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Are vaccines the light at the end of the tunnel?


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5 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

My apologies if this question has already been answered and I missed it, but what are the characteristics of the COVID-19 variant that enable it to spread more quickly and easily? If a maskless person who is infected sneezes, do the particles fly further? If they land on a hard surface, to they live longer? Or is the mechanism of transmission not the issue?

 

As there is a case here in Ottawa, I'd like to be better informed. Googling the question provides a lot of information on the "what" but nothing on the "why".

Just read this on NPR.  Relates to the particles and if/how they live on surfaces.  

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/12/28/948936133/still-disinfecting-surfaces-it-might-not-be-worth-it

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4 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

My apologies if this question has already been answered and I missed it, but what are the characteristics of the COVID-19 variant that enable it to spread more quickly and easily? If a maskless person who is infected sneezes, do the particles fly further? If they land on a hard surface, to they live longer? Or is the mechanism of transmission not the issue?

 

As there is a case here in Ottawa, I'd like to be better informed. Googling the question provides a lot of information on the "what" but nothing on the "why".

 

I don't believe anyone knows or really has an idea yet.

 

How it came about is that COVID picks up small mutations here and there, so you can track different strains as they propagate if you sequence a sample of positive specimens.

 

So if all of the viruses are equal, you would expect any new mutation to just be a small percentage of the general milieu of COVID floating around in an area, which is true for most of the mutations.  But once in a while, a strain picks up a significant mutation that makes it spread easier than its other SARS-COV2 brethren. So you see its percentage increase until it becomes the dominant strain in a region.  That's already happened before in Italy, where one strain spreads much easier and so becomes the dominant one that you see in all the specimens.

 

So I don't think we know exactly what property of the virus causes it to be more infectious yet, we just see that it rapidly became the dominant strain in the UK and hence should be more infectious.  And by calculating the rate at which it became the dominant strain you can get an estimate at how much more infectious it is.

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3 minutes ago, LGW59 said:

Just read this on NPR.  Relates to the particles and if/how they live on surfaces.  

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/12/28/948936133/still-disinfecting-surfaces-it-might-not-be-worth-it

Thanks. I've read similar articles and was aware that surface contact was no longer viewed as a big issue. But comments like "They don't find infectious virus, and that's because the virus is very fragile in the environment — it decays very quickly" made me wonder if the variant is less fragile and therefore slower to decay, giving rise to a greater chance of transmission.

 

3 minutes ago, UnorigionalName said:

 

I don't believe anyone knows or really has an idea yet.

 

How it came about is that COVID picks up small mutations here and there, so you can track different strains as they propagate if you sequence a sample of positive specimens.

 

So if all of the viruses are equal, you would expect any new mutation to just be a small percentage of the general milieu of COVID floating around in an area, which is true for most of the mutations.  But once in a while, a strain picks up a significant mutation that makes it spread easier than its other SARS-COV2 brethren. So you see its percentage increase until it becomes the dominant strain in a region.  That's already happened before in Italy, where one strain spreads much easier and so becomes the dominant one that you see in all the specimens.

 

So I don't think we know exactly what property of the virus causes it to be more infectious yet, we just see that it rapidly became the dominant strain in the UK and hence should be more infectious.  And by calculating the rate at which it became the dominant strain you can get an estimate at how much more infectious it is.

Based on what I've read so far, or perhaps more accurately, based on what I haven't read so far, I think you are right, we just don't know yet.

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I have a question about transmission after vaccination.  If the current vaccines are about 95 percent effective, doesn't that mean that there is only a 5 percent chance of getting COVID once fully vaccinated?  If so, what is all the brouhaha about possible transmission post vaccination?  You can't transmit covid if you don't get it...., right?

And, from what I understand, there is hope that the vaccine might lower the transmission risk anyway.

 

M

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3 minutes ago, mimbecky said:

I have a question about transmission after vaccination.  If the current vaccines are about 95 percent effective, doesn't that mean that there is only a 5 percent chance of getting COVID once fully vaccinated?  If so, what is all the brouhaha about possible transmission post vaccination?  You can't transmit covid if you don't get it...., right?

