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Post-vaccination questions

Questions and answers on vaccines, cookouts, masking, and a slow return to normal after the coronavirus pandemic


Brittany Murray /MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Post-vaccination questions

As Europe and Asia stumble in vaccinating their citizens, America has leaped ahead. The United States in mid-April was averaging more than 3 million doses per day: President Biden had promised 100 million vaccines in 100 days, but the second hundred million shots had been distributed by day 92.

Yet lingering questions about the vaccine threaten to slow that progress just as they become available to all comers. Below I answer some common questions regarding the vaccines available in the United States.

Do the vaccines work? The vaccines used in the United States work very well. Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines provide 80 percent protection two weeks after the first shot. After the second shot, protection increases: A large U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study of vaccinated front-line workers found the two mRNA vaccines to be 90 percent effective in preventing any infection. An Israeli study showed the Pfizer jab to be 97 percent effective “in preventing symptomatic disease, severe disease, and death.” Researchers found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine 72 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19.

If they work, why do some vaccinated people still get sick? You may have seen reports about people getting COVID-19 even after receiving the vaccine. For instance, in January, Iona College basketball coach Rick Pitino tested positive for COVID-19 “days after he received the first of two doses.” However, that was too early for the vaccine to have helped him. Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 jabs take time to work—about two weeks—as the immune system needs to learn what the vaccine is teaching it.

As of April 26, some 9,200 Americans had contracted COVID-19 after full vaccination. That number sounds large until one considers how many Americans had been fully vaccinated: 29 percent of the country, or 95 million people, at the time of the report.

It’s very hard for vaccinated people to get COVID-19, and they appear to be much less contagious when they do.

How does the coronavirus affect vaccinated people differently than nonvaccinated people? Even in cases where the vaccines don’t fully stem infections, they can prevent suffering—and death—as the vaccines give the immune system a head start against the virus. Of those 9,200 “breakthrough” cases, 9 percent were hospitalized and only 1 percent died. This is an improvement as nearly half of the infections were reported in people aged 60 and up, the highest-risk group. Without vaccinations, the fatality rate in those over 80 years old was 8 percent.

Cases of COVID-19 contraction after vaccines are not only likely to be less severe but also less contagious than normal cases. The amount of virus found in nose and throat swabs in a large Israeli study was far smaller among patients who had been vaccinated. Remember Rt, the “effective reproductive number” discussed early in the pandemic, where an Rt of 1.0 means that each sick person infects an average of one other person? Vaccines push the Rt down in two ways: First, it’s very hard for vaccinated people to get COVID-19, and second, they appear to be much less contagious when they do.

If I’m vaccinated, can I have a cookout with nonvaccinated friends and family? Given what we know by this point, it’s low-risk for fully vaccinated people to spend time around nonvaccinated friends or family. If you’re organizing a group of nonvaccinated people who don’t normally have contact with each other, a cookout (or other outdoor activity) is a great way to limit their risk of infecting each other compared with meeting indoors.

If I’m vaccinated, should I still wear a mask? The CDC announced in April that fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces or crowds. However, they do not need a mask when outdoors or indoors with fully vaccinated people or with unvaccinated people from one other household.

Personally, I’ve set my P100 mask aside but haven’t stopped wearing masks entirely yet. Not because I’m still at meaningful risk, but because I want to encourage patience among those who haven’t had their shots yet. Apart from that, life is resuming all around me, and inside my own household too: Having had our vaccines, we have cut both our own risk and the risk of those around us dramatically. Once a given person is fully vaccinated, the “new normal” looks more and more like the old normal.

—Do you have a question for Dr. Charles Horton? If so, please send your name and question to ­[email protected]


Charles Horton, M.D. Charles is WORLD's medical correspondent. He is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a physician. Charles resides near Pittsburgh with his wife and four children.

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VTfarmer

Of those 9,200 “breakthrough” cases, 9 percent were hospitalized and only 1 percent died. This is an improvement as nearly half of the infections were reported in people aged 60 and up, the highest-risk group. Without vaccinations, the fatality rate in those over 80 years old was 8 percent.

At the very least, this is a misleading use of statistics. If the infection rate in the general vaccinated public is 1%, it is not an equal comparison to 8% of those 80 years and older. What is the general infection rate of covid? Infection rate before, infection rate after. Not only is it uninformative but also misleading to use best case statistics again worst case statistics.

Laura WVTfarmer

You've got to look at the previous paragraph too: "As of April 26, some 9,200 Americans had contracted COVID-19 after full vaccination. That number sounds large until one considers how many Americans had been fully vaccinated: 29 percent of the country, or 95 million people, at the time of the report." That's less than 1 in a million who got Covid-19 after the vaccine had time to take effect. And yes, it would be informative to compare that to the general population, but that would probably also be hard to pin down, since not everyone who gets sick gets tested.

Of those one in a million people who got Covid-19 after full vaccination, 1% died (and the group that got vaccinated first includes a lot of people who were high-risk to begin with). That 8% figure is the death rate for the 80+ group (out of those who got infected), not the infection rate. So it is valid to compare the 1% with the 8%. (Though it's not exactly a one to one comparison--probably the age brackets are reported differently in the available statistics.)

