Barts-MS rose-tinted-odometer: ★★★ (a blueish-green Thursday; looking forward to being a weekend warrior #0d98ba )
My heart sank when I saw the latest COVID-19 UK case numbers. Here we go again? I don’t think so simply because the vaccines are working as well as the protective immunity induced by wild-type SARS-CoV-2 infection. I just wish the Government would take a pragmatic approach to the science and allow people who have been vaccinated (double-dose) and with confirmed previous SARS-CoV-2 infection to get back to normal.
It is clear from Israel that people who have had COVID-19 are as immune as vaccinated people to (re)infection with the virus. This will almost certainly apply to the circulating variants that as yet are not immune escape variants, i.e. capable of reinfecting large numbers of people who are meant to be immune to SARS-CoV-2.
The biggest concern with the current Indian or Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant is that it is more transmissible and more virulent, which means people who are not vaccinated are taking a big risk. This is very relevant to the East end of London where the vaccination rates in adults are below 50% because of significant vaccine hesitancy in the local population. We are therefore at high risk of a significant fourth wave of infections, which will have implications for our hospital and other services, including the MS service. We really need some respite from fighting and dealing with COVID-19 so that we can get back to normal or at least near normal. So please think carefully about resisting vaccination; you are not only putting yourself at risk but are impacting the health of others.
Please remember that COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 are going nowhere soon and will almost certainly become endemic, i.e. the virus and its variants will remain with us forever. So if you have not been vaccinated you will at some point in time get exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and get COVID-19. The risks of COVID-19 and its consequences, including long-COVID, are orders of magnitude worse than the risks of the vaccine. Therefore please #GetVaccinatedASAP. In my opinion there really are very few reasons to say no! Do you agree?
Goldberg et al. Protection of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection is similar to that of BNT162b2 vaccine protection: A three-month nationwide experience from Israel. medRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.04.20.21255670.
Worldwide shortage of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 infection while the pandemic is still uncontrolled leads many states to the dilemma whether or not to vaccinate previously infected persons. Understanding the level of protection of previous infection compared to that of vaccination is critical for policy making. We analyze an updated individual-level database of the entire population of Israel to assess the protection efficacy of both prior infection and vaccination in preventing subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization with COVID-19, severe disease, and death due to COVID-19. Vaccination was highly effective with overall estimated efficacy for documented infection of 92·8% (CI:[92·6, 93·0]); hospitalization 94·2% (CI:[93·6, 94·7]); severe illness 94·4% (CI:[93·6, 95·0]); and death 93·7% (CI:[92·5, 94·7]). Similarly, the overall estimated level of protection from prior SARS-CoV-2 infection for documented infection is 94·8% (CI:[94·4, 95·1]); hospitalization 94·1% (CI:[91·9, 95·7]); and severe illness 96·4% (CI:[92·5, 98·3]). Our results question the need to vaccinate previously-infected individuals.
General Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions expressed here are those of Professor Giovannoni and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry nor Barts Health NHS Trust and are not meant to be interpreted as personal clinical advice.