And, from what I understand, there is hope that the vaccine might lower the transmission risk anyway.

 

M

It’s still unclear whether the vaccine(s) simply reduce or eliminate symptoms of COVID-19 or reduce transmission as well.  Some more time and experimentation will be required to sort that out.

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1 hour ago, mimbecky said:

I have a question about transmission after vaccination.  If the current vaccines are about 95 percent effective, doesn't that mean that there is only a 5 percent chance of getting COVID once fully vaccinated?  If so, what is all the brouhaha about possible transmission post vaccination?  You can't transmit covid if you don't get it...., right?

And, from what I understand, there is hope that the vaccine might lower the transmission risk anyway.

 

M

 

Science education in the US is weak.

 

The general population does not understand how to think in rigorous first order logic.

 

Scientists say "there is no evidence" to mean "there is no evidence," not "there is evidence against"

 

Scientists are always cautious and hence said the logically accurate statement "there is no evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission"  In that there is no evidence for or against. As in the vaccine studies are not designed to capture this data, and they have not been around long enough and not enough people have been vaccinated to tell if it is true or not.

 

If you interpret that sentence in colloquial english instead of science-ese, though then the implication is that it means "there is evidence and the evidence shows the vaccine does not prevent transmission" which is wrong.  Yet that's what news sites and general population ran with and internet hysteria commenced.

 

The 95% effectiveness means that as long as you didn't get covid before or during vaccination, starting 1 week after the second vaccine dose, you are 95% less likely to get a symptomatic infection that can be PCR proven. That's it. no more. no less. 

 

Yes, there is probably lots of hope that vaccine lowers transmission risk, given what we know of other vaccines.  But scientists don't want to say that to get people's hopes up and then dash it, seeing as how there has already been a lot of needless and incorrect speculation that has lead to widespread international distrust in scientists and data.

Edited by UnorigionalName
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12 minutes ago, UnorigionalName said:

 

Science education in the US is weak.

 

The general population does not understand how to think in rigorous first order logic.

 

Scientists say "there is no evidence" to mean "there is no evidence," not "there is evidence against"

 

Scientists are always cautious and hence said the logically accurate statement "there is no evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission"  In that there is no evidence for or against. As in the vaccine studies are not designed to capture this data, and they have not been around long enough and not enough people have been vaccinated to tell if it is true or not.

 

If you interpret that sentence in colloquial english instead of science-ese, though then the implication is that it means "there is evidence and the evidence shows the vaccine does not prevent transmission" which is wrong.  Yet that's what news sites and general population ran with and internet hysteria commenced.

 

The 95% effectiveness means that as long as you didn't get covid before or during vaccination, starting 1 week after the second vaccine dose, you are 95% less likely to get a symptomatic infection that can be PCR proven. That's it. no more. no less. 

 

Yes, there is probably lots of hope that vaccine lowers transmission risk, given what we know of other vaccines.  But scientists don't want to say that to get people's hopes up and then dash it, seeing as how there has already been a lot of needless and incorrect speculation that has lead to widespread international distrust in scientists and data.

The general population does not understand how to think in rigorous first order logic. 

 

Appreciate your expertise on the subject, I genuinely do.  Comments such as this though, make me cringe as it is so subjective and not fact based, and frankly a touch of condescension.  

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49 minutes ago, LGW59 said:

The general population does not understand how to think in rigorous first order logic. 

 

Appreciate your expertise on the subject, I genuinely do.  Comments such as this though, make me cringe as it is so subjective and not fact based, and frankly a touch of condescension.  

 

sorry, it's mostly my frustration at the horrible 100% completely avoidable situation we find ourselves in, yet people still refuse to act in the benefit of others and people still refuse to understand the science.

 

Just look at the boards.   Look at the US.  what a mess.  

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4 minutes ago, UnorigionalName said:

 

sorry, it's mostly my frustration at the horrible 100% completely avoidable situation we find ourselves in, yet people still refuse to act in the benefit of others and people still refuse to understand the science.