My Two Cents

“As of April 26, some 9,200 Americans had contracted COVID-19 after full vaccination. That number sounds large until one considers how many Americans had been fully vaccinated: 29 percent of the country, or 95 million people, at the time of the report.... Of those 9,200 “breakthrough” cases, 9 percent were hospitalized and only 1 percent died. This is an improvement as nearly half of the infections were reported in people aged 60 and up, the highest-risk group. Without vaccinations, the fatality rate in those over 80 years old was 8 percent.”
These numbers are actually quite alarming to me. The vaccination is just another line of defense against the virus. If people have continued to follow CDC guidelines throughout the vaccination process, those breakthrough cases should be extremely rare.
Furthermore, deaths related to Covid has been hotly contested. If I accept excess deaths as legitimately related to Covid, then why can’t we count deaths after receiving one or more doses of the vaccine, vaccine related deaths? So far, everyone that I have read about that died after getting the shot has been recorded as death to old age, or natural causes, or cancer.
My other questions are why are people who have already had the virus still told to get vaccinated, and why is the general population being coerced into receiving a vaccination that so far is authorized for emergency use?

Laura WMy Two Cents

How rare do you think they should be? As of the time those numbers were collected, it was slightly less than one in a million who got Covid-19 after full vaccination.

PEACEBEYONDUNDERSTANDI

Please present both sides of the effects of the experimental biological, gene-therapy aka COVID-19 vaccine. The article by Charles Horton, MD is an interview and the opinion of your WORLD Magazine staff member. Do not present your article in absence of another perspective. Let the reader THINK AND DECIDE ON THEIR OWN what they think of this experimental agent by providing BOTH sides of the effects of this product. Interviewing another medically trained professional with an opposing opinion, for example.

https://www.bitchute.com/video/egVcZ4Na3EXH/

https://leohohmann.com/2021/04/30/highly-cited-covid-doctor-comes-to-stunning-conclusion-govt-scrubbing-unprecedented-numbers-of-injection-related-deaths/

https://physiciansforinformedconsent.org/pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-risk-statement/

https://www.rt.com/uk/519905-uk-lockdowns-covid-flu/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9faQkIA6YNU

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2021/04/17/the-ugly-truth-about-covid.aspx?ui=b79f6749e15dc070545d442fcf1f9028c86af1fd5fd89719bcacdbf16f6898f3&sd=20210223&cid_source=dnl&cid_medium=email&cid_content=art1HL&cid=20210417&mid=DM860177&rid=1135183032

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2021/04/18/cdc-violated-law-to-inflate-covid-cases-and-fatalities.aspx?ui=b79f6749e15dc070545d442fcf1f9028c86af1fd5fd89719bcacdbf16f6898f3&sd=20210223&cid_source=dnl&cid_medium=email&cid_content=art1HL&cid=20210418_HL2&mid=DM860983&rid=1136003309

https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/deceptive-construction-why-we-must-question-covid-19-mortality-statistics

https://www.businessinsider.com/6-ft-social-distancing-rule-exposure-indoors-2021-4?amp&__twitter_impression=true
https://mises.org/wire/why-there-no-correlation-between-masks-lockdowns-and-covid-suppression

Laura WPEACEBEYONDUNDERSTANDI

I think World has done a good job so far of presenting balanced and credible information on the pandemic and vaccines. I recently sent in a question for Dr. Horton myself and was very impressed with the thoughtfulness of his response. He is just one person, but it does seem like his views are very much in line with what most doctors are saying right now. My own doctor said some pretty similar things when I saw him recently (he's strongly encouraging people to set up an appointment to get vaccinated if they haven't done so already), and he's someone my family has trusted for decades.

NanamiroPEACEBEYONDUNDERSTANDI

I didn't get the impression in this article that Dr. Horton was encouraging everyone to get vaccinated (though he may believe that). I agree that it would be nice to hear about legitimate concerns with the vaccines instead of just telling us what we've already heard. Every vaccine carries risks and certainly a new type of vaccine that's only been around about 8 months would be more risky than average. I'd like to hear medical experts and organizations stop encouraging people who have already recovered from Covid to get vaccinated. I'm just not seeing that the benefit could possibly outweigh the risks for most people.

Laura WNanamiro

No, I was just mentioning someone else I trust to give sound medical advice. I'm curious what makes you think that the benefit from vaccination wouldn't outweigh the risks for people who have already recovered from Covid-19. Maybe the medical experts have good reason to say what they're saying. From what I've heard, the vaccines we're using in the US do provide a stronger protection against reinfection than recovery does, so there would still be a benefit for people who have already had Covid-19 once. (If you'd rather avoid the mRNA tech, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses a more traditional approach.)

PNIC9738Laura W

Since last March, how many who have recovered from COVID have been reinfected? Answer, almost zero. So, how exactly does a vaccine provide "stronger protection against reinfection" than the near 100% from natural infection? Answer: because someone is making a lot of money sticking their product in your arm.

Laura WPNIC9738

The answer is we really don't know--you'd need to have a confirmed diagnosis both times, and be able to rule out long-haul Covid. Not a lot of states are set up to even look for that right now: https://www.statnews.com/2021/04/07/covid-19-reinfections-still-seem-rare/
https://khn.org/news/article/why-the-u-s-is-underestimating-covid-reinfection/

RCRE8109PEACEBEYONDUNDERSTANDI

While I like to see both sides of an argument, I don’t not believe any media producer has any obligation to present both sides, including WORLD. I am not sure what you mean by sides? From some of the sources you reference, the side they represent is anti-government, anti-science or anti-vaccine and just very critical. You use the word, “experimental”, twice. As if there was a better alternative? I agree the process that we have undergone in fighting covid-19 has been unprecedented. It has been a 100-years since anything like this has ever happened. Based on the speed of infection and death toll the rush to solutions has been totally justified. The reality is that the government and science have been struggling to figure this out as best they can, as quickly as they can.

You are a reader of WORLD and have obviously made your decision based on other information, which is 100% available to any other WORLD reader. So, WORLD is not hurting other readers ability to go see other perspectives. I have studied many sources and have reached the opposite conclusion to yours. As far as I know, people in America are still free to not get vaccinated. Life is risky venture no matter what you do, but time will tell who is right and who is wrong.