Q&A - How Long Will Covid-19 Vaccines Be Effective?


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Today’s entry: @brianmuddradio something else is going on here and it might be that the vaccines are wearing off or are not as effective against variants. Vaccine rates don’t explain why covid dropped dramatically and it's now going back up. But they’ll never admit the vaccine may be flawed.

Bottom Line: The curve in the increase in cases with the onset of summer was expected. As I addressed earlier this week, 2020’s summer surge in new Florida COVID-19 cases started on June 3rd. Florida’s trend rose daily until peaking on July 18th. Governor DeSantis said, "We knew it was going to be low in May and it was, and we know as we got to the end of June, July would go up because that’s what happened last year". So, there’s nothing unexpected about the trend we’ve seen with new cases.

The question is about the pervasiveness of the new cases. Fifty-four percent of Floridians have been vaccinated including over 60% of adults. By the time you account for the 11% of the population who’ve had COVID-19, and thus antibodies, we're likely to be in the neighborhood of that 70% level that had been tossed around as the level needed for herd immunity. Yet here we are with overall COVID-19 cases only 45% lower than a year ago when there weren’t any vaccines available and only about 3% of Florida’s population had contracted the virus.

To your point, the numbers don’t compute. Not with the level of efficacy commonly proclaimed against the original strain of COVID-19. So, to your point, could it be that the efficacy of the vaccines are already waning?

While we won’t know that answer until well after the fact, it's worth considering the average length of efficacy of the traditional flu vaccine. In 2017, the most comprehensive study of its kind on the length of efficacy of the traditional flu vaccine was published in the National Library of Medicine. Here are two key takeaways from it starting with the background quoting the study: Recent studies suggest that influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) may wane over the course of an influenza season, leading to suboptimal VE during late influenza seasons. And quoting the conclusion: We observed decreasing influenza vaccine protection with increasing time since vaccination across influenza types/subtypes. The bottom line was significant and near-immediate declines in overall efficacy for the flu. 

If the bell curve of efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines were to be somewhat similar, much of what we’re seeing would be explained. The traditional flu vaccine retains no efficacy after 5-6 months while having lost most of its efficacy after four. With the first fully vaccinated Floridians having completed the schedule in January, we’re now six full months into the process. Other than this being meant for informational purposes which might, and I want to emphasize might provide an explanation regarding the rise in “breakthrough” cases, it’s something we probably should be mindful of even if fully vaccinated. 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

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