 

Just look at the boards.   Look at the US.  what a mess.  

On the same page with you there!  My last day in my office was on March 19, blessed and fortunate to work for a firm that is doing very well and has closed our offices but not our jobs.  Have been wearing a mask every time I step outside for a walk or to walk the dog. Have everything delivered to my door, I mean everything.  Buy local at every opportunity that I can.   Did not go to my kids house for TGiving or Xmas. Do I like it, of course not, but I am willingly doing so.  Still see the non-maskers but they are getting fewer and fewer thankfully!  2021 HAS to be better... 

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2 hours ago, mimbecky said:

I have a question about transmission after vaccination.  If the current vaccines are about 95 percent effective, doesn't that mean that there is only a 5 percent chance of getting COVID once fully vaccinated?  If so, what is all the brouhaha about possible transmission post vaccination?  You can't transmit covid if you don't get it...., right?

And, from what I understand, there is hope that the vaccine might lower the transmission risk anyway.

 

M

UnoriginalName gave a pretty good explanation in layman's  terms. Basically, as long as you don't become infected before or during the 2 shot immunization period, you have a 95% chance of not getting a symptomatic case of COVID. 

 

NO ONE, including the scientists working on this,  know yet whether or not transmission would still be possible. It is theoretically possible to be a host  (carrier) without becoming sick yourself. In this possible scenario you could pass on the disease to others who fall in the 5% who aren't protected by the vaccine and also to those who can't or won't be vaccinated.  And that is what the "brouhaha" is about.

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UnoriginalName was on target with the post (#1963) explaining the scientific community being very careful about their phrasing on the transmission issue.   It was not measured directly in the phase 3 trials reported to date.  So scientists and corporations and health care leaders will not say that the vaccines will do something (like prevent transmission) if it was not measured.  But importantly that does not at all mean the the vaccines will not or can not prevent transmission.  It is just hard to measure definitively in a clinical trial.  Especially one designed to just look at efficacy against COVID disease.  And this virus is new and a lot continues to be discovered and learned every single day.  The general public has come to expect immediate answers but science is a process.  The accumulation of data and evidence over time framing the next steps and next questions to be answered.  For scientists like myself I can only say that the pace and quality of this vaccine effort since January has been remarkable.  The transmission issue in effect will be answered once these vaccines are given to millions of people and the pandemic slowly grinds to a halt.

 

 

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1 hour ago, mimbecky said:

Thanks to all for clarification.  I didn't realize that the current vaccines were effective in only preventing symptomatic Covid...I thought Covid completely.

M

 

no, no, no.  This is exactly what I mean.  No one said that.  Stop trying to interpret the words and draw conclusions.  That's completely the wrong way to think.

 

We DO know that the  vaccines prevent symptomatic covid.  We do not know if they do or do not prevent asymptomatic COVID.   The set of things known is like enumerable while the set of things not known is like infinite.  That's why scientists just state clearly the things that are known.  Everything that is not clearly states as known is unknown and that's a lot.  Stop trying to use deductive logic on the language, that's not how any of this works.

 

Again, the lack of evidence is not evidence against.

 

The most current Moderna data suggests the vaccines MAY prevent asymptomatic covid, but we are a long way out from enough data to know if it's true or not.

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2 hours ago, mimbecky said:

Thanks for additional clarification. 

Maybe I just need to quit being inquisitive.  

M

Being inquisitive is great! But their point is that you just have to be careful not to try to draw general conclusions by rewording language that stated a much more limited point.

 

The specific point being made here that "lack of evidence is not the same as evidence against something" is one even scientists have forgotten. The blood banking and plasma industries fought hard against controls restricting donations from high-AIDS-risk groups because early on there was no direct evidence that AIDS could be transmitted from blood transfusions. They continued using unscreened donations based on this lack of evidence, and eventually something like 50% of hemophiliacs in the US had become infected within 3 years and many died.

 

Here is a paper by a scientist who fought desperately to get more restrictions during that time even after only 3 hemophiliac infections were known, but tragically could not get over that hurdle.

