COVID-19 vaccine protection is fading as the number of cases increase

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Researchers in the UK have found that the protection offered by the Pfizer/Biotech and AstraZeneca vaccines begins to fall after six months. The researchers have linked this to the need for booster shots for those who already had two doses of the vaccine.

While major countries like the US, UK and also the EU are planning to administer booster shots, there has been some criticism and scepticism. Some researchers believed there was no evidence that booster shots were necessary. Some also believe it would be morally wrong to start giving people a third dose many people are unable to access the vaccines at all.

To read more check out this article on Reuters – ‘COVID vaccine protection wanes within six months – UK researchers

Do you need to wear a face mask outside?

Face masks have become part of our new normal over the past year both indoors and outdoors. While they’re highly recommended inside heavily populated areas like supermarkets/grocery stores and public transport, there’s not much guidance when it comes to outside.

According to Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH, the risk of catching COVID-19 outside is quite low.

“The risk of outside transmission is very low because viral particles disperse effectively in the outside air. A study in Wuhan, China, which involved careful contact tracing, discovered that just one of 7,324 infection events investigated was linked to outdoor transmission. In a recent analysis of over 232,000 infections in Ireland, only one case of COVID-19 in every thousand was traced to outdoor transmission. And a scoping review from the University of Canterbury concluded that outdoor transmission was rare, citing the opportunity costs of not encouraging the public to congregate outdoors. Overall, transmission is around 5000 times less likely to happen outside than inside.” (Posted April 27, 2021)

Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH
Infectious Diseases doctor and Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

… so, does that mean that we ditch our face masks and get some fresh air? With the vaccination programmes across the world coming along more efficiently and effectively we’re edging closer and closer to that point.

However, until it’s fully safe to do otherwise, we should all continue to maintain social distancing when around people who aren’t in our households, support bubbles or friendship groups.


The quote is taken from Sciline’s ‘Quotes From Experts‘.

Update: EMA concludes that benefits of AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks

The EMA safety committee held a meeting on 18th March and found that:

  1. the benefits of the vaccine in combating the still widespread threat of COVID-19 (which itself results in clotting problems and may be fatal) continue to outweigh the risk of side effects;
  2. the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots in those who receive it;
  3. there is no evidence of a problem related to specific batches of the vaccine or to particular manufacturing sites;
  4. however, the vaccine may be associated with very rare cases of blood clots associated with thrombocytopenia, i.e. low levels of blood platelets (elements in the blood that help it to clot) with or without bleeding, including rare cases of clots in the vessels draining blood from the brain (CVST).

The full report of the meeting can be found here.

AstraZeneca vaccine suspended in Europe due to safety concerns

Several countries across Europe have suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine due to safety concerns. There have been reports of blood clotting and deaths in people who have been administered the vaccine.

In comparison, there seems to be little trouble with the rollout of the vaccine in the UK with scientists there insisting that the jab is safe.

What happens next?

The European Medicines Agency is currently reviewing the issue, along with the Moderna and Pfizer-Biotech vaccines which have also been linked to blood clotting. The EMA executive director, Emer Cooke, said:

There is no indication vaccination has caused these [blood clotting] conditions.

However, like with any form of medicine, we will only find the answers through continuous testing.

Currently, WHO has stated that it is safe to continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine and indications are that the suspensions may not last, particularly in Europe where some countries are experiencing a third wave of infections.

16th March 2021:

WHO is investigating the reports and working closely with the European Medicines Agency.

As soon as review of the data is finalized, we’ll inform the public of any findings.

For the moment, the European Medicines Agency’s position is that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risks of side effects.

WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) is meeting today to review the reports of rare blood coagulation disorders in persons who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine.


Source:

4 COVID-19 Expert Quotes

Coronavirus (or COVID-19) has taken the world by storm, and after a frenzied period at the beginning of the year, many countries are seeing a rise in the number of cases. Despite the efforts from scientists and researchers across the globe, there is still no vaccine for the virus. This means society is still relying on social distancing and hygiene measures to limit the spread of the virus.

