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How much does vaccine efficacy drop over 6 months? The VA and CDC duke it out

Whose data are better? Whose study was peer-reviewed? Who got published in Science magazine?

By Meryl Nass, MD | November 13, 2021

CDC is always finding ways to massage their data or use estimates instead of real numbers to “prove” the veracity of whatever narrative it is currently pushing. But I think CDC did not reckon with the VA system fighting back with the truth.

Here is the conclusion of CDC’s study of (selected) VA data regarding COVID vaccine efficacy over six months:

During February 1–August 6, 2021, vaccine effectiveness among U.S. veterans hospitalized at five Veterans Affairs Medical Centers was 87%. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines remain highly effective, including during periods of widespread circulation of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant. Vaccine effectiveness in preventing COVID-19–related hospitalization was 80% among adults aged ≥65 years compared with 95% among adults aged 18–64 years.

VA scientists pushed ahead and studied the entire VA database of 780,000 vaccinated beneficiaries from February to October, and published it in the US’ premier science journal, Science.

Their conclusions, drawn with only a few more weeks of data than CDC had, but using a more complete dataset that had not been cherrypicked, were shockingly different than what CDC’s braintrust had reported.

Here is how the VA authors characterized CDC’s overall COVID data collection:

The debate over boosters in the U.S. (24) has laid bare the limitations of its public health infrastructure: national data on vaccine breakthrough are inadequate. The CDC transitioned in May 2021 from monitoring all breakthrough infections to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause, including causes not related to COVID-19 (25). Some data on vaccinations, infections, and deaths are collected through a patchwork of local health departments (10), but these data are frequently out of date and difficult to aggregate at the national level. Here, we address this gap and examine SARS-CoV-2 infection and deaths by vaccination status in 780,225 Veterans during the period February 1, 2021 to October 1, 2021, encompassing the emergence and dominance of the Delta variant in the U.S.

And their results?

“26,114 positive PCR tests occurred in 498,148 fully vaccinated Veterans–over 5% of vaccinated veterans got COVID despite their vaccinations.”

There are probably considerably more than 5% of vaccinated veterans who came down with COVID:  those who chose to be tested closer to home than in a VA facility were not included.

In March, VE-I (vaccine efficacy against infection) was 86.4%  for Janssen89.2%  for Moderna; and 86.9%  for Pfizer-BioNTech.

But six months later…

By September, VE-I had declined to 13.1% for Janssen; 58.0%  for Moderna; and 43.3%  for Pfizer-BioNTech.

This is consistent with Israel’s report in August that Pfizer vaccine efficacy had dropped to 39%. Israel vaccinated its population more speedily than the US and all other countries.

The VA found that protection against death was better than protection against infection, but also waned over time. And the VA authors then cited ten other studies who data were consistent with what the VA found:

Other U.S. studies (2931), many conducted in large healthcare systems, similarly show declining VE-I as the Delta variant rose to dominance, with notable declines in older adults. For example, two studies conducted in Kaiser Permanente Southern California show VE-I decreased from 95% at 14-60 days to 79% at 151-180 days after vaccination for ages 18-64 years (29), and from 80% at 1 month to 43% at 5 months after vaccination for ages ≥65 years (31). Declines in protection against infection with Delta have been observed in Israel (16), the UK (2021), and Qatar (3233)…

It is not yet known whether breakthrough infections increase risk of long COVID (otherwise known as post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 or PASC), a constellation of debilitating and lingering symptoms following infection.

It seems we ought to know whether the vaccinated COVID patients are at higher risk, lower risk or the same risk of long COVID by now. But CDC isn’t telling.

It is remarkable that the VA was allowed to publish these honest data. Perhaps all those vaccine mandates for federal employees had something to do with it?

November 14, 2021 - Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | ,

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