 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www1.wfh.org/publication/files/pdf-1269.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwiZg-GKq_TtAhXsxlkKHUJUBisQFjAEegQIIxAB&usg=AOvVaw1EwPHCbxBp-cAe9ybuLgmJ

 

Or just think of the mayor's attitude in "Jaws."

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On 12/28/2020 at 10:36 AM, Fouremco said:

The design of any successful plan has to be based on large groupings of people, not on individuals. It makes sense, for example, that most priority lists include front line medical practitioners as a top priority. But what about the doctor working in an COVID-19 ICU who plans on retiring in six months? Do you skip over him, just because he won't be part of the priority group in a few months?

 

It's easy to sit back and nitpick individual cases when systems have been designed to vaccinate billions of people in the most efficacious manner. As you said, there is absolutely no perfect answer, so finding fault on a micro level really benefits no one.

 

NO PERFECT ANSWER! Amen

Every person who gets vaccinated is a victory. I'm not at all advocating just first come first serve, but part of the reason why the vaccinations are moving slower  than hoped is that the real world logistics of getting people vaccinated is even more complicated than first thought.

Based on experiences of people I know who got COvid, then got vaccinated as well as the people in the trial, the second exposure makes many people feel bad or even run fever, so work groups are trying to stagger vaccinations so that everyone isn't in line to call off work at the same time - that wasn't in the original plan.

At the end of each day there have been some left over doses with the Pfizer that need to go to someone, so a few people get "ahead", but no one wants to waste doses.

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mimbecky, don't quit being inquisitive.  Others need to not jump down the throat of people who make a simple and reasonable assumption.

 

The reality is that at this point in time, we DO know that the current vaccines are effective in preventing symptomatic covid.   Beyond that, we don't know anything.  It might prevent transmission or it might not.  

 

It's a simple assumption to make that vaccines prevent you from getting the disease AND from transmitting it, since that's what so many vaccines do.    Look at comments from people in the medical field who are getting the vaccine.  They make the same assumption and comment as if it does prevent infection.  

 

We'll eventually find out if it stops transmission or not.  Hopefully it does, because if it doesn't, it's going to get worse before it gets better because people who have been vaccinated will tend to be more care-free in their behaviour and will become more likely to come into contact with the virus, passing it along to those who have not yet been vaccinated.  

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On 12/28/2020 at 10:36 AM, Fouremco said:

The design of any successful plan has to be based on large groupings of people, not on individuals. It makes sense, for example, that most priority lists include front line medical practitioners as a top priority. But what about the doctor working in an COVID-19 ICU who plans on retiring in six months? Do you skip over him, just because he won't be part of the priority group in a few months?

 

It's easy to sit back and nitpick individual cases when systems have been designed to vaccinate billions of people in the most efficacious manner. As you said, there is absolutely no perfect answer, so finding fault on a micro level really benefits no one.

 

You're right of course.  I'm just getting very frustrated in general at how the vaccine is being distributed and at what pace, after such an extraordinarily rapid development, as well as being promised otherwise by our leaders.  To see the first dose (admittedly in Germany, and not here) distributed to someone who can't make the best use of it just added to my frustration.  And that was written right after I watched a news story about a nurse getting the vaccine, even though she had already suffered through having Covid.  I know we don't yet know how long immunity lasts, but since so many first line medical and responders have already had the virus, it would be nice if they could test them for antibodies first - and if they have them perhaps they go back a phase or two.  I know these things are likely somewhat impractical, but at the same time, these doses going to people who probably don't need them in the first phase could literally be costing someone else their life.  Ugh.  It's all very complicated.

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35 minutes ago, phoenix_dream said:

You're right of course.  I'm just getting very frustrated in general at how the vaccine is being distributed and at what pace, after such an extraordinarily rapid development, as well as being promised otherwise by our leaders.  To see the first dose (admittedly in Germany, and not here) distributed to someone who can't make the best use of it just added to my frustration.  And that was written right after I watched a news story about a nurse getting the vaccine, even though she had already suffered through having Covid.  I know we don't yet know how long immunity lasts, but since so many first line medical and responders have already had the virus, it would be nice if they could test them for antibodies first - and if they have them perhaps they go back a phase or two.  I know these things are likely somewhat impractical, but at the same time, these doses going to people who probably don't need them in the first phase could literally be costing someone else their life.  Ugh.  It's all very complicated.

