Fully vaccinated adults are at a much lower risk of severe illness and hospitalization, according to a new large-scale study, adding to the growing body of evidence of the benefits of vaccines.
It’s also one of the first pieces of research that show vaccination is an effective tool against long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms.
The study, which was published Wednesday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, used data from more than 1.2 million partially and fully vaccinated adults in the UK between December 2020 and July 2021. Fourteen days or more after the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccines, just 0.5% reported a breakthrough infection. After the second dose, that number dropped to fewer than 0.2%.
“We are at a critical point in the pandemic as we see cases rising worldwide due to the delta variant. Breakthrough infections are expected and don’t diminish the fact that these vaccines are doing exactly what they were designed to do — save lives and prevent serious illness,” study co-lead author Dr. Claire Steves said.
Among those who did have a breakthrough infection, the chance of being asymptomatic increased 63% after a first dose of the vaccine, and 94% after the second dose. Healthy adults over 60 saw about half the risk of breakthrough infections as frail older adults or older adults with underlying conditions.
Additionally, the odds of experiencing so-called “long-haul” COVID, or symptoms after 28 days of infection, dropped by 50% after two vaccine doses.
“Our findings highlight the crucial role vaccines play in larger efforts to prevent COVID-19 infections, which should still include other personal protective measures such as mask-wearing, frequent testing and social distancing,” Steves said.
Also in the news:
► The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to reconsider their Labor Day travel plans, particularly if they aren’t vaccinated, amid one of the worst COVID-19 surges of the pandemic.
► A woman attempting to use a fake COVID-19 vaccine card with the shot maker listed as “Maderna,” instead of Moderna, was arrested in Hawaii and is facing up to $5,000 in fines and potential jail time.
►Connally Independent School District in Central Texas closed its schools until after the Labor Day holiday Tuesday after two teachers died last week of COVID-19. The school has had 51 confirmed COVID-19 cases since classes began on Aug. 18.
► Superintendent Tom Wilson, of Anderson School District Five in South Carolina, announced Thursday a program to pay high school students $100 for vaccination proof. Now, some parents are calling for his ouster.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 39.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 642,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 218.3 million cases and 4.5 million deaths. More than 174.6 million Americans — 52.6% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: Health experts say antibody tests results may give people the wrong impression of their level of immunity protection from the COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s why antibody tests can’t confirm if you’re protected.
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A section of Japan is no longer administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine after black particles were found in a vial.
BBC reports that a pharmacist in the Kanagawa Prefecture noticed the foreign substance while checking the vaccine before use.
Takeda Pharmaceutical, a Moderna vaccine distributor in Japan, announced on Aug. 26 they were suspending three lots of the vaccine following the reports.
Over 3,000 people had already been vaccinated from that supply, BBC reported.
“We are aware of unofficial reports that have provided initial indication of the type of particle matter in the vials. These reports are inconclusive and it is important to rely on a formal investigation before determining the precise nature of the particle,” Moderna and Takeda said in a joint statement.
-Asha C. Gilbert, USA TODAY
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced $60 million for hospital staffing support to bring 750 additional nurses to the state for eight weeks, but only if they meet conditions including administering monoclonal antibody treatment to eligible patients systemwide and offering COVID-19 vaccinations to patients on discharge.
Hospitals are using monoclonal antibodies as an early intervention with the aim of keeping high-risk patients with COVID-19 out of the hospital.
Monoclonal antibodies have received increased attention recently as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised its emergency use authorization for the REGEN-COV treatment and as studies point to the efficacy of the treatment in some cases. Ducey is one of several Republican governors who has been pushing for antibody treatments.
-Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic
A few days before he died from COVID-19, an unvaccinated University of Louisville Hospital patient made a request.
“Can I please have my vaccine now?” he asked, according to critical care nurse Lindsey Kamerer. “I really want it. I want to protect my family.”
Before he went on the ventilator, Kamerer said, “We had to tell him, you know, ‘we can’t give you the vaccine right now. You’re very sick.'”
He died shortly after that, which was about two weeks ago, Kamerer said.
In the last 11 days, Kentucky has set 10 records for the highest number of people hospitalized with COVID-19. The state has also set regular records for the number of people on ventilators and in ICUs.
-Sarah Ladd, Louisville Courier-Journal
Contributing: The Associated Press
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