‘Fully vaccinated and unvaccinated can both transmit Covid’ was the headline. Public Health England (PHE) had found little difference in the levels of virus in people who’d been jabbed, and those who hadn’t. We’d been told that the vaccinations would prevent transmission – but how is the pandemic going to be stopped if we’re all still spreading the coronavirus? As Private Frazer of Dad’s Army would say, ‘We’re all doomed! Doomed!’
We’re told that the Delta variant causes a higher viral load than the Alpha strain, even after vaccination. “This may mean that there is limited vaccine effect against onward transmission for the Delta variant,” said government scientists in the minutes of a Sage meeting. But read on. It’s not the whole story. ‘Even if viral load may be the same, vaccinated people who become infected are less likely to be infectious than unvaccinated because vaccines reduce virus shedding time, symptomatic infection, and the presence of immune response will suppress the viable virus,’ said Dr Muge Cevik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases and medical virology at St Andrews.
So even if I get Covid, because I’ve been vaccinated, my immune system will stamp on it quickly and I won’t spread it around, but if I do it will only be for a short time.
Public Health England advice
Private Frazer can breathe again: Dr Meagan Kall, an epidemiologist at PHE said that the analysis had only looked at people who had an unusual infection after the jab, and not the general vaccinated population. ‘The vaccines prevent many infections occurring in the first place, so we can only compare vaccine ‘breakthrough infections’ versus unvaccinated infection,’ she said.
I find it very confusing and understand why people are unsure of the facts and are nervous. Do the jabs work or not? Looking at what’s happening on the ground, yes, they do. There are fewer infections reported each week. But good news like this doesn’t sell newspapers, so we get the scary sentences first.
It’s enough to make you give up on the media altogether, which is exactly what many people tell me they are doing. ‘I don’t read newspapers or listen to the news,’ said a neighbour, ‘if it’s something I think I ought to know I’m come around and ask you.’
Explore the evidence
Seriously though, if you’re still not sure about getting jabbed against Covid why not look at the evidence? The majority of people being hospitalised now have not been vaccinated. Most of us would not be here now if diseases like smallpox, polio, tuberculosis, diphtheria and more had not been eradicated by vaccination. In the current pandemic, those of us who have been vaccinated feel safer and better knowing that we’re less likely to affect others.
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