue-state bailout. Do they understand that in doing so, they are verifying the collapse of the very blue-state liberal model they want to impose on all of America?



Student suspended from education program for factually saying, "A man is a man. A woman is a woman." (Daily Wire)

Thanks to dezinformatsiya, a sizable number of Americans erroneously think over 10,000 unarmed black men are killed by police each year (Not the Bee)

George Floyd riots estimated to cost 66 times more than Capitol damage (though only in DC dollars would the building damage be $30 million) (Federalist)

Forty percent of California's inmates have been vaccinated for COVID. Meanwhile, the vaccination rate for law-abiding Californians is just 6.5%. (Not the Bee)

As our Nate Jackson observes, former California Attorney General and president-in-waiting Kamala Harris was a "tough on crime" lady who threw tons of people in jail, yet inmates are now being vaccinated at an insanely fast rate.

Jen Psaki distances Biden from Andrew Cuomo, says sex harassment claim should be "reviewed" (Fox)

FDA greenlights Pfizer vaccine to be stored at normal freezer temperatures, instead of ultra-cold (Examiner)

Ex-Olympic gymnastics coach kills himself hours after being charged with sex crimes (WaPo)

Policy: Inflation: The next problem for the U.S. economy? (1945)

Policy: Standing up to the intolerant Equality Act (Daily Signal)




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