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Delta variant weakens protection from Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines: study – Global News

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A British public health study has found that protection from either of the two most commonly used COVID-19 vaccines against the now prevalent Delta variant of the coronavirus weakens within three months.

It also found that those who get infected after receiving two shots of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the AstraZeneca vaccine may be of greater risk to others than under previous variants of the coronavirus.

Read more:
Travellers double up on COVID-19 vaccine as Delta variant spreads through U.S.

Based on more than three million nose and throat swabs taken across Britain, the Oxford University study found that 90 days after a second shot of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, their efficacy in preventing infections had slipped to 75% and 61% respectively.

That was down from 85% and 68%, respectively, seen two weeks after a second dose. The decline in efficacy was more pronounced among those aged 35 years and older than those below that age.

“Both of these vaccines, at two doses, are still doing really well against Delta… When you start very, very high, you got a long way to go,” said Sarah Walker, an Oxford professor of medical statistics and chief investigator for the survey.

Walker was not involved in work on AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which was initially developed by immunology experts at Oxford.

The researchers would not project how much more the protection would drop over time, but suggested that the efficacy of the two vaccines studied would converge within 4-5 months after the second shot.


Click to play video: '4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic underway in Canada: Dr. Tam'



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4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic underway in Canada: Dr. Tam


4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic underway in Canada: Dr. Tam

Viral load

Highlighting the increased risk of contagion from the Delta variant, the study also showed that those who do get infected despite being fully vaccinated tend to have a viral load similar to the unvaccinated with an infection, a clear deterioration from when the Alpha variant was still dominant in Britain.

Read more:
Breakthrough cases: What’s it like catching COVID-19 after vaccination?

The Oxford findings are in line with an analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and come as the U.S. government outlines plans to make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots widely available next month amid a rise in Delta variant infections. It has cited data indicating diminishing protection from the vaccines over time.

Israel began administering third Pfizer doses last month to confront a surge in local infections driven by Delta. Several European countries are also expected to begin offering boosters to the elderly and people with weak immune systems.

Pfizer has said its vaccine’s efficacy drops over time. Last month AstraZeneca said it was still looking into how long its vaccine’s protection lasts and whether a booster dose would be needed to keep up immunity.

“The fact that we do see … more viral load hints (…) that indeed herd immunity might become more challenging,” said co-author Koen Pouwels, also of Oxford University.


Click to play video: 'Will Canada be able to reach herd immunity against COVID-19?'



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Will Canada be able to reach herd immunity against COVID-19?


Will Canada be able to reach herd immunity against COVID-19? – May 3, 2021

Herd immunity is when a large enough portion of the population is immune to a pathogen, either by vaccination or prior infection, stopping infection numbers from growing.

“Vaccines are probably best at preventing severe disease and slightly less at preventing transmission,” said Pouwels.

The authors cautioned that the viral concentration in the throat was only a rough proxy for severity of symptoms and that they had no new data on the duration of infections.

The survey, which has yet to be peer-reviewed before publication in a scientific journal, underscores concerns by scientists that the Delta variant, first identified in India, can infect fully vaccinated people at a greater rate than previous lineages, and that the vaccinated could more easily transmit it.

To contrast periods before and after Delta became prevalent, the Oxford researchers analyzed about 2.58 million swabs taken from 380,000 randomly picked adults between Dec. 1, 2020, and May 16, 2021, and 810,000 test results from 360,000 participants between May 17 and Aug. 1.

The study was conducted in partnership with Britain’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).


Click to play video: 'Impact of the Delta variant'



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Impact of the Delta variant


Impact of the Delta variant – Aug 5, 2021

© 2021 Reuters

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Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids? – Delta-Optimist

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Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids?

Experts say there’s no strong evidence that it makes children and teens sicker than earlier versions of the virus, although delta has led to a surge in infections among kids because it’s more contagious.

Delta’s ability to spread more easily makes it more of a risk to children and underscores the need for masks in schools and vaccinations for those who are old enough, said Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Weekly infection rates among U.S. children earlier this month topped 250,000, surpassing the wintertime peak, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association. Since the pandemic began, more than 5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19.

The delta variant has been identified in at least 180 countries, according to the World Health Organization. In many of them, the spike in infections has also meant an increase in hospitalizations in young children and teens.

