Vaccines Cut “Long-Haul” COVID Risk in Half, While Kids Test Positive in Droves
There’s plenty of COVID-19 news. Here’s a look.
Study in 1.2 Million People Demonstrated Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines
A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases found that the Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccines resulted in a drop in “long-haul” COVID-19 by 50%. The study, which was in more than 1.2 million partially and fully vaccinated adults in the U.K. between December 2020 and July 2021, also found that there was only a 0.5% rate of breakthrough infections—infection after vaccination—14 days after the first dose of the shots and only 0.2% after the second. And in the people who did experience breakthrough infections, the chances of them being asymptomatic increased 63% after the first dose and 94% after the second dose. People over the age of 60 who were healthy had about half the risk of breakthrough infections than frail older adults or older adults with comorbidities.
“We are at a critical point in the pandemic as we see cases rising worldwide due to the Delta variant,” said Claire Steves, Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London, and co-lead author of the study. “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.”
The authors concluded, “The odds of post-vaccination infection following the first dose were increased in frail, older adults and in those living in more deprived areas and were decreased in individuals without obesity. Compared with unvaccinated controls, after their second vaccine dose, individuals were less likely to have prolonged illness (symptoms for ≥28 days), more than five symptoms in the first week of illness, or present to hospital. Most symptoms were less common in vaccinated versus unvaccinated participants. Fully vaccinated individuals with COVID-19, especially if they were 60 years or older, were more likely to be completely asymptomatic than were unvaccinated controls.”
500,000 Children Tested Positive in the U.S. from August 5 to August 26
According to data collected by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than 500,000 children tested positive in the U.S. for COVID-19 from August 5 to August 26. And at least 203,962 of them were in a single week, August 19 to August 26. This is compared to a one-week report in late June of about 8,500. The report notes, “At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children. However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects.”
In states reporting, 0.1% to 1.9% of all child COVID-19 cases ended up in the hospital. Seven states reported no child COVID-19 deaths, and in states reporting, children were 0.00% to 0.24% of all COVID-19 deaths. The definition of children appears to be under the age of 18. In the U.S., vaccines are authorized for children 12 years and older.
“The virus is raging in all these children who are unvaccinated, which is why in schools mask mandates are so important,” CNN medical analyst Jonathan Reiner told Jake Tapper last week. He added that inoculation rates are still low in the 12+ age group that are eligible. “They have no other protection. They’re literally sitting ducks.”
Vaccine Decision for Children Less than 12 Years Expected by the End of Year
Although not expected immediately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon be reviewing data on COVID-19 vaccines for people under the age of 12.
Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said “My understanding of the timeline is pretty consistent with what is being said—the middle of fall is my understanding, early fall is when we will anticipate seeing the data—and then it will lie with the hands of the FDA. And I’m hopeful for the end of the year.” The FDA is expecting the data for children under 12 by the end of September.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been fully approved in the U.S. for people 16 years of age and older. It has been granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for people 12 years and up. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have an EUA for 18 years and older. Moderna has completed submission for full approval for its vaccine and has filed for an EUA for ages 12 and older.