Understand.  My son told me to chill.  The vaccine distribution process is something that I have absolutely no control.  Vaccine production is still getting ramped up and the holidays have made innoculations slow to happen.

Until we have the AZ and J &J vaccines there will not be sufficient vaccine for the general population.  Things will get better.  Patience.

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7 hours ago, mimbecky said:

Thanks for additional clarification. 

Maybe I just need to quit being inquisitive.  

M

 

 

mimbecky, as others have said, please don't stop being  inquisitive. The answer you're looking for is difficult for most people with the expertise to understand it to actually explain (and that includes me!)! It's not nasty;  it's out of most people's comfort zone. You get used to being absolutely technically accurate, because in your day job to do otherwise is going to be blasted by your peers. Blunt and correct is expected, polite generally isn't. So most of us fall into blunt, and your question(s) happens to be one of the most exasperating questions to those with a highly technical scientific background! It's the "how many times do we have to explain this?" question, and the answer to that is once more, politely. Because it's important to you.

 

I made most of my career out of  being a "translator". I can understand and translate complicated information for senior decision makers who want a technically correct, understandable answer; not a doctoral thesis. I discovered at some point to my benefit that's somewhat rare...

 

But I think you got the answer. The studies can show decreased symptomatic disease, and do. They can't show decreased transmission. So we don't know about transmission one way or the other. And the technically accurate answer is no evidence to support reduced transmission, but the actual result is also no evidence to prove is doesn't reduce transmission. That's going to take time, and other studies.

 

Hang in there! You're watching one of the most complicated sausage making exercises in the history of the human race, and it's playing out in real time on multiple media sources who each take a slightly different spin on their coverage. Not to mention social media, and the odd Cruise forum.

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It has just been announced that the Oxford- Zeneca vaccine has been approved in UK.

As it doesn’t have to be stored at -70 degrees, it can be stored in Drs fridges and therefore it is hoped that administration will be speeded up.🙏

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18 hours ago, TeeRick said:

UnoriginalName was on target with the post (#1963) explaining the scientific community being very careful about their phrasing on the transmission issue.   It was not measured directly in the phase 3 trials reported to date.  So scientists and corporations and health care leaders will not say that the vaccines will do something (like prevent transmission) if it was not measured.  But importantly that does not at all mean the the vaccines will not or can not prevent transmission.  It is just hard to measure definitively in a clinical trial.  Especially one designed to just look at efficacy against COVID disease.  And this virus is new and a lot continues to be discovered and learned every single day.  The general public has come to expect immediate answers but science is a process.  The accumulation of data and evidence over time framing the next steps and next questions to be answered.  For scientists like myself I can only say that the pace and quality of this vaccine effort since January has been remarkable.  The transmission issue in effect will be answered once these vaccines are given to millions of people and the pandemic slowly grinds to a halt.

 

 

Good morning!  wanted to share two links.  One to an interesting article about giving people only one dose of the vaccine and the second one is a link to the CDC V-safe tool, for those of you getting vaccinated.

BTW, I received my first dose of Moderna's vaccine as an early Christmas gift last Thursday.  I only experienced soreness on the injection area for two days.  My husband will be fully vaccinated in a week because he got Pfizer's vaccine on Dec.17,  I will catch up two weeks later 😀

We are experiencing the same frustrations and problems with the vaccine distribution as everywhere else.  Though the National Guard is trying to figure out the best way to do this.  Wishing all of you a brighter 2021.

https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2020/12/18/coronavirus-vaccine-single-dose-debate

https://vsafe.cdc.gov/?fbclid=IwAR3zXYGF3ih5fX4Zp6HtpKEI0SsGh_Sckl9K3FLYTuQG-DwbMBskZc5IjI0

 

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