With the general public unused to this kind of phenomenon, it’s down to the experts to keep us up to date and informed.

Here are 4 Expert COVID-19 quotes… Continue reading “4 COVID-19 Expert Quotes”

the effect of COVID-19 on mental health

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I wish it would just go away. 

That is a common sentiment everyone’s heard at least once this year thanks to the coronavirus, COVID-19, the global pandemic that’s taken the world by storm since early February. COVID-19 has left a huge and unprecedented impact on modern society.

An article in Brain, Behavior and Immunity states COVID-19 ‘threatens our basic need for connection’ which could have severe impacts on mental health. This is shown by a study carried out in Spain during the lockdown on 3480 people. Of the people who took part, 18% were depressive, 21.6% suffered from anxiety and 15.8% were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Additionally, many people have lost loved ones or been devastated in other ways.

This is an unsettling and unpredictable time. Life as we know it has changed and shows no signs of going back to normal soon. Continue reading “the effect of COVID-19 on mental health”

the benefits to wearing face masks outweigh any downsides [quote]

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“There is increasing evidence through comparisons of what’s happening in different countries and in different states, in terms of mask usage and mandates, that masks help slow transmission of COVID-19. Of course, it would be ideal if everyone had access to high-quality masks, but masks do not have to be 100% effective to reduce one’s exposure to virus. At this point, any reduction helps. I think it is becoming clear that the benefits to wearing face coverings outweigh any downsides.”

— Linsey Marr, PhD, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Quote originally posted here.

Why wearing a mask might not prevent the spread of coronavirus

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What is a coronavirus?

Coronavirus is the scientific name for a group of viruses that cause things like common colds and more serious illnesses like SARS (severe acute respiratory symptom). They can be transmitted from humans to other humans or from animals to humans.


Why is it in the news today?

The coronavirus we’ve been hearing about is a new strain of the virus that nobody had come across before it struck patients in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China last year. It has now been named COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019), and is classified as a respiratory illness caused by virus strain SARS-COV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and as of yet, there is no vaccine.

It is currently a serious issue because of the rate at which it is spreading and the fact that it can be fatal.

As of writing there has been 1,923,651 reported cases and over 119,595 deaths globally (you can keep up to date with the current figures here).


How is it transmited?

During the initial stages of the outbreak, it was thought that there was animal-to-person spread originating in a seafood and live animal market. However, a lot of patients didn’t have any contact or exposure with animal markets suggesting that there is in fact person-to-person spread.

This has been the case in countries all across the world where it appears to be spreading easily due to a lack of social distancing, limited testing and poor hygiene practices when the first few cases began to appear. This led to a high level of person to person spread first in Italy, which became the new epicentre of the virus, and then the rest of Europe before the number of cases grew in the United States.

Person to person spread comes about when people come within six feet of an infected patient. It is thought that people are most contagious when they’re sick. The virus is spread through droplets produced by sneezing and coughing.

Although, currently the World Health Organisation doesn’t believe that COVID-19 is airborne, a research article in Environmental International states:

National authorities [should] acknowledge the reality that the virus spreads through air, and recommend that adequate control measures be implemented to prevent further spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Will wearing a mask prevent transmission?

Much has been made of members of the public wearing face masks with the WHO reluctant to state that it’s a foolproof method of preventing transmission. While local authorities are suggesting that people wear cloth face masks while out and about, there is not yet enough evidence to say that they will stop people from catching COVID-19. 

The question has remained: are masks effective when it comes to preventing droplets from spreading?

In short, no.

That’s the worrying answer a group of researchers in South Korea arrived at when they put surgical masks and cotton masks to the test. Continue reading “Why wearing a mask might not prevent the spread of coronavirus”

science in process of being done [quote]

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As per History of Vaccines, “Pierre Paul Émile Roux (1853-1933) was a protégé of Louis Pasteur and a pioneer in bacteriology and immunology.” He was a French bacteriologist known for his research into tetanus and diphtheria. He also worked on the development of vaccines with Pasteur.


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History of Vaccines,
ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA