We could have done a much better job at setting realistic expectations for this vaccine. And I think that’s hurt us. Because I think people get disappointed. They think the vaccine isn’t working. — Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
We could have done a much better job at setting realistic expectations for this vaccine. And I think that’s hurt us. Because I think people get disappointed. They think the vaccine isn’t working. — Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Rise of delta variant and waning immunity are fueling breakthrough infections, experts say
A growing number of studies suggest that coronavirus vaccines continue to provide strong protection against severe disease and hospitalization, but their ability to prevent mild illness is less robust today than the original clinical trial studies demonstrated a year ago.

The virus has mutated. The delta variant is rampant. Some elements of immunity may be gradually waning for people who got shots many months ago. New research studies in the United States, Israel, Britain and Qatar have shown a partial erosion in the effectiveness of vaccines against mild to moderate infections. Immunocompromised people are winding up hospitalized despite being vaccinated.

People should expect to roll up their sleeves again. Boosters are coming. The Biden administration is finalizing plans to authorize boosters for people who are eight months past their last shot.

The vaccines remain remarkably effective at the crucial task of keeping vaccinated people with breakthrough infections out of the hospital or the morgue, according to infectious-disease experts. The vaccines are clearly the best weapon against the virus.

But vaccine proponents say the public should be realistic about what vaccines can do. The shots don’t create an impermeable protective sheath. Instead, the vaccines prime multiple elements of the immune system to recognize and respond to coronavirus infections and rapidly clear the virus. Getting a little bit sick post-vaccination doesn’t mean the shots didn’t do their job.

“We could have done a much better job at setting realistic expectations for this vaccine,” said Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “And I think that’s hurt us. Because I think people get disappointed. They think the vaccine isn’t working.”

This reframing of what success looks like is a daunting messaging task for public health officials who have repeatedly described the coronavirus in alarming terms. They are now emphasizing protection against severe disease and death rather than blanket protection against infection.


No one knows how many breakthrough cases there are, nor their degree of severity. While some breakthrough cases will be asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic, others could flatten a person for days with flu-like symptoms but still fall short of requiring advanced medical treatment.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/breakthrough-infections-covid-vaccine/2021/08/17/44ebcaaa-fea0-11eb-85f2-b871803f65e4_story.html