Breathe Easier With Vaccine

Virus Transmission Continues


As the coronavirus vaccines trickle down to the masses, you might exhale a sigh of relief. But remember, we are not out of the woods. Some people oppose the inocula­tion and others have yet to receive it.

After the vaccine works its way through your body, you build some immunity to the virus. Data is still coming in, so we do not know the duration of its effects. There is no way to tell whether the vaccine prevents asympto­matic people from spread­ing the virus. Scientists continue to monitor whether the vaccines remain effective against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. There have been reports of non-lethal mild breakthrough infections lasting up to 36 hours.

Researchers believe the transmis­sion rate in the U.S. of the variant, labeled B.1.1.7, is 30–40% higher than that of more common lineages. The Delta variant was originally labeled B.1.617.2. Even with 98% efficacy, vaccinating 8 billion people leaves 160,000 with complica­tions. Some vaccines report lower efficacy.

The world faces around 4,000 variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is unlikely that the current vaccines will work against all new variants. “We are keeping a library of all the variants so that we are ready to respond—whether in the autumn or beyond—to any challenge that the virus may present and produce the next vaccine,” says British Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi.

Vaccine Immunity Results

Clinical trials and fast-tract approvals were based on the original virus. Such vaccines are about half as effective against more powerful variants. So yes, they will help fight new strains or lessen symptoms. But they cannot, with certainty, protect against virus transmission.

Pfizer expects to receive full FDA approval for its primary vaccine by the end of July 2021. With proliferation of the Delta mutation, Pfizer is readying a booster vaccine for August. However, the CDC is not ready mandate boosters.

The rapid mutation of the coronavirus suggests that booster vaccines are inevitable. This does not diminish the importance of the first vaccines.

Masks Still Effective

Your relative invincibility can be short-lived with risky behaviors. Don’t pull down your masks too soon. Chronic conditions like asthma or COPD will continue to cause health problems. With the exception of the 2021 season when people wore masks, each flu season claims thousands of lives because it mutates. Face coverings reduce the spread of multiple respiratory conditions. Be smart and safe.

There is no outward indication that some­one has been vac­cinated. You most often take their word for it. In social settings, this is insufficient assurance. The new normal requires vigilant safety precau­tions for the foresee­able future. This can include social distancing, face masks, and frequent hand washing. Less COVID-19 cases frees up doctors to address other health conditions.

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  1. UK COVID–19 Variant Doubling Every 10 Days in the US: Study. Retrieved 27 Jul 2021
  2. One-shot COVID–19 vaccine is effective against severe disease. Retrieved 27 Jul 2021
  3. World Faces Around 4000 COVID–19 Variants as Britain Explores Mixed Vaccine Shots. Retrieved 27 Jul 2021
  4. Pfizer to seek FDA authorization for third, booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine. Retrieved 27 Jul 2021
Updated: Mar 24, 2023

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