In the U.S., the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 was less than 2 per 100,000 children in late August and early September — similar to the peak last winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the portion of kids hospitalized with severe disease hasn’t changed significantly.

The sheer numbers can make it seem like children are getting sicker with the delta variant, but experts say that does not appear to be the case. Most infected kids have mild infections or no symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against delta. Among children 12 and older — who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations — the weekly hospitalization rate in July was 10 times higher for the unvaccinated than those who have had the shots, CDC data show.

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The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:

What can employers do if workers avoid COVID-19 vaccines?

Can I get ‘long COVID’ if I’m infected after vaccination?

Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?

Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press


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Data from 3 major hospital systems reveals how many COVID-19 patients are fully vaccinated – Bring Me The News

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While the COVID vaccines are shown to be effective albeit not bulletproof at preventing infection from the virus, their effectiveness at preventing hospitalization and death is much greater.

Four Minnesota healthcare institutions provided specific data that shows the percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are fully vaccinated, and how many are unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated.

Allina Health, which has 14 hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, reports that almost four out of five COVID-19 patients hospitalized through Sept. 20 were unvaccinated.

Its data show that of 176 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 20, 32 were in the ICU and 21 required a ventilator. Hospitalized patients who were fully vaccinated represented 22.7% of the total, and just 15.6% of the ICU cases and 9.5% of the cases with a ventilator. 

Credit: Allina Health

HealthPartners, which has nine hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, told Bring Me The News that it has cared for 338 COVID-19 patients in the past 30 days and 53 of them (15.7%) were fully vaccinated. 

“Of those 53 patients, only six required intensive care, two needed the support of a ventilator and nobody died. Year-to-date, 6.3% of hospitalized patients have been fully vaccinated,” a spokesperson from HealthPartners said. 

Sanford Health, which operates 22 regional hospitals, is reporting that 10.1% of all COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 21 were fully vaccinated. Only two of 45 in the ICU and one of 34 patients on a ventilator were fully vaxxed,

Hospitalizations (1)

Sanford Health

More of the same from CentraCare, which operates eight hospitals in the region. The latest data provided Thursday (it changes daily and even hourly) had six of 67 COVID-19 inpatients documented as fully vaccinated. 

COVID-19 Hospitalizations_9.23.2021

CentraCare

To recap, that’s four major hospital systems that are reporting between 9% and 22% of all COVID-19 patients being fully vaccinated, with even lower percentages of vaccinated patients in the ICU or on a ventilator. 

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best tool in stopping the spread of infection and preventing serious illness and death,” the HealthPartners spokesperson said.

Bring Me The News has requested vaccinated and unvaccinated ratios from other major providers, including Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Hennepin Healthcare and Essentia Health. 

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330 people are in BC hospitals with COVID-19 – MY PG NOW

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B.C. is reporting 832 new cases of COVID-19, 117 in Northern Health, 153 in Interior Health.

There are 5,697 active cases in the province, of those cases, 330 individuals are in hospital and 148 are in intensive care.

The north has 977 active cases, and the interior has 1,181.

87.3% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a vaccine and 79.9% received their second dose.

The new/active cases include:

* 377 new cases in Fraser Health
* Total active cases: 1,932

* 114 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health
* Total active cases: 909

* 153 new cases in Interior Health
* Total active cases: 1,181

* 117 new cases in Northern Health
* Total active cases: 977

* 71 new cases in Island Health
* Total active cases: 654

* no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada
* Total active cases: 44

There were five new deaths reported, one was in Northern Health.

From Sept. 15-21, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 75.5% of cases and from Sept. 8-21, they accounted for 82.6% of hospitalizations.

Past week cases (Sept. 15-21) – Total 4,417

* Not vaccinated: 2,996 (67.8%)

* Partially vaccinated: 342 (7.7%)

* Fully vaccinated: 1,079 (24.4%)

Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Sept. 8-21) – Total 437

* Not vaccinated: 327 (74.8%)

* Partially vaccinated: 34 (7.8%)

* Fully vaccinated: 76 (17.4%)

Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 15-21)

* Not vaccinated: 289.0

* Partially vaccinated: 87.9

* Fully vaccinated: 27.0

Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 8-21)

* Not vaccinated: 46.5

* Partially vaccinated: 13.3

* Fully vaccinated: 1.8

After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 25.8 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated.

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